Slowing down for just a small section of a piece can be very disruptive. These temporary fluctuations in tempo usually happen when there is a tricky spot, or a place a student hasn’t practiced as much.
Tempo Shivers: Build A Band
Recreating the experience other musicians get from regular bands, orchestras and ensemble playing can be difficult with young pianists. Difficult, but not impossible.
Find a rhythm backing track. You can use an app or using standard rhythm tracks found on YouTube. In the video I’m using Super Metronome Groovebox. Another great app for this is iReal Pro (also available on Android here). And a quick YouTube search found me this great playlist here. There’s no excuse! Whichever option you choose, make sure your student knows how to access it at home so they can Build a Band wherever they go. Tempo Shivers: Hands Off
Is your student shivering and shuddering through a section because she simply doesn’t know it well enough? If so it’s time to take her Hands Off and start asking some questions.
Mark each point where the student is slowing down. Ask her to answer various questions about this section without touching the keys, such as:
What fingering is she using in the right hand? And the left hand? What are the note names? What are the intervals, both melodic and harmonic? Can she sing the melody for you? How about the harmony? Allow her to play the section once. Take away the book and ask her more questions about the section (this time using her memory). If she can answer all your questions easily, Build a Band will be the best cure for her. If she stumbles over certain questions, write them at the top of her music for her to quiz herself at home at the start of her practice each day.
Download a list of sample questions for Hands Off to get your ideas rolling by clicking here.