Practice Speed

I’m trying to learn a song that is a bit of a stretch for me. I can play any of the individual parts at a good speed, but there are a number of transitions (whether it’s a pattern change, measure or page break, jump in string) that I miss. It’s practice so I run over those 2 measures till I get it and move on. The song is supposed to play at 118 bpm, I’m practicing at 80. The question is, if you are hitting all the parts in time at the speed you’re playing, do you move up, or do you wait until you hit all the misses first. My thinking is those misses will be fixed by repetition and I should try to keep going toward actual speed and those things that give me difficulty now will be fixed in their own time regardless. Curious how you progress.

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I typically don’t speed up tempo until I have mastered the notes and timing of what I’m trying to learn at the slower tempos. I too break down songs into sections and learn each section individually starting out slow (sometimes at 50% speed) and work up gradually until I can master the section at about 80% speed before moving to the next section and doing the same thing. Once all sections are learned accurately at 80%, I start putting it all together and lower the speed to about 70-75% to get use to playing the entire song and then raise speed in 5% increments from there. I typically always play up to 110% speed and once I hit that speed accurately, playing the song at 100% tempo is a piece of cake…

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Interesting idea on going up to 110%.

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The key for me is using drum machines for the time keeping. Metronomes don’t do it for me. I need real drums at the BPMs I am working up.

Practicing overspeed once you have worked up to it is a good idea.

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If I’m hitting the odd bum note then I’d still move up. I wouldn’t wait until 100% perfection three times in a row or anything like that. However, if the same note or same section is tripping me up then I’d work on that first.

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Interesting Howard, I don’t have a very good set up at the moment. I have an old metronome that I can play with, the problem is it is very loud and disturbs others. So I got one on my phone that I put through the earphones but I don’t work as well with that one. Drum machine is a good idea, when I update my setup.

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Drum app on the phone works great too :slight_smile:

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Guess we all practice and learn a little differently, but this does work well for me. Even when I go back to re-practice a song that I haven’t played in awhile, I seem to have to always turn back the speed a bit until I re-familiarize myself with the riffs, notes, and rhythm style. Comes back fairly quick though.

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+1 on what @howard mentions… I use an Alesis SR18 that I’ve had for several years now and it works great for keeping time and also laying down drum tracks for recording.

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Classic. I can’t believe how long they have been making those. I wanted an SR-16 in 1991, and the 18 came out right around then too IIRC.

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Take it slow slow slow until you nail the notes. Then gradually speed up until you screw up. Then stick with that tempo until you nail it. Then speed it up again… etc, etc, etc.

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