Most people try to make too big of a leap from their current metronome speed to their desired speed. The problem with this is our brains see it as a big challenge, so we get all psyched up, tense up our hands, and work as hard as we can to make our hands do something we think we can’t. We’re essentially getting in our own way.
Here’s how most people work on speed:
Let’s change that.
What we want is to play the song faster than we can right now. Don’t try to play everything at top speed today. Just try to be faster than yesterday. Here’s how we do it.
Here’s a better way:
What is one “click”? It could be 1 bpm, it could be 3 bpm, it's just whatever one “click” is on your metronome.
Just one click each time, then play it again.
This works like magic! Before you know it you’ll be playing this song faster than you than you ever though you could.
The reason this works so well is because it bypasses the brain’s “freak out” mode that thinks this will be super hard.
-Can you play it at 104 bpm?
-Can you play it at 105?
-“I don’t see why not.”
-Ok, now what about 106?
-How about 107?
It’s easier because you’re increasing speed in such gradual amounts that you don’t even really notice that it’s getting faster. Your hands don’t tense up, you don’t work extra hard, you’re basically just playing the same thing again. It doesn’t seem difficult because it’s such a small difference. However, if you do this enough times, you’ll eventually get to your desired speed. (And it really won’t take as long as you think, I promise.)
You will eventually hit a ceiling or limit.
You’ll reach a point where it falls apart and it’s too fast for you to play. That’s ok. Here’s what to do.
Eventually you’ll get to the point to where you can move in slightly bigger units or “clicks,” but don’t make them too big. Again the trick here that makes this work is the gradual change.
Here’s the real sneaky trick behind it all:
If you can do this with one song, you can do it with another one.
If you can do this with 2 songs, you can do it with a third.
After a while of doing this, you’ll be able to play everything faster, even stuff you haven’t worked on! Part of the reason you can’t currently play as fast as you’d like is because your hands don’t know how to move that fast (or at least they don’t know how to move very efficiently at that speed.)
Once your hands get better at moving fast, they’ll be able to move fast on everything!