Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let's talk about time. As a child I hated the metronome because it represented the impossible. It never agreed with me and it was entirely inflexible, so why bother? Then I heard Myra Hess play three Mozart concertos one afternoon with the Chicago Symphony. She certainly did not play in agreement with any metronome I knew about. So that was that.

But over, yes, time I figured out that it was actually a very useful toy. You could set it to beat every other beat while playing in 3/4 time, for example, or every three beats while playing in 4/4. This was actually fun.

Or you could play some very difficult passage at whatever tempo was comfortable for you (without the metronome, of course, since the metronome would not help in the comfort department). Then locate that comfort speed on the "ticker" and make a note of it in the margin of the page: July 22, 48 to the quarter note. Reset the metronome to the ultimately desired speed, say 96 to the quarter. Tick it a few times without playing.

Repeat this technique, playing and ticking but never both at the same time. Play; find your speed on the ticker; record it; tick your goal speed; walk away. You will probably find your daily speed edging faster.

The same technique works for slowing down--much harder for most people.