I can play Chopin's fantasie impromptu at low tempo, but I'm having trouble when increasing the tempo. My fingers don't move smoothly over 130 bpm and some notes get skipped automatically and sometimes my fingers "hit" the keys. What can I do to remove this defect? Also, give some tips to play Chopin's etude op 10 no 4.

  • 1
    Practise, practise, practise. – Tetsujin Jun 23 '19 at 16:13
  • 1
    How familiar are you with the instrument? Some of the pieces I play I have been playing for more than 1 year, and I am still not close to reaching the "required" bpm. Generally, if you find yourself making mistakes or skipping notes, you should pause and decrease the tempo. Otherwise you are just going to learn the piece incorrectly. Use a metronome. And what @Tetsujin said. – Pyromonk Jun 23 '19 at 16:40

Contrary to popular advice excessive slow practice can be counter productive and lead to "getting stuck" at a ceiling tempo that is too slow.

Once you have the notes under the fingers try practising hands separately at first very quickly in groups of different numbers I.e. In groups of 3 four 5 and 6 and with different accentuation. In very fleeting pieces make sure wherever possible that you keep your fingers close to, and in constant contact with, the keys; this will guard against striking or hitting the keys. Always be conscious of the escapement level at which the hammer goes into 'free-fall'; this is about three-quarters of a centimetre below the top of the keys. in the case of very quick pieces this is in effect your working area. Guard against driving the keys into the keybed using excessive force

You should note that although you should not lift the fingers unduly, the movement through the escapement level should be in acceleration, definite and secure.

Finally, don't over-practice; work in short periods of five to ten minutes of intense attention and then go do something else; carry on like this throughout the day if you have the time. Enjoy it. You've done the background work don't be afraid of coming at it now from a different angle. Good luck

  • It can. But if you make the same mistake a few times in a row while practising at a higher bpm and do not decrease the tempo to "itemise" a problematic bar/line, there is a chance that you will learn to play the piece with that same mistake and will have to slow down and "unlearn" it to proceed. According to my teacher, the best way to practise is to do 2 25-minute-long sessions per day. Practising for more than an hour per day might necessitate a visit to the chiropractor down the track, and practising for longer than 25 minutes supposedly does nothing for retaining "instrument memory". – Pyromonk Jun 24 '19 at 1:42
  • 1
    Of course accuracy must be preserved and as always a balance between different approaches is the key. But, just to be clear: movements performed quickly are not the same as those performed at a slower speed - different muscular groups are brought into play . So it's a fallacy to suggest that muscular memory learned slowly will be overly helpful when speed is required. My advice would be: aim for the correct speed as soon as security is achieved and play in short bursts. PS: Its worth noting than S. Richter claimed to hardly ever practice slowly - precisely for the reasons outlined above – KammO Jun 24 '19 at 22:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.