Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about how to establish a slower tempo in your piano practice and performance. This is vital in order to cement a solid performance. You might think that there is nothing to it. But I can tell you from teaching for many years that when students encounter a problem and they are instructed to play slower, most of the time they play at exactly the same tempo! So how do you actually establish a slower tempo?
Slow down your counting!
First, find what tempo you’re actually playing. Count along as you play. Once you can play at that tempo, continue counting without playing. Then you can go slower by saying, “one” then wait for just a moment, then say, “two” and continue at that new rate. By taking a moment after you say the first number, then continuing at that rate, that is the simplest way to establish a slower tempo. (You can also utilize a metronome to accomplish the same thing.) Then, play at that new tempo. For practicing, it’s an essential technique. Because being able to slow down to a workable tempo to think through sections that you’re working on is important for solidifying your music.
Solidifying tempo in a performance is vital for having a successful performance.
This technique is equally important in performance. When you play a performance, you’re naturally going to get excited. The adrenaline flows and if you’re not careful, you might take too fast a tempo. So, always lock in your tempo by thinking of the music and counting at that tempo. Then go back and slow it down by delaying after the first count and continuing at that new rate. Then imagine the music at that rate to make sure that it’s the right tempo. I hope this is helpful for your practice and your performance!