The Secret of Extreme Slow Practice: Bach French Suite V in G Major: Courante

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Welcome to, I’m Robert Estrin. Today I’m going to tell you the secret of extreme slow practice. This is an incredibly valuable technique. I’m going to demonstrate how this works and how it can be unbelievably valuable for your practice. I’m going to play part of the Bach French Suite in G major. The second movement, the Courante, goes really fast. I’m going to play it, and then I’m going to solidify it using extreme slow practice right in front of you. I’ll explain how valuable this is for you for a number of reasons. But first, let’s have some music!

Watch the video to see the demonstration.

Let’s say you have a piece you can play O.K, but maybe it’s getting rusty. What can you do to re-solidify it? Or you have a piece that you’ve gotten to a certain level and you just can’t quite get it really secure. Take a piece like this that’s fast, and you find an extremely slow tempo. You play looking at the score, using the metronome, and using no pedal. Exaggerate all the markings in the score including phrasing and dynamics so they become ingrained in your playing.

What’s so interesting about this technique is that when you play fast, some things may be a little blurry, and you may barely notice it. But at this extremely slow speed, any little imperfections are blown up.

It’s like putting your playing under a microscope!

And as a result, you can really solidify your playing. Now, here’s the amazing thing about this technique. Obviously, if you get it solid, and work with the metronome speeding up a notch at a time, that would be ideal. But if all you do is play it slowly like this, you will gain so much just from that! Not that progressively faster metronome speeds aren’t of value. Obviously that’s a great technique. But just going through things slowly and deliberately, even a piece you can play reasonably well, you will always learn new things about your score.

When you play things that slowly, you’re going to see things, hear things, and you’re going to feel things and understand things in a new way. Have you ever taken a word and say it over, over, over, over, and the word doesn’t even sound like a word anymore? And then eventually you really understand that word on a new level. Well, that’s what happens when you play very slowly like this, a piece that your fingers can play on auto-pilot.

You must be deliberate at these slow speeds, and you end up learning your music so much more securely. So try this with pieces that you want to get on a higher level, or pieces you’ve had on a high level, and you want to reinforce them. There’s no better way, by the way, before a performance, when you already have a piece in shape and you’re playing it over and over again, and then some days it’s better than others, and you wonder, what can you do.

Extreme slow practice to the rescue!

It will solidify your playing like you can’t believe. Try it for yourself. Let us know how it works here on Your Online Piano Store! Thanks for joining me, Robert Estrin

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4 thoughts on “The Secret of Extreme Slow Practice: Bach French Suite V in G Major: Courante”


  1. Ruth once indicated that one had to play a piece slowly, correctly, and with good fingering 10 times with 0 mistakes before you learned something new about the piece.
    I find this to be true for me. But, one has to have the time and patience for it to succeed.

  2. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been disciplining myself to do more of this, as I try to rebuild my technique after years of neglect. Not only does extremely slow practice help solidify the music, but it also helps discover the *technical* reason why a certain passage may be problematic when the rest of the piece is coming along well.

    Thanks, Robert, for these helpful videos.

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