Practice Club Wrap-Up, January 7th 2021 - STFU Method

Andrew was back leading after several weeks off in order to rest & recover from feeling ill. This week he introduced us to a practice technique called the STFU Method :laughing:, which helps a pianist to maintain their repertoire pieces after learning them.

Lesson Summary:

Over time even if you continue to play a piece, if you only do so at its “normal” tempo, your ability to play it properly will degrade over time. I missed/forgot why he said this happens, but it does. In order to maintain your ability to properly play a piece, you should practice it at a variety of tempos. He lovingly refers to this as the STFU Method (Slow, Target, Fast, Ultra)

Slow - 20% (or 4 metronome notches) lower than Target speed
Target - The speed at which you will perform the piece
Fast - 20% (or 4 metronome notches) higher than Target speed
Ultra - 30% (or 6 notches) higher

To use this method, alternate between a set of 4x Slow, 1x Target, 4x Fast, 1x Ultra.

(Andrew also posted “S S F F T S S F F U” so I’ll need to confirm with him which one is correct/optimal, but I’m sure either would work fine, heh)

Playing at a slower tempo will help make your playing of it more stable. Playing faster will improve your technique. You always want to be able to play a piece faster than it should be performed; this will dramatically decrease the number of mistakes you’re likely to make while performing.

Homework:

Pick one of the pieces you know and do a full set of STFU on 2 different days this week.

5 Likes

Thanks Ren!