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Hi, I've got a question about technique. I've looked up the question in the forums and while some of the suggestions were helpful I thought I'd look for a fresh take on it if that's allowed...

I've been finding throughout the last year or so that my technique is really well... bad! Whenever I play my scales I can never get them past a certain tempo and it's been going for awhile now. At the start of the summer I even took all my scales back down to 60 bpm and started fresh again, and I'm at a point where I'm even less than I was before! My major scales can't cleanly get past 108 bpm 16ths, Harmonic Minors are stuck at 105 ish, and as an extra when I do scales with jazz articulation it tends to be pretty rough as well but that's for another time perhaps. I find my hands are simply uneven and they tend to be very stiff. I've tried slowing them down and then working them back up but I find that I might be able to get the scales on one day and not on another and sometimes I can do 104 BPM cleanly but 105 is terrible. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should change in order to progress with my scales and such? Sorry if this not enough information please do let me know if you need anything else.

Thanks

P.S. My palm keys and front F fingers are especially bad with rushing and such...
 

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This may be dumb questions, but are your fingers slightly arched with the finger tips on the pearls? Are you relaxed? Are you thinking too much when playing?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This may be dumb questions, but are your fingers slightly arched with the finger tips on the pearls? Are you relaxed? Are you thinking too much when playing?
My fingers do tend to be to arched it seems. My right hand is slightly more flattened then my left unless I tell myself not to do that... And yes they are on the pearls. As for relaxed that's a good question. I feel like I am but my hands still tense up. When playing my scales I'm basically focusing on the metronome and my fingers so perhaps I am thinking too much.
 

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My fingers do tend to be to arched it seems. My right hand is slightly more flattened then my left unless I tell myself not to do that... And yes they are on the pearls. As for relaxed that's a good question. I feel like I am but my hands still tense up. When playing my scales I'm basically focusing on the metronome and my fingers so perhaps I am thinking too much.
Focus on the flow, and make it musical instead of fast. What does speed matter?

Put the metronome away for this kind of practice. Seriously. You can hear if the notes are smooth and connected, and whether the tempo is constant.

Now find something more interesting to challenge yourself - play your scales in intervals, for instance. Once you get the intervals working in eighth note pairs, play them in triplet figures, etc. Change up the articulation. Develop your flexibility to make new “rules” and apply them. Check out “The Serious Jazz Practice Book” if you need ideas.

After a while, you’ll find so many things to add to your practice, that speed for its own sake won’t matter anymore - but it will come with repetition. Keep it musical.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Focus on the flow, and make it musical instead of fast. What does speed matter?

Put the metronome away for this kind of practice. Seriously. You can hear if the notes are smooth and connected, and whether the tempo is constant.

Now find something more interesting to challenge yourself - play your scales in intervals, for instance. Once you get the intervals working in eighth note pairs, play them in triplet figures, etc. Change up the articulation. Develop your flexibility to make new “rules” and apply them. Check out “The Serious Jazz Practice Book” if you need ideas.

After a while, you’ll find so many things to add to your practice, that speed for its own sake won’t matter anymore - but it will come with repetition. Keep it musical.
That's an interesting approach. I have worked intervals but I'll certainly do more of them, but I'll for sure try this out! Thanks for the advice!
 

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Just fingering the notes without blowing can often reveal just how rhythmically accurate the fingers are moving. In slurred passages it is the fingers that are providing the rhythm in the music, not the tongue. In articulated passages the fingers must be as rhythmically accurate as the tongue or else they will not be together which is a different "can of worms".
 

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'Are you thinking too much when playing?'

Nobody ever accused me of that! :)
 
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