“Fast and loud” = lack of confidence

I remember a Simpsons episode where the town was due to be flattened by a comet, leading many people to attempt to abandon it. Problem was, the bridge was out.

This didn’t stop people from trying to leave via the bridge. They just gunned the engine and tried to “jump” the gap, falling to their deaths in a display of what the newscaster character Kent Brockman called “the never-give-up never-think-things-through spirit that made this country great.”

Gravity won’t let you jump a horizontal gap. Gunning it won’t change that.

And that’s sort of what you’re doing when you hit the accelerator and try to power your way through a tricky part of the music, just hoping that your forward momentum will carry you over the potholes with as small a bump as possible. And just as with real potholes, it never works. In fact, the faster you try to go, the more of a spine-compressing jolt will be delivered and the more impressive the resulting crack-up will be.

You cannot paper over your problems with speed and volume. This is a symptom of lack of confidence (and in my case, desperation through not knowing what the hell one should do to deal with these problems).

I’ve just been thinking more and more of how instinctive it was as a kid to just go fast and loud in order to camouflage errors, how my own dynamic range tends to run from mf to fff, and how much better I’ve gotten on certain problem spots in the Etude version of “Mormorio” since practicing slowly and as quietly as possible.

  1. Slow.
  2. Quiet.
  3. Flexible rhythms.
  4. Stress the off-beats.