4 Recipes for Success in Tempo Work!

Building towards a goal tempo involves the metronome!

It can be intimidating when you are first starting to work on a piece and want to develop consistency in your tempo. These four "recipes for success" allow you to work towards incrementally achieving your goal tempo with a plan in mind! Try these out in your next practice session!

  • The 5+1 Method:
    1. Starting at a slow tempo, play a passage 5 times
    2. Bump the metronome up by 3 clicks and play the passage 1 time
    3. Bring the metronome down by 2 clicks and play the passage 5 times
    4. Up three clicks, play once
    5. Down 1 click, play 5 times
    6. Repeat! 
  • Acceleration
    • This method is really commonly used since it involves methodically increasing the speed of the metronome until you reach your goal speed. Rotate this type of practice with others to reach your goal tempo and so you can test and try your “first try tempo!"
  • Deceleration
    • Slow the passage down incrementally, almost imperceptibly, each time.
    • Feel how your body and mind try to resist the slower tempo and work on feeling comfortable at a slower speed.
    • Master it at a slower tempo, then work your way back up to the performance speed!
  • Overspeed
    1. Play a short passage several times, focusing on evenness of your performance each time.
    2. Then, in two to three phases, speed the passage up until you’re playing it faster than you “think” you can. The magic of this happens when you let go of your preconceived ideas of what you “think” you can do and rely more on what your body can do!

Want more tips on how to work on building your tempo? Check out our FREE Overspeed Training guide here!  And remember- the metronome is your friend!!

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Co-directed by us, professional clarinetists Ixi Chen and Dr. Tiffany Valvo, the Digital Clarinet Academy has become the most trusted place to take your clarinet skills to the next level with world-class digital content and virtual training. Welcome to our virtual home!