When I first started snowboarding 20+ years ago, the guy I was dating at the time was trying to teach me how to become a great snowboarder. He told me all I needed to do was to get some speed. He then took me to the top of the mountain, told me to strap into my board and “just point it down hill and go.” And off he went.
Although you should never have your significant other teach you how to snowboard, I do have to admit, he was not wrong. It is actually easier to snowboard when you’re moving at a decent pace than when you’re on a flat surface and going slow. Going slow is definitely harder.
I think tunes are the same way. Playing a tune slow can often prove to be harder than playing it fast. When playing a fast tune, intonation sometimes takes a back seat. Usually your fingers move so fast they don’t spend a lot of time on one note so if it is slightly out of tune, it might go unnoticed.
It’s the slow tunes like airs and waltzes that really force you to pay attention to your intonation, the melody, rhythm and timing of the tune. You can hear every note. You can hear how much pressure is on the bow, how much time you spend on one note and whether or not you’re keeping a steady rhythm. And those long slow notes can be a bear when it comes to making it sound pretty. All of it takes time, practice, and patience. And it’s well worth the effort because if you can play the tune slow, you can surely play the tune fast.
So, in honor of slowing things down, this week I learned a beautiful waltz called Elsey’s Waltz. I hope you enjoy and remember to slow things down.
Elsey’s Waltz: Tune 44 of 52
Join me next week for tune #45 from A Tune A Week. What tune should I learn next?
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