Monday, May 9, 2011

Stop and Go Technique

Stop and Go Technique
[Originally Posted on November 27, 2010 by Richard Matteson]


Today we’re going to look at an important performance tool: the Stop and Go Technique (I also call this the Stop and Start Technique).

When a mistake or different fingering happens during a performance causing you to stumble, you need to be able to jump back and begin playing the music as soon as possible. One way to practice starting at any point is the Stop and Go Technique.

To optimize this technique you need to use visualization or ADM to know exactly where you are in the music and where you’re going.

There are different methods of applying the Stop and Go Technique and I’ll show you several. When the student is performing a piece the instructor snaps his or her fingers and the student immediately stops playing- focusing on the music by using ADM and silent solfege.

The student keeps playing the music only in their mind until the instructor snaps his or her fingers again and the student immediately begins playing.

By learning this skill you can stop and then start back at any point in the music.

Another way is to do this with a recording of the piece. Start the recording and play along. Stop playing for a few seconds and then start playing again. Or you can also start the recording and jump in at any point.

When you make a mistake or a wrong fingering or momentarily become confused during a performance you need to be able to immediately jump back in the music.

If you do not practice the “Stop and Go” Technique the odds that you will be able to immediately start playing again (in time with the music) after a major mistake are slim.

This technique also helps your visualization and ADM skills- you have to know the music and where you’re going at all times.

Aaron Shearer used a version of it on me when I was studying privately with him. In a lesson he asked me to play the first measure (four beats) then silently visualize for the next measure- then I would play the third measure and skip the fourth. This continued through the whole piece.

To my surprise I had no trouble doing this but when I had to play every other measure from the last measure to the first, I stumbled, because the order of the music wasn’t the same.

The Stop and Go Technique is an tool that every performer needs to master because sometimes things don’t go as planned. If you’re playing with an ensemble or group this is critical skill to master- the other musicians are playing on and you have to be able to jump back in quickly.

More to come,


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