Make A Tempo Sandwich 🥪

A good rule of thumb is to play everything at a medium speed, then a slow speed, then your fastest speed and then ending on a medium speed.

  • An easy way to remember this is that you make a Tempo Sandwich.
  • We begin and end with easier medium speeds and then the meat of our practice is the more challenging slow and fast speeds.
  • Playing at different speeds helps you to figure things out.
  • Playing at different speeds helps you recall and remember melodies

Let’s practice 🎻

Starting with a Medium tempo

Set your metronome to 60-80 bpm, or just play at a comfortable tempo. This warms you up to more challenging slow and fast tempos.

Playing slow

Set your metronome to 40bpm or less

This helps you work out technical problems. You also give your hands a chance to relax into the the piece. This improves your tone.

Your timing will improve when you use a metronome set to slow tempos.

Playing super-slow is mentally challenging because the tune starts to sound and feel different. Slow-playing tends to be less technically challenging than fast playing.

Playing fast

Set your metronome to 100 bpm or higher

Fast tempos help you see the big picture and remember tunes. Think of this as a way to summarize the tune.

Playing fast is physically challenging but more intuitive than super-slow tempos. The music sounds more like what you’ve heard on recordings.

End on a medium tempo

After playing more challenging slow and fast tempos, relax with a comfortable medium tempo. You’ll end this section of your practice feeling more confident.

This helps you with Overcoming The Emotional Challenge instead of ending feeling frustrated, you End on a High Note.

Simply enjoy the sound.

To sum up

  • Medium tempos are good for warming up and winding down
  • Slow tempos help you work out technical problems and develop your tone
  • Fast Tempos help you see the big picture and remember tunes

Enjoy every sandwich

When the great songwriter Warren Zevon had just a few months to live, he went on the David Letterman show. When David asked him how he’s dealing with his mortality he said, “Enjoy every sandwich.”



So I hope that you’ll use the Tempo Sandwich strategy and enjoy every bite. And enjoy every moment of your life…

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