Quick Tip for Practicing Quick Runs

Here’s a tip I just posted on Jason Heath’s Double Bass Blog.

When practicing fast / scalar passages, play them in groups of odd numbers. Although notation generally beams notes in even groups, the actual music is usually in an odd group.

For example, if you have 4 sixteenth notes, practice them with the next note – they lead to that note. There’s a group of 5. To help get the velocity on the sixteenths, practice the first 3. After you repeated that many times, play the last 2 with the destination note – another group of 3.

Another example can be found in the trio from Beethoven’s 5th – third movement. When practicing the measures that are all eighth notes, practice them with the following downbeat – that’s the landing point.

And in any running note passage, isolate groups of odd numbers to practice – even if they cross beams or barlines. This will even out your playing and give your lines direction.

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