As one of the key training aspects for the banjo is to play faster, I was wondering how you practice to build up your speed.
Reason is, that I used to do it by increasing the metronome by 20 or 10 beats, depending on what’s doable, which works quite well and has helped me to increase speed over time, and I believe this to be a very common method.
However, a few weeks ago I got the tip about a discussion on Djangobooks forum where someone told that there has been done research on this topic (did not say it was scientific ) and apparently the best method seems to alternate between half speed and full speed. So if you want to play a tune at 240bpm you should practice at 120 and if that goes well go up immediately to 240, meaning that in the beginning you will play mostly at 120 and try 240 every so many times making loads of mistakes, but in the end you should be able to play at 240 sooner than if you would do by building up for example 120-140-155-170-180-etc.
If that is true, I will use my time wisely, so I immediately changed to the ‘alternating’ method. First impression is good, with this strategy I practice more often at a slower pace than I did when building up speed stepwise, because it then felt like saving time to start at the highest tempo possible. Moreover I also practice a lot at high tempo, but when I go back to half speed, I can really focus better on technique, arm hand and finger movement, more than when I only went back 20 beats ore so. I think I will feel more secure at the higher tempo sooner because of that.
But the best part is obviously that I don’t need to stop playing to reset the metronome constantly !!
Any ideas on this, or other approaches you use?
O, and if you know this research, I’m interested in the details! All I found was a forum post with as much as the info I gave here.