January 4, 2018 ~ 2 min read

Slowing Down To Speed Up

Recently I've been getting back into the piano. I'm trying to learn Photograph by Ed Sheeran. It's been so nice to slow down and make the time to practice regularly.

When practicing, however, I've noticed something curious. Practicing a song at half the speed you are trying to achieve is often more effective than practicing at 80% of the speed. If you can't play it perfectly at a slow tempo, you can't play it. Practicing songs extremely slowly is a common technique, but is extremely powerful.

It's counter-intuitive. If you are capable of playing something at 80%, common sense would tell you that you should just keep pushing the tempo and you will eventually reach your desired speed. In reality, I have found it much more effective to play well below your top speed, gain confidence, and then transition straight to your desired tempo.

In my own life, I'm testing out a similar strategy. Slowing down over break has allowed me to make time for relationships, creativity, and fun. It's given me time to create good habits and make things that I am proud of.

I'm a firm believer in hard work, but sometimes pushing yourself to max speed it can be counterproductive. So if you're feeling stuck, take a day, or a few minutes to slow down. Put down your phone. Read a great book. Go skiing. It might be just what you needed.

Maxi Ferreira

Hi, I'm Taylor . I'm a software engineer/maker/amateur chef currently living in San Francisco. You can follow me on Twitter , see some of my work on GitHub , or read about my life on Substack .