Tempo at the Very Beginning

I never played piano before and purchased a level 1 book recently from amazon to start learning. Is it right to assume I am doing the right thing by making sure I get to a good tempo on the easy songs before moving on? If so, what speed do you suggest to go to on the metronome before progressing to something slightly harder?

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Tempo for Beginners
by: Maria

Hi there,

The best tempo for any level of playing, beginner to advanced, is a tempo where you can express the music, even exercises, beautifully and comfortably. Because, the most important is that we make music, not stick to a specific tempo!

The tempo of a piece can be seen as a general guideline as to how the piece should sound like the composer would like. But, if this means sacrificing expression and musical meaning it's better to play at a slower tempo.

For any level of playing, it's extremely important to first play very slow, and then gradually build up speed. This might mean that we have to work with a piece for a long time before we are ready to play at full tempo.

However, for a beginner, playing the perfect tempo might sometimes not be the biggest priority, since there are a lot of things to learn when you start playing the piano!

So, I believe it's better to ask yourself the question if the piece sounds pleasing, and that you feel comfortable playing it, than if it's in the "right" tempo. Little by little, as you learn more and more pieces, you'll get more comfortable to play faster.

There might be pieces that you really want to be able to play fast, but just can't- yet. A good idea is then, after thoroughly learning the piece slowly but well, let it rest for a week or so. Then try it again, a tiny bit faster.

Get yourself a metronome, and learn to use it, it's a very helpful tool to gradually challenge yourself to build up speed. Here is a tutorial about how to use a metronome.

I hope this helped!

Happy practicing,

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