Ricardo -> RE: New to forum- 18 years old (Picado Questions) (Jun. 12 2017 23:34:35)
I've been a viewer of these forums for quite a while now, and I finally decided to make an account so I can communicate with you all about your perspectives towards Flamenco Guitar.
As an American 18 year old, I have only been playing 1.5 years give or take. However, I have progressed quite quickly. But I am the typical kid who is concerned if he started too late to be a "monster" someday. My whole life is consumed by Flamenco. Everyday it is Paco, Sabicas, and Gerardo for hours- absorbing the rhythms through my ears first. Then I practice other pieces I am working on throughout the day for a total of 6 - 10 hours.
Essentially my life would be empty without this art- not to sound corny. I'll learn the style of this forum soon enough.
I didn't always practice like this- I used to always practice about 30 minutes a day- just fiddling around with scales and making cheap melodies that meant nothing. It's only recent that I have become serious.
I want to become fast like most of you so desire. I want a picado as close to Paco's as possible, but I have some concerns.
Currently my scale runs, such as an E minor scale, are around 145 bpm, 16th notes. They sound clean and sharp, but not monstrous.
I have been told to be patient since my form and tone are good. However I have read some contradicting information-
Many say we are the fastest when we are around 20 years old since our bodies have not degraded yet- does that apply to a kid who started at 16? Or perhaps a kid that started at 6? Would I be faster at 25 or would that be when I slow down?
I guess the real question I have is this- how long in general does it take to reach the MAXIMUM speed you will ever reach?
I started at 16- will I be the fastest I've ever been at 20, 25, or 40?
Using your own personal experience, tell me, from what I have told you- what is the maximum BPM I can ever hope to achieve?
Sorry for overloading my first message, but I am anxious and excited to learn haha
I saw some experts talking brain development on world science festival. A new discovery was regarding the glial cell material of the brain is a very fast independent network that communicates fast as or faster than the neural network. They used to think it was just soft protective padding. The interesting thing is this material grows slowly through childhood from back to front and finalizes in your early adulthood, 20's or so. This explains the reason child prodigies develop certain speed and other strange skills early on that are very difficult for adults to develop, or impossible in some cases. All these kids today wasting their glial development on video game play is a shame IMO.
Anyway, good news is at 19 you still have the chance to develop a natural ability for these things if you work at it now. You will probably bottom out speed wise in your mid 20's, but can still improve other aspects of artistic development as you mature. Most of the great flamencos finally peak artistically (not speed wise) in their 40's or 50's.
So now the physical limit stuff is out of the way, how to develop and what does it matter? I noticed that as far as dance accomp goes, you eventually do need to be able to execute picado and other tech at high speeds, it is simply necessary. A skilled artist can circumvent their tech limitations within reason, but still no excuse to not work. Along with speed meaning FAST, there is the equally diffcult or even harder challenge of playing things slow, or outside of normal comfort tempos. A picado you do at 145 might be tough at 160 in a dance context, but even harder at 120 as the energy level is hard to maintain outside of what one is used to practicing.
So metronome practice is essential so you are totally aware of what your personal limitations are. About increasing speed, staccato practice is essential and ties in to rhythmic control. Speed is not about 16th notes at Xbpm, it is more about the specific phrases. Some phrases are easy to do at tempo X but that doesn't mean ALL 16th note phrase will feel the same way. It's a lot of work and I personally use the Rumba improvisation format to work on things, because i am sort of practicing on the job what I should be doing at home. It is amusing that I find some phrases of say 24th notes I can manage at 125 bpm, and the same speed of notes but a different pattern is a challenge at 105bpm. So whatever you do to practice, be sure to maintain control over tempos. A secret of the pros is that you should arrange program to start with slower warm up material and build up to the songs that require serious speed. Short speed bursts are a good warm up. That is why PDL would play first buleria, and last Alegria in his guitar solo set for example. It's good to work with progress in mind at home, but perform well within your comfort zone if possible.