Remember the lyrics to that Pointer Sisters song?
“When it comes to love I want a slow hand…. I want a lover with and easy touch.
I want somebody who will spend some time. Not come and go in a heated rush.”
Slow tastes and smells good. Think of pouring molasses or honey. When my daughter makes short ribs, she cooks them all day, and they are amazing. There is a whole “slow food movement” urging us to cook and eat well, consciously chewing every bite so that we actually taste, smell and savor our food.
“I’m tired of fast moves, I’ve got a slow groove, On my mind”
Slow sounds good. Some of the most powerful music is slow – think Satie’s Gymnopedies and Robert Johnson’s Cross Road Blues – and sexy – think Jobim’s Girl From Ipanema or Debussy’s Reverie.
Slow looks good. Don’t you love watching the artistry of a brilliant basketball dunk in a slo-mo replay, or a documentary of a tiger grooming her young? Don’t you love when you’re at the beginning of a good long novel? Remember the pleasures of slow-dancing?
I got to experience the exquisite pleasure of seeing our beautiful country slowly on a train to Oregon this year, delighting in the changing terrain, and waking up to the resplendent beauty of snow covered pines in Northern California. Sitting and chatting with family while watching the world go by was heavenly, and so much better than bustling through an airport.
Slow feels good. Think of leisurely walks on a breezy beach, a restorative massage, relaxing in front of a fireplace with friends, or a candlelit bath.
This is not to say that there is not a wonderful time and place for music that is fast and furious such as Chopin’s Fantasy-Impromptu, Rimsky- Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee or Charlie Parker’s Anthropology. Ironically:
THE KEY TO EVENTUALLY PLAYING FAST, IS PRACTICING SLOW.
Think of the golfer or batter who takes his time setting up his swing, or the tennis player practicing her serve with intense concentration.
MUSICIANS PRACTICE TECHNIQUE IN SLOW, EVEN REPETITIONS WITH TOTAL FOCUS
“It’s not a fast move, But a slow groove, On my mind”
Remember the tortoise and the hare story? Slow and steady won the race. But we humble students of music are not in a race, we are on a steady ascent to excellence. We want to produce beautiful, stirring sounds of music that we can fall in love with. To get there, we use a slow hand.
With love and music, Gaili