Prominent Critic wrote:For example, I constantly see tremolo advice given to practice all kinds of different finger orders, even though the order to be learned is PAMI. So you are told to practice PMIA â€“ PMAI â€“ PIMA â€“ PIAM â€“ PAIM, as well as PAMI. This is utterly pointless, and wastes a vast amount of your practice time. Every repetition you do that is not PAMI is one more repetition that could have been PAMI, which is what you're trying to learn. A technique like tremolo includes muscle memory, and PMIA imparts no muscle memory for PAMI.
If by chance you have been doing these exercises, far from advancing your technique, they would be retarding it.
That assertion is contradictory to just about every published advice on tremolo I have read. Eg;
"In conclusion, I would like to stress the importance of playing different forms of arpeggios, as a preparation for playing the tremolo proper." (The complete Study of Tremolo, Vladimir Bobri.) The book advocates practicing all the patterns mentioned above, and several more. Bobri states that this advice was given to him by Segovia.
Scott Tennant, (Pumping Nylon) also recommends practicing multiple patterns, and usually everything he says about technique can be traced to the Romero family, though i do not have Pepe's method to hand at the moment to check what Pepe has to say on the matter.
However, you do have a point, its just you are not presenting the full picture and thus giving misleading advice.
If someone has hit a brick wall tempo wise practicing solely PAMI , lets say they have been daily practice for a year or two and cannot get beyond 110 for the quarter note, what can you offer them, just keep going?
Tremolo is basically very fine control of free stroke, demanding good control and independence for example between AM, IM, PA. If someone has reached a high standard of technique and never worked on tremolo, your approach would probably work. Simply a matter of getting that
pattern up to speed.
The vast majority of players, however, are still developing their technique when they begin working on tremolo and so the advice to play different patterns is sound. Working the whole hand, working on variety of patterns (as well as different tempi, dynamics etc) is what is required to build overall control. It is often the case that working on one right hand configuration helps develop something else eg practicing MA scales benefits our IM scales.
As Doug Niedt says, in his exhaustive study of tremolo, :
"I also have to say that whether an ancillary exercise
aids your tremolo will be dependent upon your current overall right-hand technical
development. In other words, if your right-hand technique is below average overall, almost any
exercise that improves your right-hand finger independence and facility will improve your
tremolo. On the other hand, if your right-hand technique is already above average, the
benefits of practicing ancillary exercises will be minimal."
However, I disagree with his notion of 'average' (whats 'average' ?) and see the relationship is simpy linear - the more developed one's RH technique is in general, the less one would have to work on other RH patterns to improve their tremolo.