It is disheartening to read student comments on different forums about getting stuck at a speed, their frustration at their inability to move forward, but it is wonderful that we live in an age where students can reach out to a wide supportive audience of mentors who have gone through the same struggles and can offer advice and encouragement through the internet. If you are a student who checks these various sites for information of this type, you have probably noticed that not all the advice given will resonate with you. I suggest that you weed through the comments and see if a suggestion hits home with you, something that will spur you on and inspire you to move ahead. It may be a technique you have overlooked, not tried, been unaware of. It may be something as simple as practicing in a different location to try to break out of a mental rut (worked for me). Try to wade through the noise and glean a helpful, concrete nugget or two rather than the simple “press on,” “keep trying,” “don’t give up” advice.
Maybe my tips below will resonate with you:
If you are a beginner, my advice has been and will always be to OWN your theory. When you go through your daily lessons, write your new words over and over again until you become comfortable with the fingering. Try writing as cleanly as you can. Write the words a little faster each time without hesitation. Memorize your briefs. Most importantly, make it a habit to REVIEW the material you have already learned. Your brain and fingers need the constant reinforcement. Lastly, always read your notes and analyze your errors. Are you dragging a certain finger? Are there always shadows in a certain fingering combination? Are you constantly writing the same word incorrectly? Failure to analyze your errors is a missed opportunity to improve; and when you can identify and correct your errors on the spot, that is when your practice is most effective. I recommend at least two solid hours of QUALITY practice a day, more if possible. Your efforts in the early stages will pay great dividends when you push for speed later on. You may not realize it, but the way you are practicing now will determine your success, or lack thereof, in the months ahead.
If you are already in speed classes and are not moving ahead, I would recommend dropping your practice speed to where you can write cleanly and build from there. It will not help you to write messily, with a high untranslate rate, at speeds above your ability day after day. You are doing more harm than good because your fingers and brain are not making any meaningful writing connections. It will be time well spent to slow down and regroup. What I found helpful when I found my fingers thrashing about the keyboard was to write text from a newspaper or magazine. Just concentrate on writing cleanly what appears on the page before you, punctuation included. This exercise allows you to concentrate on correct writing form at your own pace in relative quiet. Aim for perfection. Write the chosen text as many times as it takes until it is error free. This is also a great opportunity to add words to your dictionary. In the end, if you make a commitment to review your past lessons, push yourself to write clean takes, read back everything, and make adjustments where needed, you will eventually see improvement.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Good luck!