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#1038892 - 12/12/08 12:17 AM The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,228
musdan Offline
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musdan  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,228
I'm about to go bonkers - some kind of music gremlin messes up Gliere's Romance when my teacher opens "Classics to Moderns" and it's time to play with pedal.

Now - I've been working on this piece for it seems forever (only about month) and that old I play it better at home happens and it really makes me upset which of course makes matters worse. My teacher always says keep going.

I have parts of it memorized and parts that I need to look at the music - I shouldn't be having this kind of trouble but this is something I think most us seem to have to deal with. Thanks for reading this post - this Tuesday will be the last time and than we will go on to a new piece when she comes back after Christmas break. I'd really like to ace it. confused

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#1038893 - 12/12/08 12:22 AM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
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Horowitzian  Offline
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I'd memorize the whole thing. 'Course that's easy for me to say since I memorize quickly. laugh

You either need to play the whole thing with the score in front of you or play it entirely from memory. Trying to do both will cause problems.

Maintain a positive attitude as well. Don't get upset.

And most importantly, zero in on trouble spots. Play each about 5 times in a row, paying attention to getting it right. smile


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1038894 - 12/12/08 10:11 AM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 210
Ivory Dreams Offline
Full Member
Ivory Dreams  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 210
Central NC
Those Darn Gremlins.

They live at my house too. They almost never show themselves when I am alone and playing for my own enjoyment.

They are so cunning, always waiting, they choose their own sweet time....cowering in the darkness, waiting patiently for someone else to hear.

mad COWARDS!


[Linked Image]

You can own a Chickering, Christifori, or Steinway, but if you can't play it.... It is just a piece of eye candy.
#1038895 - 12/12/08 11:36 AM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,674
gmm1 Offline
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gmm1  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,674
Spokane WA
Quote
Originally posted by Ivory Dreams:
Those Darn Gremlins.

They live at my house too. They almost never show themselves when I am alone and playing for my own enjoyment.

They are so cunning, always waiting, they choose their own sweet time....cowering in the darkness, waiting patiently for someone else to hear.

mad COWARDS!
Too funny... I had exactly the same thought.

Although, thinking about it, errors when we are practicing alone tend to "roll off" and we seem to expect them when practicing, so no big deal. We keep going, or practice the rough spot, and move on. But, when actually trying to play perfect (whatever that is) we get so upset with any error that we panic, freeze, stop, cry, yell, scream, bang, hit, push, throw, etc. Everything except relax and continue on with the work at hand.

Musdan, I suggest you take a deep breath and slow down, and just play it from your soul. I know I panic a little when a part is coming up that I need to see the music, so I tense up as it comes up, start thinking about it, find my spot, etc, and blow the part I know by heart.

Oh, yea, laugh at yourself when it happens. Tell your subconscious it's no big deal, and it won't be.

All this advice from someone who crashes if anyone walks by the house.....


"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro
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#1038896 - 12/12/08 11:50 AM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 23
natedaddy Offline
Full Member
natedaddy  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 23
Austin, TX
I had an idea yesterday when I was listening to sports commentators talk about basketball free-throws: Try getting your adrenaline up before you practice. Run around and do some jumping jacks. Watch a LiveLeak video of a crash. Or a battle scene from a movie, or something explosive or sexy or otherwise prone to pumping your body full of adrenaline. (Maybe even watch it while you practice?) This will simulate the biological effects your body has when you perform, and help you acclimate to those chemicals when you're practicing, so you are accustomed to keeping your focus, and it's no big deal when it's time to perform.

Note: This is probably bad advice -- it's pretty much the opposite of the generally accepted practice: a cleansing, zenlike routine that allows you to find focus in any situation. Maybe I've been watching too many James Bond movies. ;-)

#1038897 - 12/15/08 12:30 PM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 12
JoseHeno Offline
Junior Member
JoseHeno  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 12
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The general idea of the past few replies fits in with some stuff I've been noticing about my own playing: contrary to popular belief, getting the notes right is *not* an intellectual skill. Of course you need to know the music to play but it, the way to make your playing more flawless is not necessarily to focus more intensely.

I've been noticing lately that the more I get into the musicality of it all, paying attention to the sensuousness of the piece, even kind of dancing along with it (bobbing my head, moving at the hips), the better I do. Putting the brain in the passenger seat and giving your emotions room to come out and take over always moves your playing in the direction of perfection. You need the brain to learn the music, but it does not have the final word.

This applies to etudes, scales, everything. Not just larger pieces.

A way to visualize it would be: the gremlins are your own little hesitations, frustrations and doubts about your own playing. If you let yourself be filled with the music, there's no room for them to hang around anymore.

#1038898 - 12/15/08 12:41 PM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,018
Schubertian Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Schubertian  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,018
Dallas, TX, US
Hey that's a new one I'll have to try on my teacher - I am POSSESSED BY DEMONS

So far I've tried: "you piano is so out of tune it throws me off"; "these keys are so slippery no wonder I'm making mistakes"; "the acoustics in this room are terrible" - he never falls for any of them


"There is nothing more terrifying than ignorance in action." -- Goethe
#1038899 - 12/15/08 04:12 PM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 210
Ivory Dreams Offline
Full Member
Ivory Dreams  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 210
Central NC
You, missed this one.... My ring is turning on my finger.

(Stop playing and remove it.)


[Linked Image]

You can own a Chickering, Christifori, or Steinway, but if you can't play it.... It is just a piece of eye candy.
#1038900 - 12/15/08 04:57 PM Re: The music gremlins make me play the wrong notes  
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 107
carolyn227 Offline
Full Member
carolyn227  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 107
Quote
Originally posted by Horowitzian:
I'd memorize the whole thing. 'Course that's easy for me to say since I memorize quickly. laugh

You either need to play the whole thing with the score in front of you or play it entirely from memory. Trying to do both will cause problems.

Maintain a positive attitude as well. Don't get upset.

And most importantly, zero in on trouble spots. Play each about 5 times in a row, paying attention to getting it right. smile
I keep a little saucer of beans on my piano to work on trouble spots. I have ten "counting beans" as Twinkletoes likes to call them, and I shift them from the middle of the saucer to the outside edge every time I play it perfectly. Helps me keep track of how many times I've played it (I've also used a two bowl system, but the saucer seems to be quicker for me). When I really get serious about a piece, I usually make myself start over from zero when I make a mistake smile It seems to work really well for me, and it helps me memorize it.

Good luck!


Pianist and mom to three awesome kids (and budding musicians).

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