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Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1248933
08/14/09 06:21 AM
08/14/09 06:21 AM
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keyboardklutz Offline OP
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*** ignoring the above user and user's post below*** (he just won't go away!)


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

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Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1248935
08/14/09 06:27 AM
08/14/09 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
*** ignoring the above user and user's post below*** (he just won't go away!)


Seeing as he's as blissfully ignorant of my posts as of the various factual errors in his own, would someone like to point out the inherent contradiction in stepping forth to proclaim that you are 'ignoring' someone, every time they make a post (and then updating to ensure that people are aware that you have supposedly 'ignored' another post)? This is as tiresome as it is hypocritical.

Apologies for having to join in such a stupid game of 'tell him that...', but if he's not reading my posts, he won't see this one telling him to stop wasting everybody's time.

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 08/14/09 06:52 AM.
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Nyiregyhazi] #1248973
08/14/09 08:18 AM
08/14/09 08:18 AM
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1249045
08/14/09 10:21 AM
08/14/09 10:21 AM
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A good example is playing the same passage at a different octave. To the conscious mind it looks similar, in fact the keyboard was designed by a conscious brain. To the non-conscious it's a very different coordination needing a very different orientation of muscles and vision. Perspective, in this instance, just gets in the way - if you try to play what consciousness sees you'll be interfering.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1249073
08/14/09 11:05 AM
08/14/09 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
A good example is playing the same passage at a different octave. To the conscious mind it looks similar, in fact the keyboard was designed by a conscious brain. To the non-conscious it's a very different coordination needing a very different orientation of muscles and vision. Perspective, in this instance, just gets in the way - if you try to play what consciousness sees you'll be interfering.


What are you trying to say? First you say how different the coordination is in the "non-conscious". Then you say that using conscious thought would be 'interfering'? So what are you supposed to rely on, if the 'non-conscious' actions would be different, but conscious thought would be interfering? The power of God? Where on earth are you trying to lead with these rambling, contradictory thoughts?

If you initially allow the subconscious to kick in at once, the slightly differing angle of the arm may mess things up at once. If there's no conscious thought, you will not succeed in making the adjustments that are required, from that which has been learned in a different octave. Nothing less than conscious thought about doing the same notes in a different position (with feedback from the nervous system- to tell you what feels the same and what feels different) can ensure that subconscious habits can form strongly enough, so as to permit you to reach a stage where you can play in any octave. Fortunately, the skills are transferable, so experienced pianists are no longer greatly aware of any adjusments, regardless of which octave something needs to be played in.

This is a very interesting area to consider, but I'm really not seeing what these various contradictory thoughts are supposed to suggest to anyone. The implications of the subconscious processes are actually quite simple and very rational- practise slowly, aiming to get thing perfectly accurate from the earliest stage. Fix any wrong notes instantly- by going back a few notes before, to set the flow of movements that will always need to lead into those notes. Once you've done it flawlessly a few times, walk away. These are the single most important things to know about the subconscious learning process. Even among those who do the best slow practise, you rarely encounter anyone with the patience to leave it be (in order to let the benefits set in), rather than spoil the hardwork by going faster right after- hence undoing all the good work and finishing with the internal 'memory' of inaccurate movements. Sadly, most learners don't even have the patience to correct most of the errors (within even slower work) properly in the first place- nevermind to allow slow work to settle in before they test themselves.

EDIT I think I've now realise what you were trying to say, but to say that conscious thought would be interfering is totally missing the point. When trying to analyse such internal processes, it's essential to be very careful with use of terminology. The conscious thought that says 'This must be exactly the same feel because the notes are same' might cause problems. That's because it would be a naive conscious thought. To follow through by saying that 'conscious' thought would be an interference is as logical as suggesting that using a calculator is a poor way to solve a sum- because, if you forget to key in one of the numbers, you do not get a correct answer.

The only process that achieves the adjustment would be a conscious thought that says 'This is basically the same, but let's take it nice and slow (rather than rely solely on a prelearned series of motions) because my arm is going to be in a rather different position'. If you think such a conscious process (coupled with conscious sensory awareness throughout the process) would be classed as 'interfering' then I'm really not sure what you think the alternative might be. Every movement in piano needs to eithe be learned consciously (or at least, by a teacher persistently manipulating your body in such a way as to teach you a physical sensation).

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 08/14/09 11:33 AM.
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1249826
08/15/09 01:07 PM
08/15/09 01:07 PM
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Union County, IA
Farmer Dan Offline
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keyboardklutz first said:
Quote
Originally Posted by Betty Patnude

Don't we have to put something into our consciousness first before it can later become sub-conscious, ie, beneath the consciousness level.

No, most of our learning goes straight into the non-conscious. What I am saying is try and look through the lens of the non-conscious, see how it sees the world, to be better able to present material for learning in an efficacious way. The learning styles idea is an example but it's not just sensual prejudice that effects learning; I think the non-conscious is often more logical, but it's a logic that can be hard to understand or accept.
Then he said:
Quote
A good example is playing the same passage at a different octave. To the conscious mind it looks similar, in fact the keyboard was designed by a conscious brain. To the non-conscious it's a very different coordination needing a very different orientation of muscles and vision. Perspective, in this instance, just gets in the way - if you try to play what consciousness sees you'll be interfering.

I don't remember how or when I discovered this web site, Musical Fossils. There is some great information about what I think this thread is saying and some suggestions on how to turn on, let me call it, the "non-thinking" or "non-analytical" part of our brain. I hesitate to use 'unconscious' or 'pre-conscious' because of the myriad of connotations these terms have. My teacher has said, "Don't try to play it perfectly. Just play it! Speak the language of music."

Yes, there must be, as Betty said, an introduction. I'm not minimizing the role of repetition, hands separately, playing pendantically slow. When I'm "in the zone" I can internalize the notes (memorize?) and when that happens, I really love my music. The introduction can be shear drudgery, but I think that's the discipline.

We westerners with our finely honed sense of cause and effect can, I think, get lost in the analysis and pre-judge what sounds good and bad. Then we try to perform to that standard. It's almost "brute force." But the "letting go," however that works in our brain to fingers to keys endeavors, is what IMO makes the music.

A data point for me on the viability of this concept comes in an experience I had last spring. There's a young clerk at the store where I have my lessons. We struck up an acquaintance and talked about our music. She sings--BEAUTIFUL voice--but doesn't like to sing alone for people. I, at the time, was hesitant to play for people--it wasn't perfect. One day she asked me to play for her. We went into the "grand" sales floor and I played the first movement of Mozart's sonata in A minor (K310). I just played it and, when I finished, she was just staring at me and said, "Dan, I didn't know until just now that Mozart could reach out and grab your heart so tightly." Wow! What a compliment! Now she sings for me. And all I did was just speak the language of music.


...I have slipped the surly bonds of earth...
Estonias choose their owners (L190-6822)
Dan
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Farmer Dan] #1250177
08/16/09 04:53 AM
08/16/09 04:53 AM
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As we get to know a passage, as it moves from conscious to non-conscious, do we resist the change in how we perceive it? Is the conscious reluctant to give up its false view? Stubborn? Now you can see the wood are you still hankering for the trees?

These see Thee, and revere
In sudden-stricken fear;
Yea! the Worlds,- seeing Thee with form stupendous,
With faces manifold,
With eyes which all behold,
Unnumbered eyes, vast arms, members tremendous,


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1250188
08/16/09 06:33 AM
08/16/09 06:33 AM
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Union County, IA
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My sense tells me there is no resistance, merely a transformation. Maybe to the conscious music is merely black markings on paper that when associated with finger movement produce tones of a certain frequency and a certain rhythm. Maybe to the unconscious music is a language that does not speak to the ears, but to the heart. To continue your analogy, you forget the trees knowing that the grain is beautiful.


...I have slipped the surly bonds of earth...
Estonias choose their owners (L190-6822)
Dan
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Farmer Dan] #1250205
08/16/09 07:35 AM
08/16/09 07:35 AM
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The grain's at its most beautiful as a piece of furniture.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1250207
08/16/09 07:44 AM
08/16/09 07:44 AM
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Union County, IA
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And the more you nurture that furniture, the more beautiful the grain and its patina.


...I have slipped the surly bonds of earth...
Estonias choose their owners (L190-6822)
Dan
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Farmer Dan] #1250209
08/16/09 07:49 AM
08/16/09 07:49 AM
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...of course, you can't always get the wood these days.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Farmer Dan] #1250215
08/16/09 08:02 AM
08/16/09 08:02 AM
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Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted by Farmer Dan
My sense tells me there is no resistance, merely a transformation. Maybe to the conscious music is merely black markings on paper that when associated with finger movement produce tones of a certain frequency and a certain rhythm. Maybe to the unconscious music is a language that does not speak to the ears, but to the heart. To continue your analogy, you forget the trees knowing that the grain is beautiful.


I think it's important to distinguish between the subconscious that puts emotion into music and the subconscious learning process, though. A problem with either is of paramount importance. Having said that I don't think these are entirely separate though. For example, one teacher always made me analyse intervals in chords. Now it's simply second nature that if I see something so chromatic as a minor ninth within a harmony, I do something to illustrate that without having to first stop and analyse the chord consciously (at least, most of the time- although I do still spend some time thinking consciously about points of interest along these lines, to check I'm not missing stuff). I do not see 'feeling' as being a purely subconscious thing that cannot stem from the conscious. How do you practise a lyrical piece? Simply learn the notes? Or think consciously about what you need to make it work expressively? Expressive renditions are often integrally linked to those notes that are most chromatic and players tend to take more time over wide intervals etc. When you've learned how to unlock these points of interest and make the most of them, they can integrate into the subconscious. I'm no Horowitz or Cortot, but having thought this way now permits me to display certain aspects of expression without necessarily thinking much during the process. Had I never thought consciously in the first place, my subconscious would likely be missing out on plenty of opportunities. How can you reflect a searingly tragic suspension in a melody, if you have not predetermined that to be a vital point of interest?

You have to acquire a certain number of building blocks in the first place, before you can simply turn off and let music flow. Until certain things have been acquired, you cannot turn to the subconscious for something profound- unless you are a genius who has been lucky enough to simply absorb things, both musical and technical. I always find it ironic when people like Volodos say that technique is easy and that the sound is the hard part. If whatever sounds he thinks of simply come out at the drop of a hat, it goes to show that he has a near flawless technique- and was lucky enough to aquire it without great effort. If you don't start out with those foundations (whether they come through talent or learning) simply turning off the active parts of your mind is unlikely to produce anything greatly profound. A lot of people end up doing formulaic, repetitive 'rubato' that evokes little emotion but can cause great annoyance.

For example, although this pianist does many things very well the way he 'feels' the semiquavers in a virtually identical rushed way really spoils the performance. In order to avoid monotonous things like that (when striving for freedom), you need to think about how to avoid falling into formulaic repetition during the conscious processes, before you move onto simply playing from your heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoFYyfngQOo

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 08/16/09 12:30 PM.
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1250216
08/16/09 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
...of course, you can't always get the wood these days.


I believe that various medications can help with that.

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Nyiregyhazi] #1250439
08/16/09 06:49 PM
08/16/09 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
...of course, you can't always get the wood these days.

I believe that various medications can help with that.

Or better still, a healthy dose of The Goon Show smile


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: currawong] #1250615
08/17/09 05:00 AM
08/17/09 05:00 AM
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Another example is scales. As you move up your thumb is gradually moving under your palm ready to play after finger 3 or 4. This isn't learned (or therefore teachable ) behaviour as such, it's more the non-conscious acting under present contingencies knowing where the thumb will need to be, and getting prepared. We all spend time explaining and showing this to students but the conscious mind hasn't the capacity to carry it out, along with the myriad of contiguous tasks. Besides, the conscious mind doesn't really understand the task as it hasn't the capacity to perform it. I think the point here is to know this fact, allow it to influence your expectations/evaluations - scales cannot be consciously performed smooth. Usually we place the foreknowledge (of where the thumb will be) in the wrong place (consciousness) where it's of no use; we need strategies to place it in the correct place (non-conscious).


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1250621
08/17/09 05:45 AM
08/17/09 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Another example is scales. As you move up your thumb is gradually moving under your palm ready to play after finger 3 or 4. This isn't learned (or therefore teachable ) behaviour as such, it's more the non-conscious acting under present contingencies knowing where the thumb will need to be, and getting prepared. We all spend time explaining and showing this to students but the conscious mind hasn't the capacity to carry it out, along with the myriad of contiguous tasks. Besides the conscious mind doesn't really understand the task as it's never had to perform it. I think the point here is to know this fact, allow it to influence your expectations/evaluations - scales cannot be consciously performed smooth.


What an absolute load of hogwash! The motion of the thumb is both 'learned' and 'teachable' in absolutely every respect conceivable. If the only thing a teacher does is tell a student what note the thumb belongs on (supposedly leaving the student to figure out the 'non-conscious' process- or rather 'conscious' process, by which he can execute this for the first time), he isn't doing his job in any respect whatsoever. Do you sincerely think that the conscious, thinking mind has no capacity to think it's way through a process that it has 'never had to perform'? How about the subconscious instigating something that it's never had to perform? Presumably by purely random guess-work, seeing as the conscious mind is supposedly incapable of getting involved. Which sounds more feasible?

I think you might want to try putting a little more 'conscious thought' into your posts, before typing such a complete load of illogical drivel...

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 08/17/09 05:47 AM.
Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Nyiregyhazi] #1250625
08/17/09 05:56 AM
08/17/09 05:56 AM
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Look mate, I haven't read a single one of your posts nor do I ever intend to. You're full of crap that you make up in your head; there's no point attempting a discussion. Go away and study piano pedagogy for 10 years, then come back - I may give you another hearing.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: keyboardklutz] #1250628
08/17/09 06:15 AM
08/17/09 06:15 AM
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Fulham, London, UK
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This is all getting a little contentious which is a pity as it is such a great discussion and these posts are really thought-provoking and I think important. I'd like to pour a little oil on troubled waters... I find it helps my students' and my own practice to perceive conscious thought and the "unconscious" (or more deeply conscious) as one whole thing. Problems start when the critical mind tries to control all the functions of playing. A bird or flying insect can execute the complex and often rapid movements and adjustments involved in flying without much recourse to thinking. However, the human mind cannot be switched off and it needs to be involved. So it is a question of focus. I like to place the greatest part of my conscious focus on rhythmic structure. A deep awareness of the sense of unfolding that rhythm creates is what the NLP people call a state of flow. This rhythmic sense is essentially unconscious as it is a deep function of the body but it can be brought into consciousness. If every movement is executed within the body's natural rhythmic state, learning is effective and sometimes rapid. A shift in conscious focus can "unlock" the inner musician in an instant. I call this tuning into the matrix of pulse. It is quite magical yet also common sense!

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Phil Best] #1250635
08/17/09 06:26 AM
08/17/09 06:26 AM
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keyboardklutz Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Phil Best
A bird or flying insect can execute the complex and often rapid movements and adjustments involved in flying without much recourse to thinking.
I have to disagree there. The 'often rapid movements and adjustments' are thinking, but of the non-conscious variety. We have to realize that thinking, strategy building, deliberation, etc. is going on well beneath any conscious radar - it's not just a muscle memory or a 'pulse', it's dynamic.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Teach your non-conscious [Re: Farmer Dan] #1250640
08/17/09 06:40 AM
08/17/09 06:40 AM
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keyboardklutz Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Farmer Dan
Maybe to the unconscious music is a language that does not speak to the ears, but to the heart.
I think that's a good point. Music attracts the non-conscious, in fact the non-conscious thrives on it. Is that why so many fail to reach their potential? Because they're locked into a conscious mode exclusively? Or more likely, have separated the two?


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

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