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#2119660 - 07/18/13 12:44 PM Issues with practicing daily need help  
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BeccaBb Offline
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Fort Frances, On Canada
I'm having major issues getting into routine practice. I'm starting to get really frustrated with myself and that in turn is making practicing even more of an issue because then I guilt myself.

Part of my issue is constantly changing times that I can practice. During the week (Monday to Friday) I can practice during the day until 6. Saturdays during the day till 4. Sunday's in the evening. (I split my time between home and bf's and try to work around his work schedule.)

I've thought of dragging the dp to his house but it's huge and heavy and a pain in the ass for one day.

If something gets mucked up during the day (appointments or whatever) by the time evening rolls around I'm so exhausted I just fall asleep.

I have no idea of what to do. I'm driving myself nuts. I know if I got more practice in I'd improve more. I want to I just can't seem to get myself there.

Any ideas? I'm going to speak to my teacher tomorrow about it also but hoping you guys might have some ideas for me, as I'm just stuck. I think I can't see the forest due the the trees because I'm just so frustrated with myself.



Becca
Began: 01-12-11
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Roland RD300NX
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#2119670 - 07/18/13 01:15 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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How much time per day do you practice now?


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2119673 - 07/18/13 01:25 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Are you a morning person? If not, can you become one? This works for me - up at 5, practice at 6 for an hour. This is my time, and it has become a habit. When I miss it I become a grumpy old man.

My advice is to stake out an hour during that day that is yours to practice in and guard that hour jealously from anyone who would interfere with it.

Sam

#2119676 - 07/18/13 01:31 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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get another digital piano if you can afford it! Other than that, the way you make it sound, something will have to be sacrificed in order to free up some time at home for the piano. Perhaps you can compromise with your boyfriend to have him come to your place half the time so you don't have to move your piano? Lastly, I don't know how serious you two are but perhaps think about moving in together?

I work ten hours a day and commute an hour and a half on my work days. Personally I sacrifice about a half hour to an hour of sleep to be able to fit my hour of practice in a day. That often goes over as I get involved and forget about time or just want to pretend that clock isn't ticking my little amount of time away :P. My weekdays are incredibly time cramped between playing tennis for 45 mins 10 hour shifts and almost 2 hours of driving on those days. Boy do I regret when I stay up till 10:30 tho when I should be in bed by nine. I can get away with going to bed by 9:30 and even tolerate 10 if i want to but anything after is not worth it... I like getting my 8 hours if at all possible.

That being said, I get three days off and can normally spend most of those days playing and practicing all day, which is nice and very fun.


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
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#2119677 - 07/18/13 01:34 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Fort Frances, On Canada
I'm only getting about an hour three days a week. frown I'd be happy even if I could get 20 minutes every day!

I'm not a morning person. Right now my schedule is so messed up one day I'm up at 8 the next noon.

For some perspective, I'm battling two separate chronic illnesses. Each day is different and I never know when I'm going to be so sick I can't get out of bed.

Hmm Sam, perhaps I should pick middle of the day when I know I'm up no matter what....the wheels are turning now...


Becca
Began: 01-12-11
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Roland RD300NX
1947 Gulbranson spinet piano
#2119680 - 07/18/13 01:38 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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BeccaBb Offline
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Sweet: he just moved out. He's so allergic to my dog it's not funny. Being in my house for five minutes causes him days of agony.

I have thought of getting a cheap digital for his place I just simply can't afford it now. I'm no longer working so money is exceptionally tight.

I should probably talk to my family and see what they come up with. The scheduling nightmare has much to do with them. LOL


Becca
Began: 01-12-11
[Linked Image]
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Roland RD300NX
1947 Gulbranson spinet piano
#2119696 - 07/18/13 02:29 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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The trick is to FIND excuses TO practice, not the other way around. If you really want it, its there for the grabbing, you just have to take it.


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2119707 - 07/18/13 02:55 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Wake up, whether its 6am or noon.

Have a cup of coffee..juice...shower..whatever you do to jumpstart yourself at the begining of the day.

Practice 25 minutes really focused on small tasks.

Stop.

If you get more time later in the day, then you can come back and do more. But just get those 25 minutes of focused practice in at the start of your day and you will make very respectable progress.


How far is it from BF's to your place? If not too far and you are staying at BF's..Wake up..drive to your place, practice 25 min. drive back. Same as going to a college recital hall for a practice piano, right?


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#2119747 - 07/18/13 04:26 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Morning works for me too.


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– Roald Dahl

#2119755 - 07/18/13 04:53 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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If it's important enough you will get it done, and usually before everything else. If you are exhausted at the end of the day, then that's not a good time for save for practicing. That is your down time for things less mentally challenging than piano. Schedule a time, even if it's first thing in the morning. Also, schedule your other things. Put it on your calendar that way when you make appointments for the day you will not use your practice time.


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#2119761 - 07/18/13 05:14 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Sorry for the double-post:

Also remember that two 30-minute sessions in a day count the same as one 60 minute session. You can even break this down into smaller segments. I've been known to practice if a student is 5-10 minutes late. I have already figured out what measure I can work on during that time, and it's very productive. It also teaches you to be efficient with your practice - no time to just run through the song, only enough time to get that one passage figured out, put this measure hands together, work on the fingering in this phrase, etc.

The issue with your boyfriend is probably not one if you change a few things. I'm sure you could find some time before you go over there or after you return, even if it's a short practice session.

Again, you're trying to find a huge chunk of time, and it doesn't seem like your life has that. Instead, stop trying to create a situation for yourself where failure is the only option. I actually enjoy the short practice sessions when I'm busy because I know I'm accomplishing things despite my hectic schedule. I know if you gave it a try you'd enjoy it too and get rid of the guilt stuff!


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#2119808 - 07/18/13 06:46 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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BeccaBb, I have read your post, here:

I'm having major issues getting into routine practice. I'm starting to get really frustrated with myself and that in turn is making practicing even more of an issue because then I guilt myself.

Part of my issue is constantly changing times that I can practice. During the week (Monday to Friday) I can practice during the day until 6. Saturdays during the day till 4. Sunday's in the evening. (I split my time between home and bf's and try to work around his work schedule.)

I've thought of dragging the dp to his house but it's huge and heavy and a pain in the ass for one day.

If something gets mucked up during the day (appointments or whatever) by the time evening rolls around I'm so exhausted I just fall asleep.

I have no idea of what to do. I'm driving myself nuts. I know if I got more practice in I'd improve more. I want to I just can't seem to get myself there.

Any ideas? I'm going to speak to my teacher tomorrow about it also but hoping you guys might have some ideas for me, as I'm just stuck. I think I can't see the forest due the the trees because I'm just so frustrated with myself.

__________________________________________________


As a piano player, you have the option of what you can do. Playing anything new is a huge problem for most people. Playing simple music, is extremely easy.

I have had health issues for many years. I was so weak I played a digital on my back on the floor - just be able to play until I was able to play sitting up.

Here is what I do - because I don't know anything about you. When I was weak, played simple easy music - because I was playing - Sometimes it was only 5 minutes, sometimes it was 5 minutes 7 times a day. If things were good, I did more, but I always played a little something. I can't afford a teacher, but when I had sax teacher for 4 years in my 40s, I was busy at work, like everybody else, but I never, never cancelled a lesson for any reason. If I was ill-prepared, I did the best I could. If my teacher couldn't make it, that was fine, but I always appeared. The point that you can do anyting you want, but you have to make it a priority. When I used to play the sax as a beginner in the bands, I used get up in the middle of the night, sleep at the office in a sleeping bag, and say good morning to people as they arrived for work.

I am not that bright, have learning problems, but I tell people when I am invited to dinner or a party, that only an act of God, would prevent me from attending.

So I guess the message to you is, your whole life has to be focused on the getting to play the piano 1 minute or 2 minutes a day, whatever you can do, and you will enjoy your life, because what you want to happen is happening - and that is reason enough.

It is my focus to play a little longer, than I am playing. That is my total focus, but I am not able to improve my time as I wish, but that is still my focus.

Remember, it is not how rich, how poor, how sick or how well you are, it is how committed you are and how determined you are that you will NEVER quit no matter what happens in your life - that it is with that kind of determination that it does happen.

cheers and good luck

Last edited by Michael_99; 07/18/13 06:50 PM.
#2119839 - 07/18/13 07:40 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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I can't do it unless I break it up into chunks, honestly. I have the same sort of floating schedule that you do since I run my own business, so I fit in chunks whenever I can. 20 minutes to a client call? Work on a Bach invention. Unexpected hour in the evening? Put on some serious work on a recital piece. If you're following a set routine as well it can help. One ten minute chunk of sight reading, one 30 minute chunk of practice later, etc. I get to the point where I crave practicing, so I'll write a bit and go do another small session and then write some more for work.

I'll admit that I have extra luxuries since I work from home, but I'm a mean boss to myself and I'm pretty much "at work" or on call for clients 10 or 11 hours a day with no set schedule for lots of it.


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#2119887 - 07/18/13 09:28 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Fort Frances, On Canada
Thank you all, so much for the suggestions and understanding.

Discussed it with the bf. Came up with this tentative plan: Take my spare x stand and a spare surge protector and leave it at his house so it's less to move about. Going to make sure Roland in case fits in his car (it's little) as it won't go on the motorcycle! LOL.. Gonna take it there for weekends and rare weekday evenings that I stay over. Will carve out an hour (between 8-10 have to see which works best here) each night. That time is more ideal for me, as I go to bed at around 1am normally and during the day is usually when I'm at my sickest. So even a bad day by late evening I'm usually better.

Breaking it up into little chunks would work great during the week and not at all on weekends. Although this might be a great backup plan for the days where I know I have an evening engagement. smile

How long should I try this for before I know it's working or not? I refuse to give up on piano so I will just keep trying until I find what will work.

So it's around 10, tonight is night 1 of new practice time. smile Gotta hit my keys.



Becca
Began: 01-12-11
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Roland RD300NX
1947 Gulbranson spinet piano
#2119952 - 07/18/13 11:40 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Well it didn't go as planned but it went.

Five minutes into play another thunder storm starts. Turned everything off and unplugged it all. Figured well I can work on theory. So I sat on my floor got out some books read a bit, dug out a notebook and started muddling my way through figuring out a F major pentascale, I chord and V7 chord. Realized I really need to see this on keys.... went downstairs and cleaned off Jazzabella who hasn't been touched in um.. almost a year. I just stopped. LOL

I didn't really play as I have neighbors who would not have been impressed but I did manage to clunk quietly on the keys while trying to work out that V7 chord.

That's the most fun I've had in months. LOL I'll try again tomorrow night.


Becca
Began: 01-12-11
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Roland RD300NX
1947 Gulbranson spinet piano
#2119954 - 07/18/13 11:45 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Quote
That's the most fun I've had in months

Hooray!

Here's a toast to more fun to come smile !


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#2119966 - 07/19/13 12:54 AM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Originally Posted by BeccaBb
Well it didn't go as planned but it went.

Five minutes into play another thunder storm starts. Turned everything off and unplugged it all. Figured well I can work on theory. So I sat on my floor got out some books read a bit, dug out a notebook and started muddling my way through figuring out a F major pentascale, I chord and V7 chord. Realized I really need to see this on keys.... went downstairs and cleaned off Jazzabella who hasn't been touched in um.. almost a year. I just stopped. LOL

I didn't really play as I have neighbors who would not have been impressed but I did manage to clunk quietly on the keys while trying to work out that V7 chord.

That's the most fun I've had in months. LOL I'll try again tomorrow night.


A person can practice with the power turned off. Some old timers use dummy keyboards and some still seek them out. Scales are good, but pieces and chords can be practiced as well. I wouldn't do an hour of sound off practice, but 10 minutes of scales (if a person does scales), might be okay.

Aiming for 15 minutes on time stressed days might be another suggestion.

If a person has a tablet or smartphone, there are apps for sight reading, ear training, rhythm training and more. Fifteen minutes working with any of these training apps is a decent slice of time. The tablet screen keyboards are poor for playing, but not so bad for certain exercises such as identifying a note that is sounded.

Good luck.

#2120197 - 07/19/13 01:54 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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First I would say don't be too hard on yourself, you will work it out.
There's a lot you can do away from the piano like get familiar with the music - clap out the rhythm. Things like that. You can even visualize (don't knock it-even Olympic athletes do it). I quiz myself on music theory/reading etc all the time when I am away from the piano. So, those are things you can do when you are at your BFs or even waiting for an appointment etc.

Also, 15-20 minutes of practice a day is better than none at all and I think you will surprised at the accomplishments you can make in a small amount of time. When you have more time you will practice more on those days. be flexible, practice doesn't have to be rigid. But, don't beat yourself up if you get busy and too exhausted once in a while-you're human after all. smile


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And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
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#2120351 - 07/19/13 07:50 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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If you keep at it consistently, you will notice progress in a few days. I would give it a good 2-3 weeks though before deciding if it's working.


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#2121304 - 07/21/13 11:25 PM Re: Issues with practicing daily need help [Re: BeccaBb]  
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Thanks everyone!

I never thought of just using the board shut off, I will have to remember that trick!

So far three nights so good. My honey told me he doesn't mind lugging my piano back and forth if it means I stay the night. Gotta love him. smile

Tonight I was less rigid and only did about 45 minutes. My back is just screaming too much to sit there for any longer. I am noticing some improvement already which really makes me happy. I will keep trying this method for a month though (good suggestion Morodiene) before I decide it's really working. smile


Becca
Began: 01-12-11
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Roland RD300NX
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