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A lack of sleep and piano playing.
#2670408 08/25/17 07:10 AM
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As far as we are adults, our jobs and daily activities often leave us not so much time to practice. For those who have no serious goals (like entering music colledge or something) it is not a problem - they just practice as much as their life lets them do and they are happy. But for others it's sometimes necessary to somehow find more time for practice. This can be done, for example, by sacrificing some part of sleep. Of course, this should be done carefully - a lack of sleep can have bad influence on your memory. What do you think of this? Whould you rather sleep 9 hours a day and practice 2 hours or sleep for 7 hours a day and practice for 4 hours, for example?


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670416 08/25/17 07:54 AM
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Practice efficiently.


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670419 08/25/17 08:11 AM
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I am constantly faced with "time management issues". I work on a freelance basis with an unpredictable workload. Requests come at unpredictable times unpredictably - one client is in an area of the world 14 or so hours ahead of me. "Efficiency", as Malkin says, is one crucial part. Whether it's the music material, or the work material, it involves breaking up the task, seeing what needs to be done, and allotting time to it. Because of my own unique situation, I keep tabs on how much sleep I get over 24 hours and make sure it's enough. I have also learned it's useless to try to squeeze more time to a task when you're tired: signs are that you start being inefficient and sluggish, and really, little is being accomplished for the time spent. in that case, stop, rest or sleep, and unwind.

Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670423 08/25/17 08:53 AM
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Wow, 4 hours or 2 hours. Tough choices smile For me it's 30 minutes vs nothing. And yes, when I'm tired, I can tell, and usually just give up on practice. Fingers don't listen, pieces just fall apart.


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670426 08/25/17 09:11 AM
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Wow, how I'd love to sleep 7 hours a day!

Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670428 08/25/17 09:19 AM
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I'm lucky if I can stay asleep for 6 hours.... and 9 hours, well I doubt if I've gotten that much sleep since maybe my 20s frown


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
blackjack1777 #2670429 08/25/17 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Wow, how I'd love to sleep 7 hours a day!

Originally Posted by blackjack1777
I'm lucky if I can stay asleep for 6 hours.... and 9 hours, well I doubt if I've gotten that much sleep since maybe my 20s frown


Hope you are really busy, guys, and this is not just because of wasting time in the internet))


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670432 08/25/17 09:48 AM
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Oh, what a thing to be young!

Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670439 08/25/17 10:11 AM
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Never give up sleep! Sacrifice something else if you need more time to practice. (From somebody who used to sleep 9 hours a night in her twenties and now considers 7 hours a good night :)).

Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670454 08/25/17 11:16 AM
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I don't sleep more than 6 hours a day, but I do sleep soundly cool. I couldn't sleep 9 hours a day even if I wanted to, but I can get by on 3 hours a day (I used to stay awake for 72 hours when I was working over a weekend, a requirement of my job before Health & Safety and EU regulations intervened.....).

Everything has to be time efficient when you get to my age. Including practicing the piano (I never ever practice the easy bits - life is too short).


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670465 08/25/17 11:40 AM
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You want to sleep at least 7 hour a night....As we sleep the brain is processing all the information it was input while you were practicing....transferring short term memory, building new motor pathways which in turn leads to muscle memory
...etc. During sleep is when everything you learned gets hardwired into you brain...This is the reason you will often find that a piece you just could not get right during your practice session seems to suddenly click after a good nights rest.

Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670469 08/25/17 12:05 PM
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Ah, very much my territory. Okay, first: everyone's different, so take averages/targets with a healthy pinch of salt. If whatever you do works for you, that's great. Having said that, some very large scale studies by this point tell us that people who live longest sleep around 7 hours a night, even after taking into account all sorts of other things such as co-morbid illness, employment, relationships etc.. Morbidity increases in both directions, to the extent that 8 hours a night is actually as bad as 5 hours purely in those terms.

The other point, as Swain has observed, is that sleep is essential for memory processing. The details of this are still being worked out, but declarative memory (you might think of that as your conscious musical memory for a piece) is strongly dependent on deep slow-wave sleep, which you get most of in the first half of the night (based on a circadian rhythm, not on the time you went to bed, so if you go to bed late, you'll miss it). Procedural memory for complex tasks, which I guess would include piano muscle memory, appears to benefit more from REM sleep, that you get more of in the second half of the night. I guess what that means is that you a good night's sleep at the right time if you want to benefit the most for learning the piano.

Last thing, it has been shown that if you learn something at night before going to bed, you'll remember it better the following day than if you learn it earlier in the day. So some late-night sessions are a good idea, as long as you're not too tired. Might want a digital piano and headphones for that, though. wink

Last edited by karvala; 08/25/17 12:05 PM.

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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
karvala #2670479 08/25/17 01:25 PM
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Insomniacs of the world unite. . . .my 6 - 7 hours includes a couple o' daytime sessions . . . . I reckon the reason for 24 hours opening (supermarkets, garages, gyms etc was to cater for a growing nocturnal generation. Most of us are retired and it's good!
The easiest way to get tired is to browse the computer, imo. Or eat chocolate . . .

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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
Swain #2670483 08/25/17 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Swain
You want to sleep at least 7 hour a night...
I certainly do - how? I've so far spent 20 years studying the subject so no rash, usual suggestions please. I have all the t-shirts.

Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
karvala #2670494 08/25/17 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by karvala
Last thing, it has been shown that if you learn something at night before going to bed, you'll remember it better the following day than if you learn it earlier in the day.


That makes sense -- it's kinda the top thing in the brain's in-box for that night....


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670498 08/25/17 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
Would you rather sleep 9 hours a day and practice 2 hours or sleep for 7 hours a day and practice for 4 hours, for example?

My experience is that night of good rest or even a nice nap means 10x more efficient practice, learning and retention. I can bulldoze through a session where I'm not firing on all cylinders but it's so disappointing in comparison.

I do subscribe to the saying that '80% of life is just showing up' ... but showing up firing on all cylinders can be the difference between good and great.


N.B. On those occasions where I'm not 100%, a cup of coffee/green tea or a 30 min walk/run/dance can sometimes make up the difference.


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670531 08/25/17 06:17 PM
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Whenever I try to sleep for more than 6 hours, I fall awake again! frown


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670613 08/26/17 05:07 AM
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I recently had a week of jet lag during which I had one of the most catastrophic piano lessons I can recall. This was probably akin to what a period of sacrificing sleep time would be like. I was incapable of getting through any of my ten month old pieces without a total collapse and mind blank somewhere in the piece. Before my trip these pieces were exam ready and secure, I even practiced quite a bit while overseas. Thankfully I am back to normal and my playing has recovered but I don't want to be in that situation again.


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
earlofmar #2670625 08/26/17 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
I recently had a week of jet lag during which I had one of the most catastrophic piano lessons I can recall. This was probably akin to what a period of sacrificing sleep time would be like. I was incapable of getting through any of my ten month old pieces without a total collapse and mind blank somewhere in the piece. Before my trip these pieces were exam ready and secure, I even practiced quite a bit while overseas. Thankfully I am back to normal and my playing has recovered but I don't want to be in that situation again.


Sounds terrible)
How do all this famous pianists flying all over the world keep themselves in shape all the time...?


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Re: A lack of sleep and piano playing.
PianoStartsAt33 #2670646 08/26/17 09:15 AM
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Correction....when I said "You want to sleep at least 7 hour a night", "at least" was an error...what I meant to say was "around 7 hours a night" This is an average.


As far as karava's research quote...Um no..I don't know what research papers this person has read but no, 8 hours for an adult is NOT unhealthy. Current research indicates that for adults aged 26 to 64 the recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours for the average person and 6-10 may be appropriate for some individuals...less than 6 and more than 10 is not recommended.

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