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Practice disasters #2750694
07/10/18 11:24 PM
07/10/18 11:24 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 716
Union SC
monkeeys Offline OP
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monkeeys  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 716
Union SC
After having 2 smooth hour long practices last night where I made good progress and came away feeling good about it. I started session 1 tonight and went completely off the rails. I slogged away for 45 minutes and just scrapped it. I went back for rd 2 with some better results but nothing to get happy about. I’m just planning to regroup my thoughts and go back at it tomorrow. I’m sure I’m not alone so any stories or tips? 🎹


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Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750697
07/10/18 11:43 PM
07/10/18 11:43 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 635
Manila
marimorimo Offline
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Manila
Just came from my lesson 30 minutes ago where it seemed my hands and brain totally forgot everything I've practiced over the past month eek. Worse, I was actually doing much better last week.

I think part of it has to do with familiarity making me rely too much on muscle memory without realizing it. I believe what I need is to be mindful at all times, but it's more of a struggle than I realized. When I'm even the teeniest bit stressed or panicked, my brain instantly shuts down frown


Working on: Schumann Album for the Young, Clementi Op 36 No. 1 (all movements), Various Bach, Czerny 599
+ CASIO PX-720 and PX-730 +
Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750710
07/11/18 02:07 AM
07/11/18 02:07 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,219
UK
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spanishbuddha Offline
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Posts: 3,219
UK
When that happens to me, I change the intended role of the practice session, for example switching to slow practice, using the metronome, concentrate on one or few specific area, or just leave it!

Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750717
07/11/18 03:54 AM
07/11/18 03:54 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 114
Liverpool, NY
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pathguy Offline
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Liverpool, NY
You're not alone, monkeeys! Sometimes you need to just get up and do something else. Playing should relieve stress smile

Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750722
07/11/18 04:27 AM
07/11/18 04:27 AM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 60
Portugal
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MarioPf Offline
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Portugal
I think that the practice of any art is like that and that one of the best reasons to practice is to know how to handle these setbacks.

In other hand, sometimes our attention is sharp and our physical abilities are at their best, and when that happens it seems that we are much better than what we are. The next day we are tired and full of stress and nothing works out. If we play the piano not only for musical reasons but in order to perceive these things in us, after a few years we will be able to take advantage of the moments when our capabilities are at their best to pick up some more challenging piece, for example. We can also use art for "healing purposes", when we realize that we are far from our best. In this case, we may play something simple but that we love. After that we can feel totally different.

Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750728
07/11/18 05:19 AM
07/11/18 05:19 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,733
Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted Offline
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Ted  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,733
Auckland, New Zealand
Yes, I concur that how I feel while playing and how I sound in recordings are badly correlated. As a general rule, I mistakenly think my playing is much worse than it actually is, and I suppose this is the better way around. Many times I have been on the point of deleting an improvisation only to think it particularly good on listening later on. Of course, this state of affairs might not apply to those who play only set pieces, but over many years it is possible to ensure that a certain minimum standard is always obtained. The trouble is, safe is often musically boring, and I do not hesitate to take every risk on the spur of the moment for a special musical effect. I used to crash frequently but since the age of about fifty-five it never seems to happen. I do not fully understand why, but I think it has something to do with getting rid of any compulsion to impress either myself or listeners while playing, and choosing to immerse myself in the music. Perhaps it is because, as older players, we have nothing to lose, nothing to prove, and nobody expects anything of us any more. I find this very liberating.

Last edited by Ted; 07/11/18 05:21 AM.

"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750781
07/11/18 12:10 PM
07/11/18 12:10 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,914
Midwest USA
Stubbie Offline
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Midwest USA
I think we've all had them. 'Stuff' happens, as they say.
Is bad practice worse than no practice at all?


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Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750838
07/11/18 04:50 PM
07/11/18 04:50 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 79
Southeast USA
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Progman Offline
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Southeast USA
I had my first bad practice day this Monday (only been at it less than 2 months) - same day as my lesson. Not sure what the deal was but it was disturbing - I mean, it's challenging enough to 'bring it' with teacher sitting next to you. So i did a couple of additional 15 minute run-throughs prior to the lesson. I might have slowed down a bit, but i wasn't really going fast I don't think. I managed to pull off a pretty good review and only have to repeat a couple of them next week. It does beg the question - am I really practicing effectively? I can tell ya, I am trying out some practice modifications to make sure I'm doing the best I can.


Progman
1997 Baldwin 'Classic' Console
Kawai ES100
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Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750852
07/11/18 05:41 PM
07/11/18 05:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 716
Union SC
monkeeys Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
monkeeys  Offline OP
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 716
Union SC
I had one of those “ah, that kind of sounds right” moments with a tune this morning. That’s the other side of the coin so to speak, to come away happy with how the session went.


Alesis Coda Pro
PianoVideoLessons.com Currently Unit 4
Alfred Adult Piano 1-ebook version
Grateful Dead fan since 1987
Re: Practice disasters [Re: monkeeys] #2750865
07/11/18 07:44 PM
07/11/18 07:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,281
Groove On Offline
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Groove On  Offline
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Posts: 1,281
Originally Posted by monkeeys
After having 2 smooth hour long practices last night where I made good progress and came away feeling good about it. I started session 1 tonight and went completely off the rails. I slogged away for 45 minutes and just scrapped it. I went back for rd 2 with some better results but nothing to get happy about. I’m just planning to regroup my thoughts and go back at it tomorrow. I’m sure I’m not alone so any stories or tips? 🎹

This is the reason I use a system to cycle through practice items. It’s a way to put some “spaced repetition” in-between sessions. Smaller items get cycled within an hour or a day, while larger items might get cycled over days.

As a general rule, the better the practice session, the more space I give that item, so if I made good progress on a piece Fri, I’ll practice completely different things Sat/Sun and return to the piece Mon.

It does take a leap of faith to practice this way. I always want to return to something I’ve practiced well, even if I know that giving it a good rest might be a more effective strategy. It’s easy to emotionally give the credit to mindless repetitions, when in reality, it was short mindful practice and then a good rest that did the trick.

Another thing about cycling through practice items - the cycle/list decides what I do each day. So I don’t have a set daily practice schedule, this can be disconcerting at first, especially if you like having a routine. On the other hand, it creates a sense of looking forward to the “next thing to work on”, so I end up doing a lot of extra impromptu practice sessions because I’m thinking about the next thing on the list.

(it also helps to strategically place your pianos right next to any place in the house where you naturally tend to sit/relax, it makes extra practice more tempting - for example, my FP-30 is next to my bed, my console is in the hallway on the way to the bathroom, and my upright is in the family room next to the couch and TV - overlooking the pool)


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And we are the dreamers of dreams.

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