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Anyone else struggling?
#3002580 07/14/20 05:41 PM
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My discipline is really taking a hit and I find myself struggling lately. I just feel like there's so much going on in the world, it's sometimes difficult to concentrate. I also really miss my teacher, and I have no idea when I'll be back at in-person lessons. I'm actually fine with the repertoire I'm working on, and I've just ordered some RCM technical requirements books so I can catch myself up to where I want to be.

I had a very bad experience with RCM's Elementary Piano Pedagogy course. I'm not the only one, pretty much the whole class has major issues with the way the course is being run, and other students have either withdrawn or just stopped working on it. I ended up withdrawing and getting a refund, it was that bad. I had been SO looking forward to this course and I was really excited to be taking it, and when the bottom fell out I was terribly disappointed. Just thought my summer would be a lot better than what it is.

I'm not floundering with playing at all, I'm actually feeling very confident and I'm happy with my playing. It's discipline and getting to the piano that's the struggle for me. I think I'm a little depressed. Just kind of tired of this whole pandemic thing, and wishing I was back with my teacher.

How are you guys doing?


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002590 07/14/20 06:05 PM
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I feel pretty much the same. When the pandemic first hit, it was like having a high fever. No attention span at all. Now it's like having a low grade fever where it feels like something's just not right but I carry on regardless.

Part of the discipline thing for me is that summer is a busy time for me between maintaining a large vegetable garden and doing a lot of hiking. I'm still practicing every day for at least an hour, but some days I'm just phoning it in with certain pieces.

I don't see in-person lessons with my teacher starting up anytime soon. Sadly.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002631 07/14/20 07:36 PM
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At the start of the pandemic in the UK, all my learning plans for the piano went out of the window, because I was working on the front line, returning home late & totally exhausted (mentally as well as physically). So all I did for some two months were just reading through some easy fun stuff (some of which I'd played before, others I was sight-reading). If it weren't for the fact that my piano is literally just two feet (less than the recommended social distancing distance whistle) away from the sofa, on which I sit to listen to the radio or CD or to watch TV, I might not even have bothered to touch it at all. But because it's there, I continued to play it every day when I'm at home, though without caring about the quality or quantity. (Which is as good a reason as any to have a stash of undemanding sheet music to hand, which one can play for fun at any time.) Making music soothes the savage breast - or beast - in me wink .

Since C-19 has come under control here, my work is no longer so unrelentingly intense, and accordingly, I have started learning the pieces that I'd originally intended three months ago, even though I don't know when - or if - I'll get the chance to perform them. Anything resembling a large gathering of adults remain banned for the foreseeable future......


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002639 07/14/20 07:55 PM
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I agree that the last weeks have been more difficult for me to be focused.
We are all at various degree affected by the lockdown.

To help you go through this, I would recommend this:
- write down your weekly goals
- break them down in small actionable steps
- schedule each step or mini-goal for each day of practice.
- track each day what you have actually done.

If you have a clear vision of what to do, in a given time, it will help a lot.

I use personally a simple version of a bullet journal. Every single day (at least I try!), I review my daily task and schedule the tasks for the next day before going to sleep.

I wrote an article on my blog with a few advice that could help as well if you want to check it out.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002646 07/14/20 08:17 PM
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I have difficulty concentrating at times.

My kids being at home talking on their headphones with friends all the time does not help.

In the beginning of the pandemic I was playing more, now I think it is less then before.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002651 07/14/20 08:34 PM
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I imagine we all are experiencing this to some degree. For me, I have found motivation in learning a lot away from the piano. I had no idea what a Fugue was (I still really don't haha) but watching documentaries and educational videos about Bach, music, etc. is really encouraging. I also started to embark on Cory Hall's "Sight Reading and Harmony" book and I'm using piano Marvel to take daily Sight Reading Assessment Score to see how I progress over the years. Some days and weeks are just blah and that's ok as then there are days where I feel like I'm learning so much.

I agree with @franke - I love using a journal. Use Zoho note app and it syncs on all devices.
@Bennevis hats off to you for being on the front lines and sticking with it. That's inspiring!!

Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002653 07/14/20 08:44 PM
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Definitely...I am in NY and my parents, now in their 70s, live in Queens, pretty much the epicenter of the virus when it arrived in March. I quit piano for about a month due to the stress, I came down with flu like symptoms in mid March and isolated myself but could not get tested until early April (test was negative and my sore throat lasted only 5 days).

Its been really hard to stick to my old piano practice regimen...my teacher switched to Zoom and I am tolerating it but I prefer in person lessons. I miss going to my piano meetups and while we do it online now, its not the same. I would have thought now that I work from home full time, have no kids, and oodles of time to practice 3-5 hours daily that I would be learning so much more repertoire now but my mind is constantly elsewhere...I just hope that by election day in November, the US will be in a better state because all this political and civic unrest is taking a mental toll on me.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002657 07/14/20 08:54 PM
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I sympathise with the difficulties others are experiencing which seem to some extent to mirror their country’s handling of coronovirus.

My only issue (hardly qualifies as a problem) was missing a few weeks of in-person lesson. I found a new teacher and have been back to these since May. The only adjustments are: she doesn’t sit right next to me and I wash my hands before playing her piano.

For those feeling they can’t get get motivated I suggest the two minute rule: just say “I’ll play for two minutes”. You usually find it will be longer.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002659 07/14/20 08:57 PM
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I have been finding it harder to concentrate and be motivated too. I think many of us are. I am one of the lucky ones that is able to work from home. At first I thought I will have so much more time to practice since I don’t have to drive to work and drop the dog off and pick her up at doggy daycare, but I find myself much less motivated to practice and work on harder pieces. I have been spending more time mostly playing easier pieces that I can finish in a week or two.
I usually go to Summerkeys in the summer. I was not planning on going this year due to my daughter’s wedding which has gotten moved from October to March 2021. However like most places, Summerkeys is not running this year. Bruce emailed and asked if we would be interested in participating in playing groups via Zoom and I said yes. Hopefully that will get me motivated to work harder. I am taking lessons with my teacher through Zoom it is not the same as in person lessons but I do not think I will be returning to in person lessons anytime soon. I am 75 and take medication that compromises my immune system.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002667 07/14/20 09:27 PM
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It's perfectly normal to struggle when your life has changed. Most people have had a huge upheaval in the last few months.

Even where the virus situation appears to be under control, there is the worry that this is only a temporary reprieve. Nobody knows how things will look in a couple of months' time. After all that, there is the worry about the economic consequences.

I suppose all anyone can do is to be aware of how they feel, and cut themselves some slack. "It's ok not to be ok," as they say.

There's no right way to feel about all of this.

Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002711 07/15/20 01:20 AM
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Initially, My lesson were canceled

Then My teacher & tried with social distancing, sanitizing Her Piano, etc

Was too much of a hassle & I’m not interested in doing lessons on Zoom

So,... My lessons have been tabled for now

I do put in daily Bench time, but My progress has slowed


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002716 07/15/20 01:53 AM
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I've done rather more on the piano of late; my playlist is . . playable (with a bit o' practice to keep on top of) and I'm adding, a little foolishly perhaps, more pieces.
I reckon us oldies without underlying issues seem to have fared better than most in the pandemic.
My wife has rather enjoyed the quietness, until recently when lockdown now seems to be considered all but over. I loved the quiet roads for my bike, but missed the entanglement the Bike courses down the Gym brought. I can't see them happening again; too many sweaty bodies in a confined place.
Ah well! Could be worse . . . .


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002737 07/15/20 04:45 AM
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I am looking forward to the time when there might be ''a slow news day'' again.

I cannot work out whether concern over the virus has effected my practice, or it is just my own laziness; probably a bit of both. I think I am in the minority that actually prefer my weekly lessons to be online, and these have kept me somewhat grounded. However there have been one too many days of late when I didn't even touch the piano. I recently agreed to go with an old friend on a 200 km hike in the Spring. This has meant I have had to start trail walking again, and set up a weekly regime of training. This has been good for my well being by having something to look forward too, which helps me in an indirect way to look at the piano more favourably.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002751 07/15/20 05:55 AM
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For me, things seem a bit reversed, but maybe they only seem that way. I'm making better progress than ever, without actually playing more. For the first couple of months of the corona-affair I was working from home, which was a complete delight for me as a hyper-introverted person, and my work output significantly improved. Since then everyone is gradually returning to the work place, and I now go there two to three days per week, working from home the rest of the time. I have been taking five-minute breaks from work once or twice daily and playing the piano during that time. This has been good for both my work output, and my piano progress.

Here in Denmark the virus seems rather meaningless now, and it's difficult to take it seriously. Statistics are no longer published daily, because virtually no one is ill. Apparently around 15 people are hospitalized for it (out of a population of 5.5 million), and although we don't know how many have died from it, we do know that a bit over 600 people have died with the virus, which is so few that it won't be visible in any statistics.

But it is still very present in the media, and lockdown still exists to some degree, and in the rest of the world there seems to be an awful lot going on - all of it bad. And I have the feeling that I am also psychologically affected by it; I do remote viewing as another hobby, and my accuracy in this area is completely off now, as if all skills have vanished. I think there is an oppressive air about life in general right now, with death and destruction all around, uncertainty about how the virus will continue, and the ever-present erratic and draconian actions of government. I should probably meditate quite a bit, in order to counter effect it. Maybe we all should.


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Re: Anyone else struggling?
AssociateX #3002842 07/15/20 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by AssociateX
Definitely...I am in NY and my parents, now in their 70s, live in Queens, pretty much the epicenter of the virus when it arrived in March. I quit piano for about a month due to the stress, I came down with flu like symptoms in mid March and isolated myself but could not get tested until early April (test was negative and my sore throat lasted only 5 days).

Its been really hard to stick to my old piano practice regimen...my teacher switched to Zoom and I am tolerating it but I prefer in person lessons. I miss going to my piano meetups and while we do it online now, its not the same. I would have thought now that I work from home full time, have no kids, and oodles of time to practice 3-5 hours daily that I would be learning so much more repertoire now but my mind is constantly elsewhere...I just hope that by election day in November, the US will be in a better state because all this political and civic unrest is taking a mental toll on me.

I'm in NY, too, but way on the other side near Niagara Falls. 😊 This is it exactly. The mental toll is heavy: pandemic, politics, civil unrest, and then other stuff in my own life (husband and son dealing with unemployment, a sick cat, losing a friend to the virus, 2 other friends sick with it, etc. etc.). I just want some peace of mind!!!

I did talk to my teacher last night and we're Facetiming on Friday. She's caring for a sick mom in all this, plus her piano teaching life. We're all dealing with stuff. I guess we just have to soldier on and hope for the best. I'm glad you were negative! My friend in South Carolina had covid a couple months ago and, though he's ok now, he was pretty sick and it was scary.

Thanks, everyone, for your stories and suggestions!! All very helpful, as always! ❤️❤️❤️


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Anyone else struggling?
terentius #3002844 07/15/20 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by terentius
For those feeling they can’t get get motivated I suggest the two minute rule: just say “I’ll play for two minutes”. You usually find it will be longer.

Great idea!! I've also cut the pieces I'm working on to 2 until I'm in the polishing phase. I was getting overwhelmed with too many longer pieces and felt like I was getting nowhere.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Anyone else struggling?
earlofmar #3002849 07/15/20 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
I am looking forward to the time when there might be ''a slow news day'' again.

I cannot work out whether concern over the virus has effected my practice, or it is just my own laziness; probably a bit of both. I think I am in the minority that actually prefer my weekly lessons to be online, and these have kept me somewhat grounded. However there have been one too many days of late when I didn't even touch the piano. I recently agreed to go with an old friend on a 200 km hike in the Spring. This has meant I have had to start trail walking again, and set up a weekly regime of training. This has been good for my well being by having something to look forward too, which helps me in an indirect way to look at the piano more favourably.

That grounding from lessons is what I want, and accountability! I'll bring it up on Friday when I talk again to my teacher.

I've actually started power Yoga a few weeks ago, lol. It's a great practice and helps me sleep better. I hiked the Niagara gorge a few times, too!

And OMG YES, please god, bring back slow, boring news days!!!!! This constant turmoil is exhausting.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002851 07/15/20 08:19 AM
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I know what you mean. I've become a bit of a grouchy bear. I've had a covid unrelated bug that has sucked my energy, and dealing with that along with the general anxiety of current life has taken its toll. I try and follow my moto of be kind to yourself, because it is harder to be kind to others if you are in a bad place.

Re: Anyone else struggling?
QuasiUnaFantasia #3002854 07/15/20 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
For me, things seem a bit reversed, but maybe they only seem that way. I'm making better progress than ever, without actually playing more. For the first couple of months of the corona-affair I was working from home, which was a complete delight for me as a hyper-introverted person, and my work output significantly improved. Since then everyone is gradually returning to the work place, and I now go there two to three days per week, working from home the rest of the time. I have been taking five-minute breaks from work once or twice daily and playing the piano during that time. This has been good for both my work output, and my piano progress.

Here in Denmark the virus seems rather meaningless now, and it's difficult to take it seriously. Statistics are no longer published daily, because virtually no one is ill. Apparently around 15 people are hospitalized for it (out of a population of 5.5 million), and although we don't know how many have died from it, we do know that a bit over 600 people have died with the virus, which is so few that it won't be visible in any statistics.

But it is still very present in the media, and lockdown still exists to some degree, and in the rest of the world there seems to be an awful lot going on - all of it bad. And I have the feeling that I am also psychologically affected by it; I do remote viewing as another hobby, and my accuracy in this area is completely off now, as if all skills have vanished. I think there is an oppressive air about life in general right now, with death and destruction all around, uncertainty about how the virus will continue, and the ever-present erratic and draconian actions of government. I should probably meditate quite a bit, in order to counter effect it. Maybe we all should.

Denmark is one of the conscientious countries, I'm really happy you guys are doing so well. My NY state is doing quite well, considering where we were! We just all have to stay vigilant. Meditation certainly helps, I have a morning chanting practice that really grounds me, but I should absolutely be doing more meditation! ❤️


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Anyone else struggling?
ebonykawai #3002862 07/15/20 08:45 AM
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A couple of things I've found that helps is, number one routine. Not with just piano, but with your normal day. I'm in Seattle and for a couple of months almost never left my apartment and just felt lost. Ideally you have all this free time to play, but it just never happened.

My bosses boss is former Navy, current reserves and they apparently have this home station thing where you report for muster at 8am and noon every day regardless of what's going on so people don't make their way to the beach in the morning and get drunk all day. He instituted that with his team for every weekday, as well as some online learning stuff (free through corporate). Hated the meetings, and the online learning was dumb, but it did help provide a structure for my day. Then you add in the other important bits, meals, piano, video games, &c into rough timeslots. Maybe that'll help?

I didn't like the Zoom lessons when they were happening, but it was better than nothing. I would suggest either setting up something regular with someone every week. If you can continue lessons or even a facetime meeting with your teacher as you mentioned that might help. If that's not possible, maybe set aside a weekly half hour or fifteen minutes with your husband and son where you put on a performance for them. They could even give feedback maybe. The idea being if I know I'm seeing my teacher in five days and have nothing to show for my time, I'm more motivated to practice just to make it worthwhile and show I'm doing the best I can. But if all I'm doing is playing for myself it is so easy to bargain away the day and veg out or something.

Last, how often do you get outside? More regular walks and whatnot, obviously with a mask and maintaining social distance from other people. I think that would help as well if you're holed up more than not. Getting called into work during March-May was a balm.

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