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I took a week off!

Posted By: Sam S

I took a week off! - 05/26/19 12:16 AM

The sunset view from my campsite on Cape Hatteras NC, USA. That's Pamlico Sound with the sun sinking into it.

[Linked Image]

I almost never miss more than a day of practice. Usually I take a keyboard and headphones on my trips and make do somehow. My last multi-day break was way back in 2014 (when I took off 5 months to go hiking!). But I needed a week off. So on a camping trip to the outer banks I took no keyboard.

The first couple of days my hands were very stiff and painful. It doesn't help being 65 years old. Opening and closing my fists over and over for a couple of minutes helped. Then we had so much to do I forgot about it.

This morning I sat down at the piano again and it felt good. I didn't really notice any loss of flexibility. There is some loss of memory though, since I was working hard to memorize new music before I left, and it didn't magically cement itself into my brain while I was gone. Two steps forward and one step back.

But the break was worth it. It was good to break up the routine and do something else, even if just for a week. I'm going off again next month, but will take the keyboard this time!

Sam
Posted By: dmd

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 12:36 AM

If you take the keyboard, I hope it is because you enjoy playing it …. not because you do not want to miss practicing for a week.

I would discourage attaching that level of significance to practicing.

Yes, practicing is important …. but so are other things in life.
Posted By: Sam S

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 12:45 AM

Originally Posted by dmd
If you take the keyboard, I hope it is because you enjoy playing it …. not because you do not want to miss practicing for a week.

I would discourage attaching that level of significance to practicing.

Yes, practicing is important …. but so are other things in life.



Well, I appreciate your long distance analysis, but you don't know me.

I'm retired. I'm also playing in a recital next month, going to adult summer music camp in July, starting my senior year as a piano performance major in the fall, and preparing for a full recital next Spring.

So you might say I have goals...

But yes I enjoy practicing - and trying to reach my goals...

Sam
Posted By: dmd

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 12:49 AM

Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by dmd
If you take the keyboard, I hope it is because you enjoy playing it …. not because you do not want to miss practicing for a week.

I would discourage attaching that level of significance to practicing.

Yes, practicing is important …. but so are other things in life.



Well, I appreciate your long distance analysis, but you don't know me.

I'm retired. I'm also playing in a recital next month, going to adult summer music camp in July, starting my senior year as a piano performance major in the fall, and preparing for a full recital next Spring.

So you might say I have goals...

But yes I enjoy practicing - and trying to reach my goals...

Sam


Good for you.

Enjoy.
Posted By: earlofmar

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 12:51 AM

Originally Posted by Sam S
It was good to break up the routine and do something else, even if just for a week.




I have found this to be really important. Piano can become obsessive, and it is good to put it in perspective by doing other things. Incidentally, I am not long back from a two month trip to Europe and the benefit of the rest was just the tonic I needed.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 12:54 AM

Piano fasting is good for you smile I'll be fasting a week here myself starting Monday. I'm looking forward to it!
Posted By: cmb13

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 02:47 AM

You needed and deserved a break, Sam.

I’ll be away for two weeks in June. It’ll be tough!
Posted By: owenj

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 04:26 AM

Beautiful photo. I was in (on?) Cape Hatteras last spring to photograph lighthouses--it's a lovely area.

When you do take your keyboard with you, what size is it?
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 09:01 AM

I had to take two months off. It only took a day to get back into the swing of things.
Posted By: Ted

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 09:16 AM

I have never had the slightest desire for a break from my music, I enjoy being obsessed with it. Nonetheless, apparently Ives enjoyed breaks in the outdoors with Ruggles, so perhaps you might now make a newly inspired attack on The Alcotts.
Posted By: Sam S

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 09:39 AM

Originally Posted by owenj
Beautiful photo. I was in (on?) Cape Hatteras last spring to photograph lighthouses--it's a lovely area.

When you do take your keyboard with you, what size is it?


Here's an old picture of the inside of the camper, with keyboard up. I have to take it down when not practicing - the camper is pretty small. I have also set it up outside under the awning when the weather cooperates. The keyboard is nothing special, a Yamaha P105, full size. I have a soft case for it, and an X stand. I also take it when staying in motel rooms and so forth - but I always drive where I'm going. I used to use a laptop and pianotek to get better sound, but lately I just use headphones and the stock sound for faster and easier setup/takedown.

[Linked Image]

Sam
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 10:32 AM

Lovely sunsets that we don’t always get to enjoy.

For someone taking a week or 2 off doesn’t seem a big deal. I take the summer off to be with relatives with no piano / keyboard around. I ended up at the local YMCA a few times a week and practice on a public piano. After a few months my playing would be rusty.

A few people in the family took music lessons at a young age but lost interest completely. As an adult learner I picked the instrument and have the inclination to play everyday or as much as possible when away from home. During the summer I’d do an hour up to two whenever possible. An hour and a half a day on average in the evening allows me to go shopping & sightseeing during the day. I’m not preparing for a performance so don’t need to practice any more than that but taking 3 months off the keys is not an option.
Posted By: KevinM

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 10:48 AM

Nice to see you have a stand and seat as well. That was what in the end made me decide it was too much. I can easily imagine causing an injury unless things were setup ergonomically properly and that just multiplies what is needed to be brought.

We only travel with a typical car and my partner's mobility scooter takes up most of the boot so what else we take fits in the back seat. I could imagine a smaller slab (73 keys etc.) and that could have fit ok but I realised I was anxious about the ergonomics. So now I just accept travelling without being able to practise. Which is incredibly frustrating. At home it is a fix that I can satisfy a few times a day.

My next work trip is to The Hague for a week, hometown of the guy who owns the company I work for. He bought himself a N1 a couple of years ago, perhaps he'll let me try that, though I suspect that is just a fantasy.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 11:05 AM

Originally Posted by KevinM
My next work trip is to The Hague for a week, hometown of the guy who owns the company I work for. He bought himself a N1 a couple of years ago, perhaps he'll let me try that, though I suspect that is just a fantasy.


Surely he'll be delighted to meet someone who knows what an N1 is! You could be the first person ever show an interest in his piano...
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 01:04 PM

There’s actually some positives for piano progress by taking breaks. I’ve experimented with this lately by taking planned breaks in pieces that I’m working on. I get the piece to a level of fluidity (maybe not memorized 100%, but mostly) and then come back to it after 2-3 weeks or more. Yes, you lose the muscle memory and have to work that back in, but the process to get back takes much less time than originally, and it seems that certain difficult passages become easier.

But I’m like you, we have an RV that we use for our northerly migrations each summer, and also for just traveling for fun. I have a cheap Korg dp here to practice if I need to keep going in my practice. I’ve even tyoed with the idea of taking it outside and playing amongst the trees laugh
Posted By: bennevis

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 01:45 PM

I take frequent breaks away from the piano - usually in remote places away from 'civilization' with no internet access, let alone a piano/keyboard of any sort. Like big mountains.

I never miss not playing during that time (heck, I hardly touched a piano for decades after I left university......) because there's so much more to keep me occupied, like trying to stay alive wink . I come back refreshed, ready to take on the world......OK, ready to take on the piano (maybe).

Though on my last vacation, I had no internet access but had the use of a grand piano. So, I spent some three hours playing it daily (but not 'practicing' because I don't want to hurt people's ears - or drive them away - by repeating short sections ad nauseam: the piano was in a very public place) - in between watching sunrises and sunsets and swimming with sharks and other friendly wildlife.
Posted By: Music Me

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 04:34 PM

It is always good to take a break from playing/practicing. I find that when I take a few days off, I come back more relaxed and even more focused. I should do it more often.
Posted By: Chrispy

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 06:55 PM

I took a week off (minus about an hour playing in some stores) and I have a recital June 1. Not sure how that’s going to go frown my break was not choice alas.
Posted By: Progman

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 07:20 PM

My brain loves piano, and my brain loves being away from piano every so often. The key to a happy brain! .....I'll bet there's a poem in there somewhere that would fit that beautiful Outer Banks photo.
Posted By: FrankCox

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 08:46 PM

I took an accidental 6 weeks away from my piano and just got it back a few days ago.

My office (where my piano lives) developed a leak through the ceiling. (PRO TIP: When the light fixtures fill up with water, that's a bad sign.)

I had some construction guys come in to look at it and they said that they'll just rip the ceiling down, fix the leak and rebuild the ceiling. Should take four or five days.

So I hauled everything out of my office and set up in another room, but unfortunately once I had my computers, my desks and my bird moved in, there wasn't enough room left for my piano. So I just moved it into an out-of-the-way corner temporarily (after all, it's just a few days, right?)

Then the guys tore the ceiling down. And found another area that had rotted out, so they kept going... and then one of the rafters broke... and then a jack slipped and ruined the floor.. and then.. and then...

Ultimately the four or five day fix turned into a six week renovation.

On the positive side, my office looks nicer now than it ever has.

I was pretty happy to be able to move everything back after all of that. And my bird appreciates having his window back, too.

It's great to have my piano available again. My bird is all in favour of that, too.

In hindsight I should have set up my piano in a spot where I could have still used it. But hey, it's just for four or five days.
Posted By: Fidel

Re: I took a week off! - 05/26/19 08:48 PM

Sam S,
Last year I took 14 weeks off, none of it desired. It definitely hampered my restart and I don't want to lose that amount of time ever again. I'm comfortable taking 1 day off, but no more than that.

I read this thread with interest looking for travelling keyboard recco's and am happy to read I can get away with something very basic. Thanks for the thread.
Posted By: WiseBuff

Re: I took a week off! - 05/28/19 11:14 AM

Enjoying this thread of reflection on our days off from practicing and playing. Practice time goes hand in hand with my morning coffee and it makes my day start better. When out in the RV, i do have a basic Yamaha keyboard stored under our bed and my husband will set it up for me before we sleep for the night. He's used to the repetition of my practice and doesn't seem to mind it. Our three day trip this month, I needed a break to rest the tendinitis in my arm and I did miss my communion with music.
BUT, once the day begins, the time away is probably healthy. We're due for another three day trip to one of our state parks in June and having the quiet time is energizing.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: I took a week off! - 05/28/19 11:26 AM

Originally Posted by Fidel
Sam S,
Last year I took 14 weeks off, none of it desired. It definitely hampered my restart and I don't want to lose that amount of time ever again. I'm comfortable taking 1 day off, but no more than that.

I read this thread with interest looking for travelling keyboard recco's and am happy to read I can get away with something very basic. Thanks for the thread.

Ouch, yes, I can see that would be a problem for that length of time - that would hurt anyone! But life happens to us all and all we can do is get back at the piano bench smile
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