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#1044662 - 04/04/05 11:23 AM Bad practice - your opinion?
plays88skeys Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
Do any of you encounter days when, no matter what you try, you flop? I have them from time to time, and today is one of those times...actually, it's the first time I've had what I'd term a rotten practice in months.

Things committed to memory are gone, fingerings meticulously worked out in the past are stumbling blocks, focus on the score when you have it half memorized seems impossible.

What do you do? Do you chalk it up to a bad day and stop, or do you slog onward, even though everything you try sucks? I'm just wondering if it's a good idea to practice when everything you do undermines confidence and weeks of work.
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#1044663 - 04/04/05 11:32 AM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
SAS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/04
Posts: 640
Loc: Austin, TX
I had a lesson like that once. Everything I played or did was horrible. I was making mistakes I never make, or hadn't made for weeks. Finally we just stopped and started talking about music theory stuff. Which was quite interesting and worthwhile also, so it wasn't a total loss.

I'm hardly in the category of experienced pianists here, but when I have a day like that, I just chalk it up to a bad day and stop. It's too frustrating to keep playing if everything sucks! Thank goodness this hasn't happened to me very often. At least where I suck more than usual!

I'd be interested though in hearing what other people do when this happens to them.

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#1044664 - 04/04/05 12:01 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
AdagioM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 723
Loc: Oregon
Yes!

Stop and come back later when your head is in the game. And it's usually better when you come back; the suckiness magically disappears!
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#1044665 - 04/04/05 12:51 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
Waterfall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 293
Loc: North Carolina
Yep. Chalk it up. Go on a walk. Do something else.

If you do decide to slog onward, then make small goals: focus on a single measure, or a single couple of measures. Something that will be manageable, even if you aren't playing well for the moment.

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#1044666 - 04/04/05 12:53 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
Ermo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/05
Posts: 278
I'm with AdagioM: stop slogging away at it, and when you come back (which for me would be the next day), somehow miraculously the stuff that was giving you trouble is much improved.

I have always assumed, however, that trying to slog through it is an integral part of the process. In other words, I give my whole practice routine the old college try before hanging it up for the day.
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#1044667 - 04/04/05 02:05 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
plays88skeys Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
As suggested, I did stop. I may try again after dinner. Hubby wants to watch the basketball game; I don't.

Here's another question: how many of you can't or won't practice if there is anyone else around to hear your efforts? I usually practice when I'm alone and rarely after Improv gets home from work.

I feel like I've thrown away an opportunity to get in a good practice today, even though I wasn't having much success.

As Scarlett said, tomorrow's another day.
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#1044668 - 04/04/05 02:14 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
AdagioM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 723
Loc: Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by plays88skeys:


Here's another question: how many of you can't or won't practice if there is anyone else around to hear your efforts? I usually practice when I'm alone and rarely after Improv gets home from work.

I feel like I've thrown away an opportunity to get in a good practice today, even though I wasn't having much success.

As Scarlett said, tomorrow's another day. [/b]
I can practice with family listening; we're all used to hearing each other practice various instruments (guitar, piano, sax). But I don't practice if people other than family are in the house.

Scarlett also said, "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." Oh, wait, that's the pumpkin cookie thread!
\:D
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#1044669 - 04/04/05 02:23 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
SAS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/04
Posts: 640
Loc: Austin, TX
It's just my husband and I, and I really don't like to practice when he's in the room, although I have a few times. He usually goes in to the bedroom when I'm practicing so he can watch TV in there, or play his trumpet. I've probably mentioned this before on this forum but the piano is in the living room, which is the only TV hooked up to cable. So if he wants to watch something on cable, and I want to practice, we're stuck in there at the same time. He always says he doesn't mind, and I'm sure he doesn't, but I feel kind of funny plunking away when he's watching a movie or something. The ideal thing is for him to be playing his trumpet when I'm practicing, that way he don't bother each other. It probably does both the dog and the cats however!

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#1044670 - 04/04/05 02:49 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3243
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by plays88skeys:
Do any of you encounter days when, no matter what you try, you flop? I have them from time to time, and today is one of those times...[/b]
I have those days, too. Those days are totally disconcerting with things memorized and played literally 1000s of times vaporized and non-existent. Once it becomes clear it's truly one of those, I usually write off the whole day, but I have found that if I come back to it hours later, sometimes I can end the day with a good practice even the same day.

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#1044671 - 04/04/05 03:09 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i guess that everyone would get a bad day like that. in that case, it's better not to force yourself at piano (because it would be useless) rather to walk away or take a break.

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#1044672 - 04/04/05 04:15 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Yes, that definitely happens...but life goes on, be cool and do better next day, or if that happens a lot, considering take a 2-3 days break for not practicing.

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#1044673 - 04/04/05 06:18 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
PattyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Texas
I have practice times when nothing goes right. But it's always when I'm tired, like last night and tonight ($%@ daylight savings!
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#1044674 - 04/04/05 07:19 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Just heard that Plays88keys has a husband... is now off to throw himself under a piano truck...
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Michael

====

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#1044675 - 04/04/05 07:45 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
plays88skeys Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
Hi Michael,

Missed you! Good to see you posting again.

psssst: Save the truckdriver some permanent psychological scars and stay on the sidewalk...besides, I'm probably too old for you... ;\)
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#1044676 - 04/05/05 06:42 AM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
Ratdart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 98
Loc: Florida
I think one of these days calls for some Pumpkin Oatmeal cookie things.

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#1044677 - 04/05/05 12:33 PM Re: Bad practice - your opinion?
tk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 695
Loc: Los Angeles County
Agreed. Cookies are definitely in order on days like this!

 Quote:
Do any of you encounter days when, no matter what you try, you flop?
This happens to me periodically. It is rather demoralizing. I just stop and give up for the day, having learned that slogging on just doesn't work for me, b/c it inevitably makes me more frustrated and leads me to thinking bad thoughts about piano and music!!!

 Quote:
Here's another question: how many of you can't or won't practice if there is anyone else around to hear your efforts?
As with SAS, it is just my husband and me. Well, we have a dog, too, but she usually trots outside when I start playing... (everybody's a critic these days!). I don't mind playing with my husband is around, though I sometimes feel bad b/c I figure it must be disturbing him. He does have an office, though, and can shut the door, which he sometimes does.

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