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#1279758 - 10/03/09 03:22 AM I know how mistakes happen!
keyboardklutz Offline
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...well some anyway. When learning a passage you make a mistake once or twice (could it be innocent?), then correct it. The non-conscious though, still 'thinks' there is a mistake and when you return to the passage there is this lonely thought wandering about in a desert of perfect (but maybe not confident) rendering. It chooses something that's correct as the error and changes it! (do thoughts not want to die?). Many don't spot this because they can't accept there is thinking going on without a thinker (consciousness) - that was Descartes' error too.

edit: I forgot to post that I'm referring to those errors that often occur just after or just before a recently corrected error.


Edited by keyboardklutz (10/03/09 04:04 AM)
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#1279761 - 10/03/09 03:26 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
Sal_ Offline
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Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
"It chooses something that's correct as the error and changes it! "

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. Could you elaborate?

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#1279764 - 10/03/09 03:33 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Sal_]
keyboardklutz Offline
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You don't understand because you are unaware that 'thinking' (making choices) is going on below the level of consciousness.
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#1279769 - 10/03/09 03:47 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
Sal_ Offline
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No... I don't understand because:

It--my brain--chooses something--the note played--that's correct as the error--???--and changes it--changes the note? what my brain thinks is supposed to be played?

I understand and agree that there's thought below what I consciously think. I simply do not follow that sentence as written.

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#1279770 - 10/03/09 03:52 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Sal_]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Yes. I was unclear, I forgot to post that I'm referring to those errors that often occur just after or just before a corrected error. The non-conscious knows that a 'correction' is needed around there somewhere and will 'correct' something that is not in need of correction thereby creating another error. Even if it doesn't do that tension is created in the mind as the 'thought' searches for its error.
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#1279778 - 10/03/09 04:28 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
theJourney Offline
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1. You can never "un learn" anything.
2. Your mind does not understand "not", if you hold something in your (unconscious) mind expressed as a negation "Stop smoking", "Don't miss that accidental", etc. your mind will help you smoke and miss the accidental.
3. The detailed decision making that takes place micro-second by micro-second that is need to play the piano fluently means that almost all of the act of piano playing takes place in the unconscious.

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#1279786 - 10/03/09 04:44 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: theJourney]
Chris H. Offline
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Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I like those explanations TJ.

When I watch some of my students perform it seems to be their conscious mind that screws things up. I can almost hear them thinking.....

DON'T SCREW IT UP!!!!!!!!

Then they screw it up.
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#1279789 - 10/03/09 04:53 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Chris H.]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Yes, the non-conscious is mostly blameless. The conscious is guilty of putting wrong ideas in its head.
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#1279802 - 10/03/09 05:56 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
...well some anyway. When learning a passage you make a mistake once or twice (could it be innocent?), then correct it. The non-conscious though, still 'thinks' there is a mistake and when you return to the passage there is this lonely thought wandering about in a desert of perfect (but maybe not confident) rendering. It chooses something that's correct as the error and changes it! (do thoughts not want to die?). Many don't spot this because they can't accept there is thinking going on without a thinker (consciousness) - that was Descartes' error too.

edit: I forgot to post that I'm referring to those errors that often occur just after or just before a recently corrected error.


What a load of absolute balls! You're still going on about this ludicrous schizophrenic idea of a secondary personality? If that's happening, it's a sign that the pianist simply isn't thinking enough. What kind of person thinks to themself "I have to do one these notes different around here somewhere" and hence randomly changes a note without thinking what it should be. Nonsense. This just shows an absence of thought. Stop thinking and things go wrong- unless you have programmed your brain by repeating the passage accurately on enough occasions.

If that's happening, the solution is simple. Look at the score, read the notes properly and go slowly enough to sense where the fingers are before you move them. That is the only way to correct mistakes. Not to wonder whether you sub-conscious is saying- don't forget to play a random note a bit different this time. Forget this claptrap about the non-conscious. You're simply talking about the problems that ensue when you GUESS which notes to play, before you've been patient enough to take the time to learn how to play them. If you want to learn to play notes accurately, you need to practise with consistency and intent. If that is not there, wrong notes will come left, right and centre. That's what you're really describing here (albeit in a staggeringly vague and roundabout fashion).


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (10/03/09 06:08 AM)
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#1279806 - 10/03/09 06:25 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Of all the threads in all the forums in all the world, he posts in mine (but to the tune of Carmina Burana). Whatever it is you have ta say mate, I don't wanna know.
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#1279810 - 10/03/09 06:54 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
sotto voce Offline
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I found some nice graphics to convey that in the Chopin Tension thread. Of course, he had to have the last word—words and words and words, probably—but I'm no longer even tempted to toggle.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1279813 - 10/03/09 07:12 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: sotto voce]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Registered: 07/24/09
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Originally Posted By: sotto voce
I found some nice graphics to convey that in the Chopin Tension thread. Of course, he had to have the last word—words and words and words, probably—but I'm no longer even tempted to toggle.

Steven


Sure. You folks go ahead and attack the man. Never mind the argument.
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#1279834 - 10/03/09 09:05 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


What a load of absolute balls! You're still going on about this ludicrous schizophrenic idea of a secondary personality? If that's happening, it's a sign that the pianist simply isn't thinking enough. What kind of person thinks to themself "I have to do one these notes different around here somewhere" and hence randomly changes a note without thinking what it should be. Nonsense. This just shows an absence of thought. Stop thinking and things go wrong- unless you have programmed your brain by repeating the passage accurately on enough occasions.

If that's happening, the solution is simple. Look at the score, read the notes properly and go slowly enough to sense where the fingers are before you move them. That is the only way to correct mistakes. Not to wonder whether you sub-conscious is saying- don't forget to play a random note a bit different this time. Forget this claptrap about the non-conscious. You're simply talking about the problems that ensue when you GUESS which notes to play, before you've been patient enough to take the time to learn how to play them. If you want to learn to play notes accurately, you need to practise with consistency and intent. If that is not there, wrong notes will come left, right and centre. That's what you're really describing here (albeit in a staggeringly vague and roundabout fashion).


Nyire, I have to say I agree with the content of what you say, but not the delivery. Perhaps people would actually bother listening to what you had to say if you bothered to be more respectful.

However, psychologically, a student can have a fear of a passage when the problem has not been worked out thoroughly as you describe, with the addition of reworking the passage back into the piece at tempo so that it is seamless. It is that unreasonable fear that must be overcome or as Chris says, they tell themselves "Don't screw up" and of course they screw up. Why? Because they don't fully understand what they need to do in order to not screw up. When they know, they need to tell themselves to do those things, and also they need a Plan B if that doesn't work out so that the flow of music is maintained.


Edited by Morodiene (10/03/09 09:07 AM)
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#1279840 - 10/03/09 09:12 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Morodiene]
keyboardklutz Offline
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I'd be interested in the 'content' of your opinion Morodiene but as I don't see N's posts, I don't know what it is.
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#1279845 - 10/03/09 09:23 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
Morodiene Offline
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Essentially stopping to take the time to find out what the problem is. Usually the student is guessing and guessing wrong, but they really don't know what it should be...they simply gloss over it each time they play the piece and hope it will get better somehow. So figuring out what the problem is and finding a solution, usually slow practice and other techniques. This requires patience.
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#1279849 - 10/03/09 09:32 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Morodiene]
keyboardklutz Offline
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What I am saying is, after the problem is corrected, the student is still left with the feeling there is a problem (though for the non-conscious it is knowledge) and therefore they make another mistake to pacify this feeling. i.e. feeling there is a mistake creates a mistake. Also as tJ says, your mind doesn't understand 'not'.
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#1279853 - 10/03/09 09:34 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Morodiene]
Chris H. Offline
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
kbk, this may or may not matter but are you talking about mistakes which occur in the process of learning a piece or mistakes in performance?

The reasons for these mistakes are probably different.

Psycology isn't my thing but it strikes me that the slow and careful practice Morodiene mentioned (and that is so often neglected) is kind of like programming the sub-conscious. If you program it carefully enough then it should hold together in performance no matter what is going on in your conscious mind. What do you think?
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#1279857 - 10/03/09 09:37 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Chris H.]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Agreed. I'm talking about practice mistakes when learning. Ideally we learn everything 100% correct. Stuff does creep in though and I'm giving one rationale for some of them. I suppose you need to have had the 'fixed a mistake only to have it move a beat or two away' experience.
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#1279861 - 10/03/09 09:42 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Morodiene]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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I'm not typically a rude person, but when I see someone is so habitually rude towards various others as kbk, I'm not going to bother with pleasantries when he types such a load of utter tosh. I see the point made by another poster about panicking entirely. I'm not directing any rudeness in that direction. However, even in such a case, you need to find a way to relax AND think. You can only rely on habit if the habit is adequately formed. If mild pressure is enough to make it go wrong, it's clear that the habit is not yet fully formed.

The only assured way to get to that stage is through the conscious thought-processes. It's just a matter of going slowly enough that you don't have to choose between between one thing or the other, in order to set the right habits. The benefits of merely relaxing a little more are going to remain very much short-term ones, unless a student learns how to go slowly enough to both think and play at a pace they can handle with ease. If you don't know what you're actually trying to do, it simply won't ever be possible to find consistency.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (10/03/09 09:47 AM)
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#1279864 - 10/03/09 09:48 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Morodiene]
keystring Online   content
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Quote:
Why? Because they don't fully understand what they need to do in order to not screw up. When they know, they need to tell themselves to do those things, and also they need a Plan B if that doesn't work out so that the flow of music is maintained.

I was given some wisdom along those lines a few years ago. I have often seen, in fora, the word "mistake" used: point out a student's mistake, catch a mistake, prevent mistake, tendency to stop when they make a mistake.

The first of the two things was to never think of a mistake or avoiding it, because that in itself sets it up. Instead, aim for the right thing, visualize it, plant that into your mind and focus on this right thing.

The second, which was a shocker for me, goes to what you are saying Morodiene: that we may take for granted that we know something, but we don't. So you're practicing something, fixing it, but you're not aware that you're trying to do something that you don't know. Like, "Gracious, I don't actually know what that rhythm is or how to produce it." Or "I haven't a clue how to make my fingers move smoothly/place them (etc.) and that is why I'm struggling." Then when you do know this missing thing, you're aiming toward the right thing instead of aiming not to make a mistake.

This was a powerful thing for me as a student so I hope nobody minds me sharing it.

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#1279870 - 10/03/09 09:55 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
TimR Offline
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Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
What I am saying is, after the problem is corrected, the student is still left with the feeling there is a problem (though for the non-conscious it is knowledge)


kbk,

Your theory may very well apply to some mistakes. I suspect you're missing a larger problem.

You seem to have assumed a priori that there is a reason for a mistake, and you are searching for the subconscious or unconscious mechanism. It may be a devious freudian reason, or a simple misassignment as you're suggesting here.

I think many errors have no cause. They are simple noise in the system, completely random.

This is of course good for other reasons, but frustrating during learning.
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#1279872 - 10/03/09 09:59 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: TimR]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Tim, that's why I suggested the original mistake could be 'innocent' (though being part Freudian I wouldn't put money on it). Also why I said '...well some anyway.'

I love 'Noise in the system' it's nearly elegant enough to unFreud me!
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#1279876 - 10/03/09 10:05 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keystring]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring

The second, which was a shocker for me, goes to what you are saying Morodiene: that we may take for granted that we know something, but we don't.
I believe it was Socrates who said he knew nothing.
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#1279904 - 10/03/09 11:15 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: keyboardklutz]
abcdefg Offline
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Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 67
Loc: midwest
Well, I am learning a piece right now that has about 3 measures that I play right sometimes but not always. First off I know it is partly my approach. The lh is playng octaves, not the easiest thing for me to do. So I have approached this spot with anxiety. After reading Nirye.... post I am going to go back and really try to learn these measures. I am a pretty good sight-reader and I realized that I have not gone through this section and I have not consciously looked at the intervals and notes. I am practicing at a slow tempo, gradually increasing the tempo and hoping that when I get up to tempo I will still be able to play correctly. Now I have a different way to practice and hopefully feel more confident and lose the anxiety for this spot in the music.

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#1279907 - 10/03/09 11:24 AM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: abcdefg]
Barb860 Offline
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Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: abcdefg
Well, I am learning a piece right now that has about 3 measures that I play right sometimes but not always. First off I know it is partly my approach. The lh is playng octaves, not the easiest thing for me to do. So I have approached this spot with anxiety. After reading Nirye.... post I am going to go back and really try to learn these measures. I am a pretty good sight-reader and I realized that I have not gone through this section and I have not consciously looked at the intervals and notes. I am practicing at a slow tempo, gradually increasing the tempo and hoping that when I get up to tempo I will still be able to play correctly. Now I have a different way to practice and hopefully feel more confident and lose the anxiety for this spot in the music.

Yes, I can relate to this post. I believe it's the anxiety that causes tension, which in turn leads to practicing our mistakes.
So we have to lose the anxiety by practicing in the zone, in complete relaxation, in those passages where mistakes have occurred previously.
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#1279932 - 10/03/09 12:01 PM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Barb860]
Joe H. Offline
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Registered: 09/13/09
Posts: 11
Though I hate applying scientific principles to music, I believe this subject would be served well by it.

There are two main sections of the brain that handle the process of learning a piece and developing it to the point of perfection (or something close to it). The 'thinking' section (neo-cortex), and the 'instinctual' section (lymbyc). The 'thinking' section is in charge of all conscious thoughts and efforts, which we use to process anything new to our minds, like the first time you had to tie your shoes, or brush your teeth, or ride a bike, or learn a new piece.

As we do something over and over again the brain shifts these tasks over to the lymbyc brain, which is a purely instinctual, unconscious part of the brain. This is where our body language, reflexes, emotions and instincts reside, things that we just do without thinking, like brushing your teeth, riding a bike, etc. This explains why if you play a new piece enough times, you begin playing it without thinking. Some people call this muscle memory. If you learn a piece with mistakes included, the lymbyc brain thinks these 'mistakes' are correct. So the only way to fix them is to re-employ the neo-cortex for these sections. You have to isolate the mistakes, and practice them repeatedly with conscious and deliberate attention until the correct rendition gets transfered back to the lymbyc side, and wah-lah, fixed.

Interesting side note: this also explains why you have to truly 'know' a piece before you can inject true emotion into it, because the process has to be controlled by the lymbyc side, due to the fact that emotion comes from the lymbyc side.

In short, think when you need to learn and fix, don't think when it's time to truly play.

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#1279942 - 10/03/09 12:10 PM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Joe H.]
sotto voce Offline
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Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Joe H.
You have to isolate the mistakes, and practice them repeatedly with conscious and deliberate attention until the correct rendition gets transfered back to the lymbyc side, and wah-lah, fixed.

What's "wah-lah"?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1279943 - 10/03/09 12:17 PM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: sotto voce]
keystring Online   content
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Quote:
What's "wah-lah"?

Voilà

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#1279944 - 10/03/09 12:17 PM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: sotto voce]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Joe H.
You have to isolate the mistakes, and practice them repeatedly with conscious and deliberate attention until the correct rendition gets transfered back to the lymbyc side, and wah-lah, fixed.

What's "wah-lah"?

Steven


Lake Wobagon-ese for voilà.

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#1279953 - 10/03/09 12:45 PM Re: I know how mistakes happen! [Re: Joe H.]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe H.
You have to isolate the mistakes, and practice them repeatedly with conscious and deliberate attention until the correct rendition gets transfered back to the lymbyc side, and wah-lah, fixed.
A little simplistic. The limbic brain is not like a whiteboard, you can't just wipe stuff off and replace it with other stuff. Love the wah-lah though.
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