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#1472859 - 07/12/10 11:14 AM One Week Off - disaster
swc2004 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/10
Posts: 28
Having just returned from a holiday and not played for one full week I am rusty. This made me think.

I play by ear generally but If I could read music much better and continue to improve on my reading , a week off wouldn't matter because all I would have to do is sit down and play.

Am I right?

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#1472870 - 07/12/10 11:33 AM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: swc2004]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1640
Loc: Colorado
There is certainly nothing wrong with to improving your sight-reading skills. Might be a good thing to add to your ever-developing skillset.

I practice only sight reading for an entire practice session one day a week, then again two times per week as part of my daily routine.

Be patient with yourself.

Glen
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#1472871 - 07/12/10 11:35 AM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: swc2004]
PianoU1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 93
Loc: uk
not sure i see the correlation myself. I feel rusty after a holiday and I play by reading. Learning to sight read better is never wasted time in my opinion.
_________________________
Piano Yamaha U1
Studying Grade 8 piano and 6 theory

Currently working on:
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Beethoven Sonata Op10.no.1
Martinu Columbine Sings
Chopin: Waltz 69 no.2
Scott Joplin: Pineapple Rag




Achievements:
Grade 1-7 Piano (LCM)
Grade 1-5 theory (LCM)

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#1472880 - 07/12/10 11:41 AM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: PianoU1]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5423
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Rusty is rusty. You can be rusty at reading music, too smile

It's not unusual to be a little rusty. It's also not unusual to take 30 years off and then still be able to play the things you learned 30 years ago. After a short break it takes less time to come back to non-rusty. After a long one it takes longer to learn other things than it took to learn the stuff you can still play, although the passage of time is absolutely correlative to the fact that you're older and your physical body has changed laugh

If you want to learn to read it's a great goal. But I don't think it will make a difference in the rusty - jmo.

Cathy
_________________________

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#1472889 - 07/12/10 11:56 AM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: jotur]
EJR Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 861
Loc: Bristol, UK
<<for one full week I am rusty. This made me think.

....I play by ear generally>>

After a week away from the piano, I'm sure I'd be a little stale as well. Unfortunately, these seem to crop up regularly.

Is this a memory issue? Do you mean that you'd forgotten the pieces you learnt by ear after 1 week away?

You should be able to take a one week break easily in your stride from a memory perspective. I've found the best way to achieve this when learning a piece is to incorporate increasing breaks (1, 2, 4 days, then 1,2, & 4 weeks etc ) away from the piece. Recently, I found it took around 40 minutes to get a piece "back" that I hadn't played for 4 months (but this was after 7 or more cycles of study).

I find if I only have a single cycle of study on a piece and drop it for 4 months then it becomes a "train wreck" and takes much more work to get back (but still a lot less than when first learnt).
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#1472894 - 07/12/10 12:05 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: jotur]
swc2004 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/10
Posts: 28
Cathy, my physical body has changed!!
I was on a cruise from Venice to Istanbul and those cruise ships really lay on the food!

So yes, I have changed - around the waist!


Edited by swc2004 (07/12/10 12:06 PM)

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#1472901 - 07/12/10 12:13 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: swc2004]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Taking a short break is often beneficial because it allows time for the brain to sort out all the complex information that comprises playing the piano.

To illustrate, I had an adult student who struggled with learning a particular piece that was slightly over her head, but that she really wanted to learn.

After working on it for probably 6 weeks, she disappeared for 3 weeks due to a family emergency. She said she did not touch a piano during that time.

When she came back for lessons, she threw the books on the floor, and said that it was hopeless, now that she had lost 3 weeks, she would never learn that song, etc.

I responded by asking her to play it. She started playing it, and played it much better than before.

What I learned from that incident is that she was probably flooding her brain with information, without allowing for "digestion" of the info.

After a short break, you can be a little rusty on the exact note-for-note memory part, but somehow, on the overall playing part, there can be an improvement.

So I tell my students that taking a break from a piece is not doom, but can actually be helpful in the learning process, (providing the learning process was basically correct in the first place).

ps...I do not tell all my students this, because I fear that certain individuals will take it as an opportunity to not practice much at all!
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#1472909 - 07/12/10 12:26 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: swc2004]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5423
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: swc2004
Cathy, my physical body has changed!!
I was on a cruise from Venice to Istanbul and those cruise ships really lay on the food!

So yes, I have changed - around the waist!


Well, there you go! laugh

Cathy
_________________________

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#1472916 - 07/12/10 12:38 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: jotur]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8354
Loc: Georgia, USA
I'm with Rockett88... after I don't play for a day or so I seem to have made some improvements in my playing. Maybe I need to stop playing altogether!! grin

Take care!

Rick
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Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1472939 - 07/12/10 01:08 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: Rickster]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
No Rick...you play too good. Honest.
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#1472948 - 07/12/10 01:24 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: rocket88]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4856
Loc: Italy
I think in part, it depends on how far along you are to begin with. Then maybe it depends on what you're playing and how far along you were with that.

I've only ever had a max of six days not playing. In fact I've only ever NOT played for those six days since I got my piano (my personal goal is to play everyday, unless I'm physically away from my /a piano). I didn't notice any difference when I came back. But maybe I'm still too new for six days to make any difference?
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1472979 - 07/12/10 02:46 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: rocket88]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8354
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Rockett88
No Rick...you play too good. Honest.

Wow, thanks for the complement, Rocket88! My goal is to be able to play half as good as you before I die!! grin

Take care!

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1473467 - 07/13/10 12:23 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: casinitaly]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
My experience has been that this sort of thing is really serendipitous, or perhaps depends heavily on where in the learning process my brain is when I take the break. Sometimes a few days off leaves me feeling so completely klutzy and rusty that it can take another week just to get over the interruption, and other times it's clear that my mind used the vacation time for some essential housekeeping, because I come back to the piano with notably improved skills.

It would be nice to know how to distinguish the difference between my brain being vacation-ripe vs. times when it will suffer vacation-rot.
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#1473601 - 07/13/10 03:57 PM Re: One Week Off - disaster [Re: tangleweeds]
nancymae Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: NE Wisconsin
When you figure that out tangleweeds...please let us all know!!! Love your descriptive words for that dilemma...vac ripe vs rot. Love it!!

I have the same experience. Some say it's because your last practice was either good or bad and you have muscle memory. I read music--so I know my reading is not rusty...it's the eye/hand coordination. Sometimes my fingers just have minds of their own...so I don't think there is an advantage between reading music and not when it comes to a lapse in playing.

Great subject though...interesting to see how people handle it for sure!

Nancy
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Began Piano 12/25/09 on Yamaha starter digital keyboard
Playing on circa 1917/18 Chickering Grand Piano since July 2010
Finished Alfred Book 1-August 2010
Started Book 2--August 11, 2010
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