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#1965624 - 09/28/12 05:04 AM Flow?
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
Something interesting happened to me yesterday when I was practicing. After several hours of practicing that day, struggling with alberti bass in tenths in Beethoven's Op 90 Sonata and some of the awkward arpeggios in Brahms's Op 119 No 4, everything suddenly became so very obvious, like a revelation telling me "this is how you do it". The difficult tenths in the Op 90 sonata suddenly came very easy to me. I believe I was playing better than ever. I was in a flow. I felt like nothing was unplayable for me, every thing was possible! Scales, arpeggios, drills in thirds, everything I attempted went smoothly and I could play it at any speed rate I wanted, higher tempos than I had ever dreamed of attempting earlier! Today, all this was gone, and I obviously became very frustrated. My question is, what kind of phenomenom is this? It almost felt like it came from somewhere else, like someone else was in my body when I was playing. It felt like my fingers were basically flying all over the keyboard yesterday, but the next day, everything was gone. Has this ever happened to any of you? Do you recognize this?

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#1965627 - 09/28/12 05:20 AM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7895
Yes, I recognize it. We've had some threads about it, although none recently.

And yes, it's very frustrating when the spell is broken and you can't just return to it simply because you want to. But you can learn how to aim yourself in that direction...

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#1965633 - 09/28/12 06:53 AM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Debbusyist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/10/12
Posts: 208
Loc: I'm standing upside down...
Yes. laugh You feel so happy during that day when you play so well, and from that day on, you aspire to be that person again...which ultimately leads to a permanent improvement.
_________________________
HSC pieces:
Shostakovich Piano Concerto op 102. movement 1
Chopin 'Winter Wind' Etude
Slowly adding more on...

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#1965636 - 09/28/12 07:19 AM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6112
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Yes. Then you become your own goal (the real you).
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1965637 - 09/28/12 07:21 AM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6112
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
The same happens in other fields too by the way, like art and poetry.
At the moment for example I just cannot stop drawing.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1965648 - 09/28/12 07:48 AM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
That happens to me when I'm on the verge of a breakthrough, although it's usually just in one area for me, like the ascending tenths in LVB opus 90. Just keep working through your frustration for awhile, and see what happens.

Tomasino


Edited by tomasino (09/28/12 07:52 AM)
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#1965668 - 09/28/12 08:36 AM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 758
Loc: South Carolina
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
...... My question is, what kind of phenomenom is this? It almost felt like it came from somewhere else, like someone else was in my body when I was playing. It felt like my fingers were basically flying all over the keyboard yesterday, but the next day, everything was gone. Has this ever happened to any of you? Do you recognize this? .......


I can empathize. Yesterday's result could've been the by-product of something relatively indirect. For example, you could've decided for a hot minute to focus solely on the way you release notes - and, voila! - everything else fell into place.

It also could've been that during your earlier struggle, you were (subliminally?) over-taxing your smaller muscle groups. They then decided that they've had enough. In response, the support system from your larger muscle groups came into play in a way that's different - and more beneficial - than before.

Whatever happened, it was about an interference being removed.

So on the next day (this is speculation), instead of doing the things that caused your mind-body mechanism to work efficiently, you tried to re-create the feeling that you got when everything was working so well.

Nope. It's a new day. Pretend that the results of yesterday didn't happen. Start over. Start methodically, with simple goals. Over the course of today's practice sessions, you may not re-create what you did before, but you just might educe something just as wonderful.

Enjoy the work!


Edited by Gerard12 (09/28/12 12:43 PM)
Edit Reason: I guess I must've misplaced my copy of "Grammar & Punctuation for Dummies."
_________________________
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#1965728 - 09/28/12 11:18 AM Re: Flow? [Re: ChopinAddict]
Franz Beebert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
The same happens in other fields too by the way, like art and poetry.
At the moment for example I just cannot stop drawing.

Very true. I have read been reading alot of philosophy lately, and somewhere between the lines, I feel that art in general is in a way the closest way to true wisdom, if you know what I mean.. Perhaps that's the reason why these feelings often occur in art..

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#1965821 - 09/28/12 02:35 PM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I agree with Gerard12, this part:

Quote:
It also could've been that during your earlier struggle, you were (subliminally?) over-taxing your smaller muscle groups. They then decided that they've had enough. In response, the support system from your larger muscle groups came into play in a way that's different - and more beneficial - than before.

Whatever happened, it was about an interference being removed.



Maybe the key is always trying to understand what physically is interfering with one's ability to perform technically, rather than to keep playing the same way that doesn't work. (Easier said than done.)
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


Check out my blog !


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#1965992 - 09/28/12 10:45 PM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1148
1. You asked, "Do you recognize this?", to which I respond "Arghhh! Yes!"

2. Here is the thread I posted a while back
Question about 'on' days

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#1965997 - 09/28/12 11:00 PM Re: Flow? [Re: Gerard12]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1148
Originally Posted By: Gerard12
For example, you could've decided for a hot minute to focus solely on the way you release notes - and, voila! - everything else fell into place.


Can you expand a bit on the releases? I've never heard anyone mention that.

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#1966216 - 09/29/12 12:14 PM Re: Flow? [Re: Arghhh]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 758
Loc: South Carolina
Arghh, I was just looking for an example of concentration being thrown upon one facet in such a manner that it 'allows' other facets - maybe "processes" is a better word - to work unimpeded.

Paying exaggerated attention to note releases is one of the 'games' I play while practicing - especially when I'm unhappy about something and I can't put my finger on exactly what it is (no pun intended).
_________________________
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#1966410 - 09/29/12 05:36 PM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6112
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
The same happens in other fields too by the way, like art and poetry.
At the moment for example I just cannot stop drawing.

Very true. I have read been reading alot of philosophy lately, and somewhere between the lines, I feel that art in general is in a way the closest way to true wisdom, if you know what I mean.. Perhaps that's the reason why these feelings often occur in art..


It is interesting that Van Gogh for example started painting very late in life (at 29, and he died at 37), although he had been drawing before.
I don't think we should ever suppress our inspiration. If it comes, there is a reason! smile Although... as others have noticed, it is disappointing when you have been "there", and then you are suddenly back "here"...
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1966415 - 09/29/12 05:40 PM Re: Flow? [Re: Franz Beebert]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5277
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I've experienced that few times. It's like you're surfing and riding the crest of a wave, everything becomes effortless.

It's a nice feeling when it happens.
_________________________
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