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#604013 - 12/09/07 09:35 AM Bad piano days...
Anders39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 188
Loc: Norway
I hate days when I really can't "get there" with my reportoire and the new pieces I'm practicing. Does anyone feel the same? \:\(
"Silence is music too"

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#604014 - 12/09/07 10:17 AM Re: Bad piano days...
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
More times than not. \:\(

It's a fact of life. There are good days, and there are bad ones. I take the good ones in stride, and chock the bad ones up as the ones I'd rather forget.

I've noticed a couple of things that can cause this outside of physical problems.

- Being stressed before practicing, or having some kind of conflict.

This stays on the mind so you don't focus on the music because your mind keeps going back to the stressful situation.

- Forcing yourself to practice no matter what like when your're really brain dead tired.

There are times when the mind and body are saying "No, not now; not today!" but we want to do it anyway. When these days come up, do something else musically related such as reading through the score instead of heading to the piano. You're still practicing, but mentally instead of physically. Your brain is absorbing the music, and your mind is going through the practicing and playing. This will act as an inspiration to go back and practice the piano physically, and will help you also learn the music better.


#604015 - 12/09/07 08:42 PM Re: Bad piano days...
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Chopin used to tell his pupils to leave the piano, relax, got take a walk, go find something beautiful to look at. (According to George Sand Chopin's idea of a walk at Nohant was to go about ten feet done the path, pick a handful of flowers, and go back to his piano.)
Slow down and do it right.

#604016 - 12/09/07 09:57 PM Re: Bad piano days...
epf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 658
Loc: Central Texas
Bad piano days? Never thought of it that way. What I do when a piece I'm working on won't come together is to put the piece aside and play something, anything, else -- provided I already know the piece. This helps the mind to relax, the muscles and the nerves are already patterned for this and the result is actually relaxing. I'll then go back to the piece and try again. If it still won't work then I do scales or Hanon or Czerny exercises. Then I go back a third time. If it still won't work then I take a break and come back 15 or 20 minutes later.

I'm of the opinion that there is no bad time on a piano, just time when things don't seem go right.

"...a man ... should engage himself with the causes of the harmonious combination of sounds, and with the composition of music." Anatolius of Alexandria

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#604017 - 12/10/07 12:50 AM Re: Bad piano days...
tickler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 377
Loc: Chicagoland
I have to agree with epf. No day that I'm playing the piano is a bad day!

When things don't come together for me, I do one of the following:
1. Take a break, a walk, relax, then come back to it.
2. Put that piece aside and work on something else.
3. Continue working on the piece that won't come together, but break it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually it'll be a small enough chunk that I can get it come together.

Keeping a positive attitude helps. Focus on what you can do, what progress you've made.

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. -- Beethoven
1911 Steinway A-II (2007 Rebuild)

#604018 - 12/11/07 04:32 PM Re: Bad piano days...
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12569
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Taking a break like that can be very good. If you're mind is cluttered with other worries, then you will probably waste your time practicing. Sometimes I'm just too tired to work on a difficult piece, so I have plenty of sightreadable fun things I can play just for the sheer enjoyment.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#604019 - 12/11/07 04:39 PM Re: Bad piano days...
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Personally, I feel its better to stop when one approaches the point of frustration. That way, it doesn't turn in to a bad day. \:\)

I think there will always be days when one's concentration is lower than other days. I'd rather not waste my time practicing when my concentration is low. In my view, its not productive and I'd rather not think of the piano as being a source of frustration.

#604020 - 12/11/07 09:12 PM Re: Bad piano days...
yhc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/04
Posts: 150
Loc: NYC, NY
Relax, and play your Wii, afterall, it's still a finger exercise.

#604021 - 12/11/07 11:28 PM Re: Bad piano days...
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9018
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally posted by John Citron:
It's a fact of life. There are good days, and there are bad ones. I take the good ones in stride, and chock the bad ones up as the ones I'd rather forget.
What a chilling thread this is. I will often practice (silently) before work -and my hat is off to our more talented members (ecm[/b] for example)- but then when I hear Horowitz or Argerich, it is a trifle difficult for me to face the piano again.

I guess one learns that life is not always fair. Subsequently entering the field of church music, limitations are rather easier to disguise.

#604022 - 12/12/07 04:35 AM Re: Bad piano days...
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
Jason, I am not willing to believe you became a church musician to "disguise your limitations" ;\)
The musician I respect most in this world is a church musician. There is a lot more to music than virtousity (not that he's not virtous, but he's so much more) and playing music in church does not automatically make it church music....

Anders : Nice to see a Norwegian here, and a young talented one too. Keep practising also on the bad days, try to concentrate on some tiny details and work them out. I am sure you will see great progress after a month, if not from one day to the next.

(who did not know how to make progress at all when she was 16...)
Trying to play the piano:


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