Bad practice - your opinion?

Posted by: plays88skeys

Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 11:23 AM

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.
Posted by: SAS

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 11:32 AM

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.
Posted by: AdagioM

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 12:01 PM

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!
Posted by: Waterfall

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 12:51 PM

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.
Posted by: Ermo

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 12:53 PM

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.
Posted by: plays88skeys

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 02:05 PM

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.
Posted by: AdagioM

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 02:14 PM

 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
Posted by: SAS

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 02:23 PM

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!
Posted by: ChickGrand

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 02:49 PM

 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.
Posted by: signa

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 03:09 PM

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.
Posted by: princessclara2005

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 04:15 PM

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.
Posted by: PattyP

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 06:18 PM

I have practice times when nothing goes right. But it's always when I'm tired, like last night and tonight ($%@ daylight savings!
Posted by: mikhailoh

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 07:19 PM

Just heard that Plays88keys has a husband... is now off to throw himself under a piano truck...
Posted by: plays88skeys

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/04/05 07:45 PM

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... ;\)
Posted by: Ratdart

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/05/05 06:42 AM

I think one of these days calls for some Pumpkin Oatmeal cookie things.
Posted by: tk

Re: Bad practice - your opinion? - 04/05/05 12:33 PM

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.