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#2055789 - 03/28/13 05:16 PM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5023
Loc: Italy
LostWoods -- you raise a good point - we get distracted and focus on the wrong thing!

FarmGirl --You made me laugh....I wouldn't get dressed up for my plants either, but I might, just to please myself smile... But really ...."decline in raw material" lol...Too funny !

I've only played in public once - and I was rather nervous. I have played at home, or at a friend's home with buddies, but my "live performances" are few and far between, so I can't really compare.

Bobpickle: you posted at the same time I was writing. Thanks for the link!


Taking into consideration the advice I've had here and what my teacher suggested, yesterday I worked at figuring out what my "comfortable speed" was for the two pieces I wanted to record, and I got the metronome settings , and wrote them on the scores.

Then I just played the metronome and hummed the piece to myself for a few minutes, and then I started the recording. It worked fabulously!!!!!!
I didn't feel at all nervous, I could feel I was breathing with the phrasing, able to think about what I was doing and prepare in time, comfortablyl. I did have a couple of little glitches but they were more of the "slipping off the key" type rather than a "mistake".

I was so very very pleased.

What I realized was different was that I was in control.




Edited by casinitaly (03/28/13 05:17 PM)
_________________________
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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#2055934 - 03/28/13 11:19 PM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1990
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Cheryl, I think you nailed it. My old teacher used to tell me "don't let your fingers control music. You are going to be ahead if the music not the fingers". I think she meant the same thing that we should be in control.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2056031 - 03/29/13 03:31 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: FarmGirl]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5023
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Cheryl, I think you nailed it. My old teacher used to tell me "don't let your fingers control music. You are going to be ahead if the music not the fingers". I think she meant the same thing that we should be in control.


I think so too FarnGirl, (and thanks!) .... It was really quite a novel sensation. I suspect my focus was better simply because I'd found the right tempo for me and I actually had TIME to think about what I was doing, whereas before I was rushing it and therefore losing it.

I'm dying to try out this new approach with more pieces and see how things go!
_________________________
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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#2056080 - 03/29/13 08:37 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
But how does being in control go with "letting go" what I heard teachers/players say too.. They say you should not think about the keys and notes but just play and let go if you know what I mean. Like you're in some kind of flow. Cause being in control sounds very like knowing exactly what you are doing while letting go sounds more like letting your subconscious take over.

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#2056090 - 03/29/13 08:52 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 793
Loc: Darlington, UK
At the moment I wouldn't be able to focus cos my kids are making far too much noise! And no school for 2 weeks! There goes my daytime practice...
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2056649 - 03/30/13 03:01 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: Lost Woods]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1990
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: Lost Woods
But how does being in control go with "letting go" what I heard teachers/players say too.. They say you should not think about the keys and notes but just play and let go if you know what I mean. Like you're in some kind of flow. Cause being in control sounds very like knowing exactly what you are doing while letting go sounds more like letting your subconscious take over.


I think this is a great question that might deserve its own thread. For me "letting go" means letting go of myself or my inner voice and becoming one with the music. It does not mean that you will sit back and enjoy the ride while your fingers do the magic. It's the state of mind where you don't think about what others might think, your shaking fingers or mistakes you just made. You are more focused on telling the story that's woven throught the piece. Since you no longer cnscious about yourself, you aren't bashful about express the emotion contained in the music. So you go all the way - you will give fortissimo not a chicken poop mezzo forte. If you feel sadness from the music, again, your focus should be communicating the sadness. Control is given since we cannot make music as we like without it. If you don't have control, our performance is left to chance. I hope it makes sense. I now have to go to bed.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2056675 - 03/30/13 05:15 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5023
Loc: Italy
I agree with FarmGirl -- and I would just add that before you get to the point where you can let go, you've got to be intimately familiar with what you're doing. I've hit that a couple of times with some of my short jazzy pieces, but not often overall.


FarmGirl: I love one of your lines so much I'm putting it in my siggy!
_________________________
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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#2056685 - 03/30/13 05:56 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: chopin_r_us]
landorrano Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2460
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
I'd recommend life style change. A hunter-gatherer diet suits me best.


Yeah, as long as you buy it at a convenient whole foods boutique!

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#2056686 - 03/30/13 05:58 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: Lost Woods]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Lost Woods
But how does being in control go with "letting go" what I heard teachers/players say too.. They say you should not think about the keys and notes but just play and let go if you know what I mean. Like you're in some kind of flow. Cause being in control sounds very like knowing exactly what you are doing while letting go sounds more like letting your subconscious take over.


You have to know "the keys and notes" and everything to do with playing the piece inside in out first. Only once it's all so ingrained in your mind that you can play all the right notes and everything perfectly without little-to-no thought can you "let go" in your playing/performing and focus completely on the music. It's like telling someone to play with their head and not their fingers, only playing with the fingers is a prerequisite (not that it can't or shouldn't be unmusical).

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#2057200 - 03/31/13 04:41 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: FarmGirl]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2088
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Originally Posted By: Lost Woods
But how does being in control go with "letting go" what I heard teachers/players say too.. They say you should not think about the keys and notes but just play and let go if you know what I mean. Like you're in some kind of flow. Cause being in control sounds very like knowing exactly what you are doing while letting go sounds more like letting your subconscious take over.


I think this is a great question that might deserve its own thread. For me "letting go" means letting go of myself or my inner voice and becoming one with the music. It does not mean that you will sit back and enjoy the ride while your fingers do the magic. It's the state of mind where you don't think about what others might think, your shaking fingers or mistakes you just made. You are more focused on telling the story that's woven throught the piece. Since you no longer cnscious about yourself, you aren't bashful about express the emotion contained in the music. So you go all the way - you will give fortissimo not a chicken poop mezzo forte. If you feel sadness from the music, again, your focus should be communicating the sadness. Control is given since we cannot make music as we like without it. If you don't have control, our performance is left to chance. I hope it makes sense. I now have to go to bed.


Letting go of ourselves is letting go of our autonomic mind.
Taking control is, taking control with our heart's mind.

Our autonomic mind is part of our base existence. Part of our nervous system. It can copy perfectly. Has no morals. It's where our ego exists. It's where "wanting" comes from. Has succeeded in controlling our hearts. Our very existence. It constantly is trying to keep us in a parrot mentality. This is what we need to evolve from.

Our heart's mind is wrapped within our soul. It is where we consider. Create morals. It is where we love. Our heart's mind considers not itself. Is not worried about obtaining or wanting. Only giving to others. When we evolve above the autonomic mind and into our heart's mind. We can discover heaven on earth.

To let go of ourselves is to let go of our autonomic mind. The autonomic mind is to be disciplined. It is to obey the heart. While it fights constantly to take control of the heart. It comes up quickly with parrot mentality to convince the heart to give into it. When that is a finite road. It will always error in the end.

In the book; The Art of Practicing. Also from Scott Sonnon. Both speak of flow. It is something Scott works on very much. You can obtain this. How? By disciplining the autonomic mind, body, nervous system. It is something many people experience in different things. They stumble upon it. We often call it talent. When we can obtain it.

In The Art of Practicing. She says to play as if you are going to die tomorrow. This is letting go of yourself. Letting your heart take over.


I'd also like to add.... Cas... I'm just starting in the book: Mikrokosmos. It is exercises for songs. Where a person has to work on obtaining something new in playing. This first book I have ends with Canon. Working exercises for different passages. I'm only on the first page and find it great for me. There are five more books. All working on more difficult parts of more difficult songs. My teacher also really likes this series of books.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2063710 - 04/12/13 09:04 PM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: Sand Tiger]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1362
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
In the old days, some recordings were done in one take, but now no one does that, .


Recording to phonograph disc (and before that cylinder) was always done in one take. They had no way to edit. Magnetic tape recording was invented in Germany during WWII, and could be cut and spliced, but only in silent places, or you'd get a pop. Les Paul developed multi-track recording and fading between tracks in the early 50's, but he had to record each track all the way through. Then in 1957, Glen Glenn patented the bias fade process that allowed punching in on an existing track without the pop.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2063803 - 04/13/13 12:52 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I'm trying to record 2 pieces. No, make that I WAS trying to record. I gave up after repeated botch-ups.

Most of the errors were in the second half of the pieces, often near the end. Sometimes, I have no doubt, because of the thought that creeps into my mind "ah, I think I'm going to make it"... and then it crumbles.

I don't seem to be able to sustain focus - and let's face it- my pieces are NOT long and complicated. They're just right for my ability.

What are techniques you use for improving your focus and concentration. Clearly I'm missing something.

grrrrrr.

Suggestions very welcome!!


___________________________________________________________
I have thought about this problem.

remember lots of people sing while playing.
the other thing is if you count from 1 to whatever quietly while you play, you will learn to focus on your playing and counting and it will distract you from your red dot issue.

Another option is to play to anybody who will listen while you put the phone down and play anything which will give you experience of playing for other people even on the telephone.

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#2063817 - 04/13/13 01:19 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: Michael_99]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1586
Loc: Australia
Michael 99, I am not that experienced enough to comment much but I have the same problem. However if I relentlessly work on a piece (and I can only do small ones at the moment) it will eventually get to the point where it is finished. As every new piece I attempt is throwing up a challenge it seems to take a very long time for the physical and mental absobtion and implementation to come forth.
Another idea and I am yet to really try this one out but have read about is to clear the mind before playing. A little like starting to meditate clearing the hustle and bustle of the brain I think must be what great pianists are able to do, and therefore are not so easily distracted.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2063864 - 04/13/13 04:46 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: casinitaly]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Michael, you don't have to copy and paste in order to quote people. There's a "Quote" button at the bottom of everyone's posts you can click which brings you to a new reply screen with their whole message quoted for you to reply to. When you don't do this, people may get confused (especially when you divide the message with several consecutive underscores, which just makes your "response" look like your everyday average personal signature).

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#2063871 - 04/13/13 06:05 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: Bobpickle]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1586
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Michael, you don't have to copy and paste in order to quote people.

Hey Bobpickle, glad I found that as I had been wondering how people were able to quote so easily - old dumb me
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2063873 - 04/13/13 06:14 AM Re: Why can't I focus? [Re: Michael_99]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5023
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Michael_99

I have thought about this problem.

remember lots of people sing while playing.
the other thing is if you count from 1 to whatever quietly while you play, you will learn to focus on your playing and counting and it will distract you from your red dot issue.

Another option is to play to anybody who will listen while you put the phone down and play anything which will give you experience of playing for other people even on the telephone.


Michael, I do appreciate your thoughts on this matter. I've read a lot of your posts, and you have a marvellous connection with your music and the poetry it brings to your soul.

I love your idea for playing for folks, even over the phone! I am not sure that I'd do it by phone, but you know it could be great by skype with my family! Thanks for the idea.

As for singing - I can see that would work with some pieces - but for most of my pieces I am not sure ...I think that added step might be an extra distraction. I'll have to try it and see how it works.

The counting is something that I only ever do when I have to figure out how to play something initially, and generally only very tricky parts. I rarely consciously count, and particularly in a recording I think that would really distract me. By the time I get to the point where I want to record, I have to be well over need to count consciously.

EarlofMar - the clearing your mind before starting is something I'm working on - with a bit of success. I'm hoping to improve on that with time!


_________________________
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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