Issues with practicingTechnique and Practicing: im having trouble getting the motivation to sit down and just pratice like i used to. does anybody know how to find a motivational "spark" again?
From Hunter Miller
From Sue BechlerI don't,really, but will offer that sometimes practicing is just plain work. Open your case and put in your time, and don't think about it too much. August is a tough month for many students. The joy of finishing the school year and being free is overshadowed by the upcoming one and the face of the unknown. A few days or weeks of feeling like you do is one thing. If it persists or worsens, then you should think of seeing the doctor and/or counselor. Maybe you should do that, anyway, since the idea has crossed your mind that you might need help. Depressive turns of mind are not uncommon in musicians and artists and they are treatable. Many people can't just get it back together on their own, and should not feel as though they should be able to.
Posted on August 4, 2012 at 12:06 PM
From marjory langePracticing is not always going to give you the wonderful feeling that playing can. Sometimes, as pp says, it's work. Think of physical training; some days it's just boring, unless you focus in tightly on what you are doing, measure your progress, and show patience with yourself.
Posted on August 4, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Have you not started anything new recently? Piece or etude, a new set of notes, interpretive choices, and challenges can spark things. OR, go back to something you haven't played in a while (months, a year) and see how differently you may play it now.
Point is to keep things fresh so that the skills you are perfecting come to you in differing situations every now and then.
From John CaddBe methodical and write a log of each piece you practise. Stay with the constructive details of the music and avoid the vague emotional reactions that have so little effect on the playing . Milstein`s advice was "Think how you can achieve quality ". The Angry reaction is from somewhere else that does not belong with playing .You can safely throw that reaction away .Imagine the Anger as a physical object being thrown into a river . That`s the way Psychology experts get it to work .What do wild horse trainers do with all that anger and impatience. A Horse Whisperer would stop answering you . No , that won`t work .Play with a large mute if you want to master some technical parts. Your ears will be grateful for a change. Anger makes you express anger in the violin. Nice clear feedback in that case .
Posted on August 4, 2012 at 03:58 PM
From Paul DeckTalk to your teacher and ask for help choosing things to work on that are challenging but not too hard. Once you've prepared a piece technically, take the extra week and figure out how to make it sound beautiful rather than going on to the next technical problem. Go back and play some of the pieces you learned before, this is a good way to demonstrate to yourself that you're improving while maintaining your repertoire.
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 02:48 AM
From Lisa Van SickleIn a prior post didn't you say you were taking some viola-less trips this summer? If you haven't practiced regularly for some time you can't expect to pick up exactly where you left off. It takes some time, patience, and self-discipline to get back into the practicing groove. You'll soon be back into the habit and moving forward.
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 03:00 AM
From Hunter Milleri guess my next question is how do i be more patient with myself? when i train physically i go till i cant go anymore, but i think that would be counterproductive with music. what is a good way to learn to be patient with myself?
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 04:49 AM
From Millie BartlettHey Hunter, that's actually a very important question. I'm sure at times all violinists and violists that are passionate about their instrument have, at times, felt like a horse trying to bolt. For little miss perfectionist Me, I have struggled with that question a lot. Many times in my early years I found myself testily practising far longer than planned just to get something right, or doing it badly because I couldn't. In the end I learned that was futile because I would approach the passage all tensed up and annoyed, making things all the more difficult, and when presenting it to my teacher, she would immediately pick up on that same tension perfectly practised into the music. Then I would have to un-learn and re-learn the section. Having learned the hard way, patience will only come when you allow yourself due care. Care for yourself and the way you learn best.
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 09:11 AM
One method I had to employ was making a strict time limit. This isn't for everybody but for me it meant that I had to use the correct method for learning right from the start, no time wasting allowed. It also meant that I would return to the section more eager to continue consolidating, rather than being bored and annoyed with it from trying to overdo things. It paid off in the end, and now it's largely a subconscious thing that I can apply to other parts of my life. Taking due care with yourself means focusing hard on the necessary and the how, and leaving out the what-ifs and the confusion. Sure, leave room for fun, otherwise it's all for nix. But training your mind not to wander into unnecessary avenues will save you a lot of anxiety and time. As for the actual practise time-limit? If you are completely honest with yourself you will know what that is.
From elise stanleyThere is also an issue with expectation. It seems to me that if I only expect to improve and not to master a section during a practise I do MUCH better in the long run. Thus, I focus on one part and work on it until it feels improved (not perfect) - then I stop and move onto something else.
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 09:31 AM
What happens next is lik magic because when I come back to the section I don't expect to do it well - and am generally very pleased with far more improvement than I thought I had reached the previous time.
From Paul DeckHunter, what Elise said about expectation is exactly right. You said when you take physical training you can go until you're wiped out. But are you running 3-hour marathons? Five-minute miles? Benching 400? Instead of these "objective" measures you're just doing your level best. Well, maybe it's time for you to recalibrate the expectations that you have for yourself on the violin and instead measure whether you've practiced as well as you could for a pre-specified, reasonable interval of time. Set goals that are a little, not a lot, beyond what you've accomplished before. You won't make good progress if you're miserable all the time. What would be the point of that anyway? Exhaustion may be a good thing in your physical training but if your violin practice leaves you exhausted -- physically or mentally -- then you probably need to back off.
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 06:37 PM
From David BurgessHunter wrote:
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 09:06 PM
"i guess my next question is how do i be more patient with myself? when i train physically i go till i cant go anymore,..."
That's usually not the most productive approach for physical training either.
With violin or physical training, train smart, not obsessively.
From Simon Streuffplaying the violin is not necessarily joyful, but making music is at least!
Posted on August 5, 2012 at 10:40 PM
From Nairobi YoungWell I have gone through this before and sometimes less severe versions of it happen more often but still rarely. If you are new to playing the violin, then I would say there is a phase for a lot of people where they just don't feel like practicing and all the sparkle of even playing the instrument in practice is gone.
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Somethig I did was get a goal. My goal was to major in the violin. Knowing that I am not where I need to be, immiediately made me want to practice.
Another thing is I started listening to more orchestral music. this also helped me with my goal of wanting to sound like those professionals on day. Sometimes just listening to pieces of music I really enjoy movitvates me to practice.
The last thing is, I found some inspiration. My inspiration was and is private teacher. She used to be my orchestral director at my high school, so we have known eachother for a while. She always pushed me and made me feel good about my progress. I sometimes also suffer from being a perfectionist. When you have someone else commenting (mainly the positive comments help with this type of situation) on your playing, then I can't explain what it is, but it makes you work harder without beating yourself up as well as making you feel good about yourself and your playing. Anotherthig about the comments is to try and accept them instead of not believing them at all.
I hope this helps and I'll comment if I find anything that helps. I have been through this before so I know how disappointing and frustrating it is so I hope to be able to help!
From Terry HsuPerfectionism can be a useful quality in a musician so long as it is not crippling...and as long as you understand that even the greatest violinists do not play as well as their musical concept. And that the better you get, the better your musical concept becomes.
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Practice, as John Cadd suggests, with quality in mind. If it doesn't sound good, play it slower, or quieter, or play something easier.
From marjory langeHunter, eventually you will have played every note in any given piece perfectly--the way you want to hear it, the way it 'should' sound. Sadly, you will almost certainly never play them all perfectly in any one performance.
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 03:31 PM
That sets most of us up for disappointment; we KNOW what to do, how to do it, we have done it...but we are always going to fall short.
Learning to accept that and find it stimulating rather than depressing is a major element of being a successful (in the sense of fulfilled) musician. One the one hand lies over-critical perfectionism; on the other, frustration and despair. We walk between them, every time we practice or play.
From Charles CookImpatience can sometimes be linked to diet. Too much sugar and simple carbs e.g., white bread, white rice, refined sugar, sodas, junk foods and so on. These food can impede the digestion of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that creates a brain chemical that calms the mind. If you feel that your diet is find than you can check with your family Doc. to see if Trytophan deficiency applies to you.
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 12:35 AM
When I was younger I had a real hard time praticing at a slow pace. I only had the ability to really focus and control my speed when I fix the diet issues.
From Hunter Millerthank you all! i revisited some pieces i played before i moved two years ago, and they helped me.just took me home for a little while. thank you all and i will keep posting how im doing with pratice on this discussion until ive reached a more normal schedule for praticing. once again thank you all!
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 01:36 AM
From Simon StreuffCharles Cook: That is so true! The "right" food can make you a different person. It can make you concentrate better, sleep better and last but not least play better. Especially when you get older it becomes more and more important to take care of that part. But when you are young it makes a huge difference too. Thank you very much for the links!
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 10:04 AM
From Terry HsuDiet is huge. One thing to consider if altering your diet is that your gut bacteria can be dialed into a certain diet. When you change it your gut bacteria need to transition. When there are gut bacteria that aren't getting fed, there is a "dieoff" of certain bacteria in favor of the more beneficial bacteria. So you could end up feeling worse for a couple weeks before you feel better.
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 01:00 PM
From John CaddI started a topic asking about expression. If you are expressing something you must be translating something from life around you into sound --via the music. The composer did the spadework but you still need something from your own life apart from the sheet music to charge up the artistic batteries . How`s that for a theory ? Discuss.
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Maybe you should aim for an easier more social type playing with fiddle players and develop the classical outside of that .It all gets a bit austere if it`s just concert orientated . David Oistrakh was a dab hand at playing the Balalaika too. A well known folk instrument .
From Nicky PaxtonOne way to increase pleasure in playing through getting less angry with oneself is to work on the ability to forgive oneself for mistakes and instead just pause for a moment and then have another go. In this sense, forgiveness is key.
Posted on August 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM
From Andrew VictorWhen I was younger and practice could really pay rewards in a hurry I would set myself imaginary goals, such as a future performance of something that I would work on. Some of these were real goals, such as, when I was 14, becoming my HS orchestra concertmaster; that happened. And when I was in my early 30s becoming CM of our community orchestra, which also happened.
Posted on August 13, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Other goals in the same time frame, for tougher music, were aimed at imaginary concerts that never happened, such as when I was working on the Mendelssohn and Beethoven concertos.
Eventually, I grew up and practiced things just to improve my ability to do certain things on the instrument and worked on Paganini and lots of Bach. Actually this lead to a couple of performances in front of an orchestra. I worked long and hard for years to improve when I was in my 40s, and improvement came much more slowly.
All along there were short term goals of playing this or that orchestra music and this or that string quartet or piano trio (variously as a violinist, violist , or cellist)
Now in my late 70s improvement doesn't happen any more - except perhaps on a daily basis. That is, I can play better at the end of practice than at the beginning. But even that is a goal and a reward.
I have several goals this week: I'll probably be playing the 2nd viola part in Mozart K407 (Horn Quintet) on Tuesday morning. And maybe 1st violin in Beethoven Op. 18 #4 (or maybe 2nd violin) who knows. And then on Thursday I'll be playing cello in some Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Clara Schumann, and maybe Schubert piano trios.
Plenty of goals to practice for over the enxt 2 days, don't you think?
From Irene Yeongpractise with someone, ask your mom or dad to play the violin too.
Posted on August 13, 2012 at 09:45 AM
From John CaddWhen writers of novels talk about themselves they often notice the difference from "normal" people. It`s as if they step outside themselves and look at themselves objectively. Some troublesome children can have their behaviour changed by filming them in a rage and then playing the film back when they calm down next day. Stepping out and looking at yourself can be a useful trick. Menuhin said he was very unhappy when he was 12 years old and put all that into his music. If you are lifting weights and straining all the violin muscles and then expecting to be on top form---Forget it. It won`t work. Just as easy to kick yourself in the head. You have to balance the two completely different activities. If you don`t work out a balance you are going round in circles . You can`t have your cake and eat it too.
Posted on August 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM
From Smedley Butler
Posted on August 14, 2012 at 04:45 AM
From Nicky PaxtonTry practicing in shorter spells, say 20 minutes at a time, rather than longer ones. That way, you'll be able to maximize your attention capacity.
Posted on August 14, 2012 at 11:38 AM
From Meri Dolevski-LewisI lost the motivation to practice much for several years, though had practiced a lot in my teens and early twenties (almost 34 now), but have you considered talking to your doctor about possibly being assessed to see if you suffer from depression and or anxiety, and getting treatment? Although since I was treated for both, and seeing a therapist for a few years, I'm playing and performing better than ever, even difficult repertoire.
Posted on August 18, 2012 at 03:00 AM
From annemarie auewhat I usually do is search for violin music on the youtube. I see people playing the violin and usually I get the felling I want to play to. Then I like practicing more.
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 07:37 PM
From Hunter Millerthank you all. ive been prticing more lately, and while im still fustrted with myself, i think im doing better. and i am not going to see a doctor.
Posted on August 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM
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