how to get out of a bad practice slump
the past few days my practicing has just been bad. I have tried playing things very slowly with a metronome, I've been warming up with open strings, scales, and some etudes that I know I can play well but I still feel off. my left hand fingers are getting confused and I feel like I'm focused but my playing sounds unsure and scratchy.
I think I need a different approach to practicing. usually I just do slow metronome practice (my main problem is that my left hand gets easily confused) but I guess I need more than that.
what should I do? what things can I try to get out of this?
Finally--something I might be able to help with! :-) I am returning to playing after 38 years away. Back in high school I was a competent player, who took private lessons at an excellent school and was a member of a good youth orchestra. But I wasn't super talented and I guess that's why I quit.
Go back to your music library and find something you learned well in the past. Play it through -- "once more with feeling." Give yourself the chance to see how much you've improved since then -- how easy the piece seems now, or how much better you play it, and with less effort. This will help you remember why you were doing all this in the first place.
Have some rest. Sleep, walk, meditate, go to a spa or have a massage if you can afford it.
Hmmmm it's strange that this has began for you, OP. Something must have occurred to trigger it. Has something significant changed in your life?
Any long term learning/practice/training has bad periods. Nothing seems to work and one feels frustrated.
Three things: 1) Our technical improvement will not be gradual and even. There will be frustrating plateaus and then break- throughs leading to rapid improvement. 2) Our hearing, musicianship, pitch discernment, judgement, can improve faster than our technique, so we seem to be getting worse when we are actually getting better. A third thing that happens with me that seems really weird: After pounding away at some difficult spot without results; just let it go for a week or two. When you come back to it, it may be strangely easier, like the back of the brain needed time to get rewired.
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