Good days/Bad days
October 8, 2019 at 5:11 PM #77584
Why is it I can play one day and sound good, or at least decent?
Then the next day sound like, well not quite as good?
Kind of frustrating.October 8, 2019 at 5:23 PM #77585
If you find out, let me know…same thing happens to me.October 8, 2019 at 9:33 PM #77589
I learned this from studying musical cognition on the internet:
(mostly from Wikipedia) 🙂
When you’re practicing one day and compare it with another day, it’s very helpful to realize at a basic level that a hierarchical organization exists in your memory. You actually use a mental map of the piece allowing yourself to keep track of the progression of the fiddle tune.
Scientists have discovered that there are performance cues that monitor the automatic aspects of performance and adjust them accordingly. They (these scientists) distinguish between basic performance cues, interpretive performance cues, and expressive performance cues. Basic cues monitor technical features, interpretive cues monitor changes made in different aspects of the tune, and expressive cues monitor the feelings of the music. These cues are developed when serious musicians pay attention to a particular aspect during practice.
I slip from one day to the next quite often in basic technical mistakes. I find that until I can satisfactorily play through the tune without too many mistakes, I just simply cannot “feel” the piece.
Some days are better than others. 🙂October 8, 2019 at 10:26 PM #77593
Very interesting Fred. Do you have any sources that describe how to maximize this info?October 9, 2019 at 7:31 AM #77598
Hi Angela. I don’t really have any one thing in particular. But when I am at my “height” of performance is when I have mastered the basic technical difficulties and managed to keep a clear focus on only the music. If the troubles of the day seep in to my thinking or a distraction from an audience member declares itself, rather quickly I discover I am not in “flow” with the music.
I like to practice at least one hour before performing in public. I always did this when performing my piano concerts. Playing Bluegrass with a local group is somewhat different but we all still “warm up”.
I guess I could narrow it all down to one word: “Practice”. But we all know there’s more to it than just that. 🙂October 9, 2019 at 12:41 PM #77606
I read a bit on it last night…some of the research that’s available on the innertube. Pretty interesting. I have “go to” places in the music….(e.g., I need to land on a G…or go up to the high D here…). But, like you said, distraction in actual practice can make me miss those cues. I think I rely on sequential memory (from what I read last night). My next question…how do you maximize practice for memory???October 9, 2019 at 3:34 PM #77607
Staying with the idea of sequential memory, here’s a list that may be of help to students embarking on their first few lessons while developing tools to use to strengthen memory:
October 9, 2019 at 4:54 PM #77609
- Play the first two measures of a tune you want to learn. Listen very carefully to melody.
- Observe each note. What note is it? Which string will you use to play this note? Is the note a quarter note, an eighth…what is its’ value?
- Is the note a sharp or flat? Is it accounted for in the key signature?
- Move to the next note and repeat the above. Are there any notes that repeat? Is there an identical pair of notes that occur in these first two measures? Identify any identical groups of notes.
- Stop and replay the two measures again.
- Now replay the two measures but only in your mind, not on the fiddle. Can you replay it note for note using the correct rhythms?
- Replay the line on your fiddle.
- Listen to the line again and play it again.
- Repeat this process for 5 – 10 minutes striving to hear the music more and more clearly and retain it in your mind.
- Move on to the next two measures and repeat the whole process. Take steps to identify any areas that repeat. Continue on in this manner to the end of the tune.
My problem while practicing or playing sometimes is that I start thinking too much.
Like for example, my bow hand isn’t loose enough, my bow is not in the middle of strings, is that a C or C#, am I off beat, is there enough rosin on my bow, too much rosin, am I driving everyone crazy with my playing….
That will sometimes make me play bad as well.
As for memory I just play and play until I can’t forget it. And I will also listen to what I’m learning a million times.October 9, 2019 at 6:46 PM #77613
Great stuff Fred.
J- good points. You know, it may not be thinking too much but not thinking focused and consistently. I have that problem.October 9, 2019 at 8:00 PM #77616
Yes, Fred great stuff you posted. Things to think about and use.
Angela, I think you’re right about being focused.October 9, 2019 at 9:05 PM #77623
You-uns are really analytical…lol. I think I just think about the music…if I think about anything else I might start messin’ up pretty bad…sometimes even if I think about the music I start messin’ up pretty bad…lol…maybe I should be more analytical!October 10, 2019 at 1:25 AM #77629MoonShadowsParticipant
That’s my problem, John. I think too much and analyze everything.October 10, 2019 at 8:15 AM #77635Edmo45Participant
A very interesting discussion, this is, regarding Memory, and how we learn. I particularly like the Mental Map, reference. I relate to that, completely, and to how we can be thrown off track( lose our way, on the Map), if we become distracted, while playing; even with Songs we’ve played few hundred times…
I’ve become used to, the learning pattern, I follow, with a new Tune…. Slow and steady; Note by Note, Phrase by Phrase, Line by Line, A Part, then B Part…until I have the entire Tune memorized. Then, of course, it’s Practice, Practice, Practice….
But the surprising part to me, is I can only practice a New Tune so many times, before I start making connections, with other Songs…be it a particular Rhythm, Fingering Pattern, or Bowing Pattern; and start changing, or improvising, sections/phrases in the Original Version. I call this the Second Level, of learning a Song…I guess it’s the part where we are making a Song, our own. And, it seems, this is a continuing process…with every Song, I play…
When one of these cognitive leaps in learning, happens….is when I experience a slow down, in playing…I used to think they were bad days, but now, I think of them as days, my brain is processing a new level of playing, that tune…a new fingering, a change in rhythm, Bowing dynamics, whatever… So, I just accept it, figuring it is part of the continuous process of learning, we all go through, with Music…
Of course, just moving into my third year of playing/learning Fiddle, I experience a lot, of those slow days….October 10, 2019 at 8:24 AM #77636
When an adult speaks open-ended to an infant, you know just rambling on and on, interacting, using lots and lots of words, the child has an incredible chance to develop a higher intelligence than an infant who is just stuck in front of a tv set listening to words that do not necessarily interact.
Children born in poverty are said to hear 30 million less words than children grown out of poverty.
This can be compared in some ways to a musician exposed to lots and lots of open-ended language regarding music playing, music composition and just music understanding in various ways.
This forum is a good example of what I’m discussing. Just hearing music discussed in so many different ways is good for our musical health.
I agree, Ed. That’s where some of those cognitive leaps are coming from. 🙂October 10, 2019 at 6:29 PM #77649
That is true, Fred. Actually learning an instrument is like learning a language.October 11, 2019 at 5:49 AM #77660
I agree, John. It’s been called “The Universal Language”. 🙂October 11, 2019 at 6:51 AM #77662
Oh…yeah…I remember that…in college choir we did a song like that…”Music is the universal language and love is the key, to something something something…doo-dee forgot the words… and living in harmony!” Some Mac Davis song or something…lol…we sang that in college when I was in the campus choir…lol…ok sorry, just reminded me of that. Oh yeah,,,I remember it was called, I Believe in Music.
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