Jump to content


Photo

Ratio of practice time to progress


58 replies to this topic

#19 David Levine

David Levine

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Co Clare, Ireland / Hopkinton, NH, USA

Posted 22 March 2009 - 04:21 AM

Greg is so right. Earlier in the year there was a discussion about talent. The consensus seemed to be that whether or not "talent" is real, it takes 10,000 hours (following Malcolm Gladwell) to become an accomplished player. This would be about when people would say, "Gee, you're so talented." If you were to play (I hate the word practice) two hours a day this would take about 13 years. So it's vitally important that you enjoy the process.

You have to keep certain things in mind - or out of your mind. Zen and the Art of Archery offers a perspective on motor learning and control that offers useful advice for learning to play an instrument. A central idea in the book is that through years of practice a physical activity becomes effortless both mentally and physically. The body starts to peform complex and difficult movements without conscious control from the mind.

"The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull's-eye which confronts him. This state of unconscious is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill, though there is in it something of a quite different order which cannot be attained by any progressive study of the art..."

#20 michael sam wild

michael sam wild

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2641 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Shireoaks, Notts, UK

Posted 31 March 2009 - 05:52 AM

Sounds a bit like unknowingly incompetent, knowingly incompetent, knowingly competent, unknowingly competent. The hardest bit to get past is when you know it's going to be a long road with no easy shortcuts. That's why there are so many dusty guitars in folks' bedrooms!

But I know some people who know they know that I know they know they are good! Know what I mean?

#21 LDT

LDT

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1435 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK, Essex

Posted 31 March 2009 - 06:00 AM

I now have two options alternate Concertina & Melodeon practice daily or weekly or monthly. I've decided to do one week concertina next week melodeon....think that will leave less room for confusion.

#22 Mike Pierceall

Mike Pierceall

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 451 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern California U.S.A.

Posted 31 March 2009 - 07:36 AM

I now have two options alternate Concertina & Melodeon practice daily or weekly or monthly. I've decided to do one week concertina next week melodeon....think that will leave less room for confusion.

Confusion is the biggest room in my house :blink:

#23 Carl Watts

Carl Watts

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Yorks, UK

Posted 01 April 2009 - 09:11 AM

I now have two options alternate Concertina & Melodeon practice daily or weekly or monthly. I've decided to do one week concertina next week melodeon....think that will leave less room for confusion.


Hi LDT
Congratulations on the new melodeon (if I'm allowed to say that here!)
I think I've been playing the 'tina for about a year longer than you and I've now had my melodeon for about 3 months. Firstly, keep it up! From your Youtube vids, you're doing really well. I'm in a slightly different position from you, as I've played the guitar for years and learned to read music at an early age - it certainly does help.

Just a couple of thoughts. I thought I'd practice on a schedule, just like you suggest - but it took 2 days to realise that I'd be happier and make faster progress if I just played what I felt like playing (I'm learning the 5 string banjo now too!). I only play music to have fun, so I tend to just enjoy playing tunes, rather than doing rigourous practice. Some days I stick to one instrument - others I'll practice up to three (what joy for the neighbours!!) The thing that is new for me is learning by ear - I've always depended on written music until now. Rather than trying to play along to tracks, I've just started to muck about until I get close to the tune I'm after (started doing this with the melodeon as it is without doubt easier than the anglo - and yes, I know that this is just my opinion!). I now do this on the concertina quite a bit. Sometimes I end up in the same key as the original, other times I don't - to be honest, I don't really care as long as the tune seems to work (sacrilege!!)

You'll find much better players around here and they might not like my advice, but I think you should just aim to enjoy the music - some things will work and others won't. Give it a couple of weeks and you might just find that it all comes together. I'm not much of a player yet, but here are my latest efforts learning by ear, if you're interested.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wHg6la96sNs

Good luck and enjoy yourself!!
Cheers
Carl

#24 Bill McKim

Bill McKim

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts

Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:42 AM

My favorites of the suggestions listed so far are:

Take a break in between practice sessions rather than making it one, long extended practice. (Something about letting the neural memory imprint. In the end we want the music to be close to autonomic)

Practice high interest material that will sustain your enthusiasm while you gain technique and skill.

I might add that for the average person competence takes a lot of time, as in duration. I'm not the most talented, nor the quickest study but I have played music continually for 40 years. It is only the last month after 5 &1/2 years of grappling with the concertina that I feel like I am starting to make some real progress and "play" the instrument. Fortunately many people are quicker in their progress. But try and adopt a long arc to for your playing goals. I hate to think what I would have missed if I had given up after only 5 &1/4 years. The best lies ahead.

Greg


Good advice. I have been playing a concertina for about 3 years, the first 2 1/2 on a 20 button that made my elbows ache. Last june I finally was able to afford a vintage 30 button (just love that C#). That was a great motivator. It has such a beautiful tone, I just love listening to it. I will try to hang on for the next 5 years and see what happens.

I can recommend that you only practice each tune briefly. As in 5 min. Then go back to marking papers, reading email, wasking dishes (or whatever) for 20 minutes. Seems that neurons in your brain take a while to respond, or soak up the practice and wire in the finger movements. If you pour all the water on a sponge at once, not much will be absorbed, but if you let it trickle a drop at a time, it will fill absorb more water.

Well that's my theory and I am sticking to it. By the way, it makes maring papers easier to take as well.

Bill McKim

#25 Matthew Heumann

Matthew Heumann

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chelsea, Michigan USA

Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:11 PM

Some thoughts on the importance of practice:
When I started playing in 1973, I practiced hours a day for the first 10 years. I got faster and cleaner and had a huge tune list, but never really grew or improved as a concertina player until I started playing a variety of types of music in a variety of keys. Only then did the instrument and I become as one. I always knew where my fingers were and where to go whether playing from ear or sheet music. Quantity of practice is not as important as quality of practice. Are you learning new things? Are you training your fingers or just your memory? I consider myself a concertina player first: whether the music is Irish, Scottish, English, American, traditional or Classical is a secondary concern.

Also, don't learn someone else's style, it'll cripple you. Develop your own. Many years ago I was criticized for not sounding like Alistair Anderson (including from Alistair), but lately several Englishmen have thanked and praised me for it! Too many concertina players are learning to sound exactly like one or two famous players and individual style has gone down the crapper (I blame standardized competition judging for that).
If you develop a unique style and a play unique tunes, you will stand out more than if you were just another session noise.

#26 Mikefule

Mikefule

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lincolnshire, UK

Posted 19 April 2009 - 03:43 PM

Constructive practice makes for improvement. Simple repetition does not.

If you do something incorrectly lots of times, you will learn to do it incorrectly with greater consistency! A large part of it is muscle memory. Also, if practice becomes too repetitive, the musicality of the phrasing and rhythm can suffer.


The ideal practice session alternates work on:

1) Things you can already do reasonably well, and can enjoy doing.
2) Things you can more or less do, but need to improve.
3) Things where you are just laying the groundwork.

I like to warm up with a few tunes I know reasonably well.

Then I'll have a go at the "improvings".

Then I'll revert to the "reasonably wells" to refresh my mind and fingers.

Then I'll have a go at the "laying the groundworks".

Then finish on a couple of favourites.


This is not engraved in stone, but it gives a reasonable practice structure. It also gives me a "confidence sandwich" in that the session starts with something that gives me confidence, and finishes with something that leaves me feeling confident for next time.


Each time you learn a new "trick", you will find opportunities to use it in the tunes you already know. Occasionally this will require a significant change of fingering and that tune may be moved from the "reasonably well" category to the "improving" category for a while.

By working in this manner over the last two and a bit years, I feel I have made significant progress. I play Anglo in the English style with bass or chord accompaniment, crossing the rows extensively. I have now reached the stage where I can go for days or longer without practising some of the tunes in my repertoire because the repertoire is bigger than I can comfortably play in a single session. Then the other day I needed to learn a simple tune quickly (while the set was forming to practise a Morris dance!) and I found I was automatically including some of my most recent "tricks" on the left hand.

#27 david_boveri

david_boveri

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1061 posts
  • Location:chicago, illinois, usa

Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:47 PM

Is there a way of improving the quality of practice?


here are some ideas to improving your practicing. i wrote this on another site:

http://forums.chiffa...c...58

it is based on lessons from james kelly ( http://www.jameskellymusic.com/ ) and shannon heaton ( http://www.myspace.c...ndshannonheaton ) on how to practice. there are of course other influences in this approach, as well as years and years of thought on practicing.

if you scroll down, you will see a section marked "table of contents" (you can press ctl+f and type table of contents to get there quickly). from there you can find a break down of the information. section B is pretty useless, as it is flute specific. section C is the most relevant to your question. i recommend reading section A at your leisure.

whenever i follow these guidelines, i get much better much faster. but unfortunately i must admit normally i just kind of play in a half daze, with no goals and no structure, and it is during these time periods i make NO PROGRESS at all. if i followed these guidelines every hour of my practice, i would be unbelievably better. it can be so hard to motivate yourself sometimes, when it is just easier to mess around than have a strict practice routine. i'll get there yet, and i'll get better, too.

#28 david_boveri

david_boveri

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1061 posts
  • Location:chicago, illinois, usa

Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:55 PM

Constructive practice makes for improvement. Simple repetition does not.

The ideal practice session alternates work on:

1) Things you can already do reasonably well, and can enjoy doing.
2) Things you can more or less do, but need to improve.
3) Things where you are just laying the groundwork.


i like this. you put it better than i could with 8 pages!

#29 Azalin

Azalin

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montreal, Canada

Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:31 AM

Constructive practice makes for improvement. Simple repetition does not.

The ideal practice session alternates work on:

1) Things you can already do reasonably well, and can enjoy doing.
2) Things you can more or less do, but need to improve.
3) Things where you are just laying the groundwork.


i like this. you put it better than i could with 8 pages!


It seems this is what I'm doing, but not because I'm smart, only because I'm lazy. But yeah, the idea is to enjoy practicing, because if you don't, you'll lose your motivation.

#30 david_boveri

david_boveri

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1061 posts
  • Location:chicago, illinois, usa

Posted 20 April 2009 - 09:52 PM

Constructive practice makes for improvement. Simple repetition does not.

The ideal practice session alternates work on:

1) Things you can already do reasonably well, and can enjoy doing.
2) Things you can more or less do, but need to improve.
3) Things where you are just laying the groundwork.


i like this. you put it better than i could with 8 pages!


It seems this is what I'm doing, but not because I'm smart, only because I'm lazy. But yeah, the idea is to enjoy practicing, because if you don't, you'll lose your motivation.


well, it all depends on what you want. if you really really want to get better, it is immensely more satisfying to get better than to stroke your ego.

#31 David Levine

David Levine

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Co Clare, Ireland / Hopkinton, NH, USA

Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:42 AM

Constructive practice makes for improvement. Simple repetition does not.

The ideal practice session alternates work on:

1) Things you can already do reasonably well, and can enjoy doing.
2) Things you can more or less do, but need to improve.
3) Things where you are just laying the groundwork.


i like this. you put it better than i could with 8 pages!


It seems this is what I'm doing, but not because I'm smart, only because I'm lazy. But yeah, the idea is to enjoy practicing, because if you don't, you'll lose your motivation.


well, it all depends on what you want. if you really really want to get better, it is immensely more satisfying to get better than to stroke your ego.


The point about enjoying practice is critical. If you don't enjoy it you'll get nowhere. You have to love to play to get anywhere. So David, I don't know what your point is. If you don't love to play -- and that includes practice for me -- then why would you do it? "Getting better" is a by-product of enjoying the process in the first place. I don't practice (which is just playing at home, and sometimes repeating a passage slowly to get it right) -- I play.

The goal is to make enjoyment of life a seamless whole, and that includes the pleasure of practice, your work, mowing the lawn, cooking, doing dishes, working out.

#32 LDT

LDT

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1435 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK, Essex

Posted 21 April 2009 - 03:42 AM

Constructive practice makes for improvement. Simple repetition does not.

The ideal practice session alternates work on:

1) Things you can already do reasonably well, and can enjoy doing.
2) Things you can more or less do, but need to improve.
3) Things where you are just laying the groundwork.


i like this. you put it better than i could with 8 pages!


It seems this is what I'm doing, but not because I'm smart, only because I'm lazy.

ditto...

thing is though I don't enjoy practice.....I enjoy having a routine and a structure though....
Kinda like walking so many miles each day to reach the top of everest.....its all about reaching the peak.
When I get to that point..then I can enjoy it....as I won't have to put so much concentration/struggling into it.

Edited by LDT, 21 April 2009 - 05:03 AM.


#33 David Levine

David Levine

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 997 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Co Clare, Ireland / Hopkinton, NH, USA

Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:39 AM

When I get to that point..then I can enjoy it....as I won't have to put so much concentration/struggling into it.


But you never get "to that point." The music in your head is always better than the music your fingers make. You're always trying for that last little bit, that ornament, that new tune, a different key. Some things get easier, sure. But if you don't enjoy it now what makes you think you'll enjoy and delight in it when you get "there," when the "there" is always just a bit farther away than you thought?

There isn't any "there." This, now, is all you have. If it's torture to practice or if you don't enjoy it and find yourself whining about it and not looking forward to practice, then my advice would be to find another instrument or to forget the whole thing. It shouldn't be work (though it can be purposeful). Your attitude should not be "Oh no, I still have to practice today," but rather, "Great. I have some time and I can play for a while."

#34 Simon H

Simon H

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 267 posts

Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:38 AM

When I get to that point..then I can enjoy it....as I won't have to put so much concentration/struggling into it.



There isn't any "there." This, now, is all you have. If it's torture to practice or if you don't enjoy it and find yourself whining about it and not looking forward to practice, then my advice would be to find another instrument or to forget the whole thing. It shouldn't be work (though it can be purposeful). Your attitude should not be "Oh no, I still have to practice today," but rather, "Great. I have some time and I can play for a while."


This is true for all of life's journey, whether it is"I'll be so happy when the mortgage is paid off" or "once I can play really well, I'll be happy." Life is about enjoying the journey not looking forwards to the destination. My parents tought me that, going on holiday, the whole family squashed in the car, heading for the seaside. We used to play games on the journey, I-spy and so forth. we enjoyed the journey, the holiday began the moment we left our driveway.

I feel bereft if I can't play my concertina even if I miss a day. It isn't about how hard and difficult it is and how understanding theory is so complex. Its about how challenging it is, how exciting it is to master a difficult tune, or even a phrase, and how interesting music theory can be (though my rose coloured specs might be distorting things a little - music theory has to be paced with the practical learning otherwise it can be very difficult.)
Simon

#35 frogspawn

frogspawn

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 238 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:south-east England

Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:45 AM

This is all down to the dark depths of personal psychology and motivation and I think it's difficult to control consciously/rationally. It's also a very personal thing and I reckon it has more to do with the person than with the instrument or even with music in general.

Maintaining motivation has been a problem area for me since I accumulated my first musical instrument about 40 years ago. I love music. I crave it. I would love to be good at it. But practising in isolation can be boring, frustrating and discouraging. The prospect of the end result (which in my case is the ability to play with others in the folk scene) has made me pursue the concertina more than I have previously pursued any other instrument. This is all down to the fact that, for the last few years, I have been involved in that scene with the prospect of weekly activities in a social environment. This isn't down to the concertina. I'm basically an unaccompanied singer. If I didn't have that involvement I probably wouldn't have the same incentive to practice. I'm pretty sure that 'socialisation' is key, at least in my case. This doesn't mean to say that I'd be happy in 'any' social environment. I've percolated to the one that suits my 'soul'.

When it comes to practising I have very mixed experiences. Sometimes I really enjoy the tactile/aural sensation, almost hedonistically. At other times I am driven by a self-imposed ratchet whereby I just put in the effort to maintain my weekly average of time spent, and that's more compulsion than joy. Ideally I would always enjoy practising, but that is something that either happens or doesn't. You can't decide to enjoy something.

Richard

#36 LDT

LDT

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1435 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK, Essex

Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:49 AM

But you never get "to that point." The music in your head is always better than the music your fingers make. You're always trying for that last little bit, that ornament, that new tune, a different key. Some things get easier, sure. But if you don't enjoy it now what makes you think you'll enjoy and delight in it when you get "there," when the "there" is always just a bit farther away than you thought?

There isn't any "there." This, now, is all you have. If it's torture to practice or if you don't enjoy it and find yourself whining about it and not looking forward to practice, then my advice would be to find another instrument or to forget the whole thing. It shouldn't be work (though it can be purposeful). Your attitude should not be "Oh no, I still have to practice today," but rather, "Great. I have some time and I can play for a while."

I don't not look forward to practicing itself (even if it is a means to an end)...its just the aching muscles and the doorslamming/complaints I can't stand. When all I get is negativity I just get really disheartened. I don't think I've had one compliment since I started. :angry:
And its more like..I've got 30mins-1hr max to squeeze in as much practice as possible before everyone gets home and I get told to be quiet. I think that's why I'm prefering melodeon...I can play quietly and don't get the backache.

We used to play games on the journey, I-spy and so forth. we enjoyed the journey, the holiday began the moment we left our driveway.

I tend to sit bolt upright and stare straight ahead so I don't get travelsick (I find if I look out the side windows it doesnt help).
Sorry going off topic there. :unsure:

I don't find breathing fun...but I'm not gonna just stop because its not 'fun'. ;) Why must things be fun in order to do them? I don't like being in social situations but I have to face that dislike in order to go to workshops etc.

As you can can see I'm ever so slightly...mental :P

Edited by LDT, 21 April 2009 - 08:39 AM.




Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users