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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Force yourself to practice or wait until you feel like it


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/55004

old cowboy - Posted - 03/29/2021:  14:34:24


Is it best to force yourself to practice everyday or wait until you feel like it? I find if I wait until I feel like I do so much better! If I make myself I do not much enjoy it and cannot wait for it to be over with. Yet I feel guilty if I do not do it!


Edited by - old cowboy on 03/30/2021 12:13:33

farmerjones - Posted - 03/29/2021:  14:52:13


I dunno but it seems like, I wouldn't say better fiddlers but most fiddlers start out sort of obsessed. IOW, it's hard to not practice. Have you ever heard, "many a crop has been lost for fooling around with a fiddle."
I probably skipped 5 days in the first 5 years of fiddling. I was scared I'd backslide. Not a real fear, but a fear just the same. I never said I was brite.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 03/29/2021:  15:02:17


Practice should always be at least "informative" even if it's not "fun" nowadays i just noodle myself into "practice mode" and find something to "practice" along the way....Come to think of it i probably always have done it that way. Then it just takes over and i'm "practicing" something or other. As long as i'm playing i'm learning.

boxbow - Posted - 03/29/2021:  15:32:09


I fiddle a couple days out of the week. That's it. It's pretty casual, purely for my fun and enjoyment. When I wanted to get a lot better, I simply had to fiddle a lot more. I'm able now to have a lot of fun at my present skill level and that's exactly what I do. It's the playing out that's the best, anyway.

Swing - Posted - 03/29/2021:  15:39:34


I look forward to playing everyday and feel amiss should I get out of my routine... I can carelessly waste two hours playing, but during that time I work on a new tune or three.... revive older tunes, and dream of when I can get together again with my fiddling friends...

Play Happy

Swing

DougBrock - Posted - 03/29/2021:  19:40:15


I can see that playing when you don’t feel like it might not result in the most profitable practice session! A good break, a day off, could let your brain recharge. (I’m new enough to fiddle (four months) that I don’t want to miss a day! :) )

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 03/29/2021:  21:49:46


I'm totally obsessed with music but I admit I'm an equal opportunity nutcase. Fiddle? Piano? Guitar? Stereo? Ah, it's great to be retired. At this particular moment -- Tony Bennett live at Carnegie Hall in 1962. Merci beaucoup Monsieur Qobuz!

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 03/29/2021:  23:41:37


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

Is it best to force yourself to practice everyday or wait until you feel like it? I find if I wait until I feel like I do so much better! If I make myself I do not much enjoy it and cannot wait for it to be over with. Yet I feel guilty if I do not do it!






I think mindless practice is not very helpful, but I do believe that it's important to maintain a regular practice schedule if you want to make real progress. Building up technique is crucial, but so is maintaining what you have already accomplished.



A good athlete has to train daily, not just to improve, but to stay at a high level. Sometimes small breaks are needed to keep from overworking the body or burning out, but they're carefully planned to maximize performance.



Jascha Heifetz used to say "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it." As a child prodigy he stunned the world. As he got a little older he began to rest in his laurels and spent a lot of time partying and driving race cars instead of practicing. Eventually, he gave a performance that received an unfavorable review from an important critic. That review shook him to his core and caused him to commit to an unyielding practice regimen that he followed for the rest of his life. He quickly regained his acclaim and went on to be regarded as the greatest violinist in history.

fiddlerjoebob - Posted - 03/30/2021:  06:45:04


I don't know about systematic practice sessions but, I learn something new every time I play, and that's a good thing too. I'm happy to be better than I was yesterday...and there have been a lot of yesterdays.

ChickenMan - Posted - 03/30/2021:  12:46:06


What a cush job, being a music critic - making and breaking careers based on your opinion.

Brian Wood - Posted - 03/30/2021:  15:06:56


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

What a cush job, being a music critic - making and breaking careers based on your opinion.






What?



Anyway, I of the opinion that it's better to have a regular practice schedule and stick to it. Even when I'm on a plateau it's better I put in practice time than not. At least I'm treading water that way. I don't always practice what I preach though.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 03/30/2021:  20:34:40


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

What a cush job, being a music critic - making and breaking careers based on your opinion.






That's an awfully glib way to look at it. 

 



My father has been a professional music critic for decades. Many great players have said his opinion is worth more than that of any other critic. He has interviewed just about every top level violinist in the last 30 years or so and his comments have frequently been used by artists in their promotional material or liner notes.  Yet I would hardly call it a "cush job." It did give my father the chance to meet some of the great players and it allowed him to make use of his gift for writing and his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of violin playing, but it was never really a position of power.



In some ways, it might be nice to think that a critic's opinion could shape the success of a career, and there are certainly stories of critics having an impact, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that they have any control over players' careers. My father had a strict rule that he would never pan an artist in his reviews. Those that knew him and followed his reviews came to understand that if he wasn't sold on a player, he'd just focus on technical details of the recording. I don't know anyone else who did that, and it didn't seem to have a huge impact on players' careers if other reviewers were harsh or cruel; rather it was a personal ethical decision my father chose to make.



A long time ago, the views of critics carried some weight because the public didn't have the chance to hear players easily in a pre-recording era. Yet, many great players had successful careers in spite of bad reviews (Paganini and Sarasate come to mind immediately).

 



At least in the last 50 years or so, good critics have become a source of information for collectors more than the general audience. Collectors want to know if a particular recording offers something unique or significant that belongs in a carefully curated collection. The general listening audience only pays attention to the puff pieces that are printed in more trendy publications, and those almost never provide any insight into the players' abilities.



The Heifetz story is a great one because it shows that Heifetz paid careful attention to the opinions of knowledgeable listeners and used them as an impetus to better himself. The story isn't that a few critics almost ended his career, but rather that he chose to make use of some constructive criticism to better himself. I doubt that his career would have ended had he continued with his indulgences, but it might perhaps not have been so spectacular. 


Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 03/30/2021 20:38:06

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 03/31/2021:  04:49:42


Well ... Mindless noodling can lead to the "fun" needed to get warmed up and enjoy a regulated practice session. But in truth I have found that there are days when my fiddle just doesn't want to play / work with me. As a guitar and mandolinist I have other avenues when this happens, I have addressed this question to professional fiddlers. All have agreed that they to have "those" days. The advice I have been given is to go back to the basics with scales and the mechanics of playing. Getting warmed up and going through "the motions" keeps the muscle memory intact and ear attuned. Lastly I have always heard the the fiddle is a jealous mistress. So even a short practice session is a helpful. Play On!

old cowboy - Posted - 03/31/2021:  05:11:39


Good advice usually pickin! That is exactly where I am at now, kinda plateaued. Not sure where to go from here. Been having a hard time trying to use double stops. Doing ok on the lower strings but having a hard time reaching the G and D. Fingers just too old and stiff! Been doing just what you suggested, going back to the basics and trying to just relax and enjoy what little I do know!

ChickenMan - Posted - 03/31/2021:  05:52:35


Glib, indeed.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 03/31/2021:  11:56:31


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

...That is exactly where I am at now, kinda plateaued. Not sure where to go from here... Been doing just what you suggested, going back to the basics and trying to just relax and enjoy what little I do know!






I know what you mean. That feeling of being stuck in a rut is hard to overcome sometimes.



Here's something to think about as encouragement, though: understanding doesn't always progress at a constant pace. Some things take some processing before results are apparent. That's why it's good to keep practicing--even if you're not sure anything is happening, something is going on at a subconscious level. Learning is a constant process, and it happens on multiple levels. Don't let frustration undo your progress.

old cowboy - Posted - 03/31/2021:  12:06:54


Thanks all! You're a great bunch of guys!

Earworm - Posted - 04/01/2021:  06:52:03


Goals in practicing will change. Over time what you "get" from practicing changes because what you need changes.  Waiting to feel inspired sounds romantic and artsy and all that, but it won't work. Inspiration follows action, not the other way around. 



If you need to "force" your practice to keep it regular, that's probably fine in the beginning, but the heart of discipline is self discipline. When it just become part of your routine, your meditation, your safe space, the part of your day you actually need to function better, you'll be on a better track.



In addition to practicing bow in hand, I strongly believe that listening is practice, sometimes of equal or greater value than playing alone. I think both are necessary to informing your practice. Listening to recordings or other players, or just running tunes in your head can stimulate a different vein of questions than only practicing bow in hand. And if you miss a day, or even a few days, forgive yourself and move on. Life happens, and fiddling is fun.


Edited by - Earworm on 04/01/2021 07:05:38

bsed - Posted - 04/05/2021:  09:33:49


Play something every day! Very important! If you don't feel like doing exercises, just play something more fun.

DougBrock - Posted - 04/05/2021:  10:20:32


Even on busy days, I grab the violin for a few moments just to practice intonation. Are my first position third fingers right on (not usually, but getting better)? Are the first and second fingers good (nope. Worse than the third fingers, but all that more reason for repetition)? Just reinforcing that muscle memory. (I’m new enough to violin that my intonation needs all the time it can get!)

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/06/2021:  18:32:22


quote:

Originally posted by Earworm

Waiting to feel inspired sounds romantic and artsy and all that, but it won't work. Inspiration follows action, not the other way around.


 




Not sure what meant by won't work?



Inspiration first; to then drive action and to focus on more meaningful experiences -  works for some folks. Seems fairly common in the folk realm.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/06/2021 18:34:44

alaskafiddler - Posted - 04/06/2021:  20:02:49


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

Is it best to force yourself to practice everyday or wait until you feel like it? I find if I wait until I feel like I do so much better! If I make myself I do not much enjoy it and cannot wait for it to be over with. Yet I feel guilty if I do not do it!






What's "best", depends on individual, personality and goals.



Some comments seem to refer to perspective and goals of more formal/classic education pedagogy focus on regimented structured routine and discipline. Often involves more technical or rote based training exercises, and objective metrics. Might be best for some. And for those whose view of music or goal is as mentioned, akin being a completive athlete... perhaps might be important.



But that isn't requirement, nor good match for everyone... might even be counterproductive. Many have found alternative paths. For example some have more folk or Zen thing philosophy, approach... which includes there are many paths, finding your path and pace; and goal. Quote from Robert Pirsig:



Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down...



As well many include different perspective and goals; of being engaged experience in the process; focus on moment, rather than future goal; the journey not the destination.



...when you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an an end but a unique event in itself.



With that philosophy, goals, or approach, everyday is probably less significant than having meaningful experience of the moment. Less likely to feel dread, for to be over with; or guilt.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 04/06/2021 20:18:03

Earworm - Posted - 04/07/2021:  06:37:03


quote:

Originally posted by alaskafiddler

quote:

Originally posted by Earworm

Waiting to feel inspired sounds romantic and artsy and all that, but it won't work. Inspiration follows action, not the other way around.


 




Not sure what meant by won't work?



Inspiration first; to then drive action and to focus on more meaningful experiences -  works for some folks. Seems fairly common in the folk realm.






Well, anyone is welcome to do what works for them. I promise you though, I did not make this up. I have learned the "inspiration follows action" concept in a variety of artistic, educational and businesses contexts. I don't always follow it, LOL, but I do believe it is best practice. Without a good habit to sustain you, inspiration is fickle and fleeting. Awesome, yes, but unpredictable.



Especially since this is a hobby for most of us, our needs will vary wildly. I'll just throw that out there, since I think that happiness should also be a goal.


Edited by - Earworm on 04/07/2021 06:47:18

BetteB - Posted - 04/11/2021:  18:19:58


Any kind of practice is likely profitable if it is conscientious. If you don't feel much like practicing, just pick one thing - a phrase, a note, hand-pick the notes instead of bowing. Or just listen to others playing a tune. There are different ways to practice. Your brain doesn't know the difference between your visualizing playing or real playing - which works as long as you already play to the level you are visualizing.
I practice more when I'm about to go to a jam, a fiddler's convention, or play in church, etc.

marcusb - Posted - 04/16/2021:  19:45:41


If you have to force yourself whats the point of it?

phiddlepicker - Posted - 04/18/2021:  08:01:38


I would say as long as you're progressing, it doesn't matter. However, if your days of non-practice are many and your skills diminish or stagnate you need to show more discipline. Alternatively, you can hire a retired drill sergeant as a personal motivator.

ChickenMan - Posted - 04/18/2021:  18:07:40


Play your fiddle while you wait until you feel like forcing yourself to practice.

Humbled by this instrument - Posted - 04/19/2021:  20:13:59


The latter...or maybe the former? Which option did you put first? I'd go with that one after you've mulled over and followed through with the other option prior to doing all that was needed with the first one.

jacroom - Posted - 05/02/2021:  16:08:40


Ifin I miss a day of playing, I'm not going to sweat it but I don't miss many.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 05/18/2021:  07:34:09


When I practice, I never know what will happen. Some days I don't feel like practicing, but after I "get going" things work out fine. The opposite also happens. I start out enthused but start losing interest.

I do divide my practice into several categories. I have new tunes, new techniques, giving tunes in my active playing repertoire playing time and more. I make sure I start out each session playing about 20 waltzes one time each. Playing waltzes helps me bow the way I should.

I also play guitar and banjo. The other day I created a computer folder with the fiddle tunes I play on guitar and/or banjo. I plan on regularly playing them on the fiddle. And, any new fiddle tune I might play on guitar or banjo will be initially learned on the fiddle. Learning a tune on the fiddle seems to enable me to memorize the melody better. And, memorizing the melody should be done before a person start learning to play a tune. How can a person play something they don't know ?

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