\"\"
Piano Forum logo

How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice (Read 1223 times)

Offline benjdod

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 8
How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
« on: February 20, 2016, 08:10:04 PM »
I started official lessons 1 1/2 years ago and I'm currently trying to improve my practicing routine.  About a month ago I realized that there was more to piano than good technique and playing the songs pretty.  That realization was good, but my practice has slowed significantly because now my eyes have been opened to many more things I can do to improve, so my mind is basically overloaded.  I've noticed in particular that I can't focus on one aspect of the piece (e.g. slow down a bit here, more detached there, sense of breath in the phrase), and if I do manage to do that, I can't retain anything I learn for much more than a few days.  Does anyone know how I could go about relating all the different aspects of my playing and practicing them and retaining them.  Any input would be appreciated!  :)

Offline marijn1999

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 170
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #1 on: February 21, 2016, 10:14:42 AM »
Hi there,

Since I'm not a hundred percent sure what your specific question is, let me ask you: What exactly is it that you want to know? Do you want to know purely about the mental aspects, or in combination with your physical practicing?

BW,
Marijn
Composing and revising old pieces.
---------------------------------------
Visit my YouTube channel! (https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCR0LNNGEPY002W1UXWkqtSw)

Offline jockey

  • PS Gold Member
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #2 on: February 21, 2016, 04:33:00 PM »
I don't know if you are working with a music  score, or trying to rely only on using your memory.

If using a music score, it may be helpful to write notes to yourself above the score where there are specific areas you need to remember to work on, it would be very  difficult to remember every thing all at once that you need to do.

I use this method if I am inclined to repeat the same mistakes over again! and it makes me pay closer attention to what I am practicing!
 
Other than that, I would suggest  working at improving one specific skill at once, and gradually adding more of what you are wanting to achieve :)

Offline dcstudio

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2423
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 06:55:42 PM »

now my eyes have been opened to many more things I can do to improve,

, I can't retain anything I learn for much more than a few days.  Does anyone know how I could go about relating all the different aspects of my playing and practicing them and retaining them.  Any input would be appreciated!  :)

well for one thing you have only been at it 18 months or so.. you only have so much "music memory" file space on the hard drive.   When a blind person suddenly becomes sighted--which very rarely happens-- they have no visual memory file and they have to "learn" to see.  They really can't "see" at first even though their eyes work...because they don't know how to recognize anything.


this is the same kind of thing.   I didn't have the musical epiphany where everything came together like a bolt of lightning till I was at about 30 years old...when I started playing gigs.  

the longer you do this the easier it will get--(overall--lol--not day to day in a linear constant progression...)  and the more you can retain.


study your theory... it "factors" down everything into easy to understand terms and concepts--then it's waaaaay easier to remember  what you play.

Offline benjdod

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 8
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #4 on: February 22, 2016, 03:08:52 AM »
Thanks for all the input!
Here are a few things to clear up some of your questions.
marijn1999: I'd say it's actually both.  I'm wondering firstly how to organize my thoughts whilst practicing and secondly how to practice in such a way that progress is retained. 

I'm not having any problems with memorization and I have a strong ear

Online outin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 7846
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 04:53:08 AM »
I'd say everything you experience is completely normal.  You should accept that it is a somewhat slow development and be patient. You simply cannot ingrain  everything in a short time span. Even when something is learned once, it isn't permanent yet, you need to get back to it a few times. The thing with piano is that when you constantly develope your skills and understanding of music, things become more complicated instead of simpler. You see/hear more fine details to work on, so learning something once isn't enough and things just keep changing. The feeling of the mind being overload is often there. When it becomes overwhelming, just take one thing (hand, measure, phrase, piece...) at a time and patiently open the knots while regularly returning to the things you thought you already "got".  The most important thing is to not let the frustration of working hard and still regularly losing the fruits of the work get to you, which can be pretty hard sometimes...

Offline dcstudio

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2423
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #6 on: February 22, 2016, 06:22:30 AM »


I'm not having any problems with memorization and I have a strong ear

you said that you can't retain anything you learn for more than a few days...  but you have no problem with memorization... that doesn't make sense.


I am referring to more than memorization...  patterns on the page and on the piano become very familiar with time.  You learn to recognize chords and phrases instead of reading note to note.  You also begin to realize that there is a sameness to all music... and you recognize musical elements you have previously played in other pieces.   This "factors" down your music into more than a mass of notes on the page and makes it possible to learn new music very quickly.   

as for your  ear...I am not referring to playing by ear-- can you identify intervals and chords by hearing them?  can you listen to music and notate it without having to plunk about and figure it out on the piano?  if I played a chord... could you tell me if it's major--minor--augmented--diminished--dominant 7--major 7--etc?  would you know by listening and not seeing it written down if it's in root position or inverted?

a trained ear is VERY important...:)

Offline benjdod

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 8
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #7 on: February 27, 2016, 03:22:48 AM »
@dcstudio
I have no problem with learning the notes and chords on the page (although I have basically no theory training), but it's remembering the aspects of playing involved with expression that usually slip away

Offline dcstudio

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2423
Re: How to Organize the Mental Aspects of Practice
«Reply #8 on: February 27, 2016, 08:35:10 AM »
@dcstudio
I have no problem with learning the notes and chords on the page (although I have basically no theory training), but it's remembering the aspects of playing involved with expression that usually slip away

what aspects exactly?  are you saying that you forget where the accent and staccato markings are or do you forget how to achieve these sounds, do you forget what the piece should sound like? 

I am not sure I understand what you mean by that.   You can still play it... it's just dull and monotonous? do you forget the rhythm?   if you have no training are you sure you understand these aspects correctly?