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Yuja Wang at Verbier Festival 2013

In this 3 minute interview Yuja Wang tells us, among other things, the secret of her harmony between fingers and spirit. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Inconsistent performance during practice  (Read 602 times)
thomas82
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« on: July 25, 2017, 01:13:15 PM »

I have been practicing on a piece and play very well consistently in the morning without any error but when i come back after work and practice again.
i found myself not playing well again.

Why such inconsistency exists?
Does anyone of you experiencing the same thing?

Why i see people perform in public and church can play without error consistently during performance?
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nastassja
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 04:21:09 AM »

The same thing happens to me.
My teacher told me it is probably due to inconsistencies during practice (lack of errors does not mean that the piece is mastered). I feel like I know the piece, when it is not actually the case. For example, I can forget things during performance because I am focused on getting the piece "right" instead of meaningful. Tempo has to be accurate and sometimes I speed up before I am ready. Also, there are tiny mistakes in voicing or accuracy that can turn into worse mistakes overtime, but they were so small at the beginning that I did not notice them.  I started recording myself and now I see better what my teacher means. I guess it is a matter of knowing the piece inside out, truly controlling  the articulation/phrasing and knowing what you want to do with the piece beforehand.
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brogers70
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 12:04:33 PM »

Any kind of stress, performance anxiety, fatigue, distraction, whatever exposes weaknesses in one's technique. So you can look at the errors in the afternoon as diagnostic tests. What sorts of errors are they? What are you doing wrong? Tightening wrists? Immobile arms? When you make mistakes like that, in the afternoon, go back and figure out exactly what went wrong, what movements were different than in the morning.

I used to hate making mistakes, and I still do, but the mistakes you make when you are a little bit stressed (e.g. playing for your teacher, playing when a bit tired or worried) are clues to what's not solid in your general technique.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 01:50:50 PM »

I would be careful about diagnosis.

It is common to end a practice playing pretty well.

Then next practice you stumble at what you just thought you had mastered.

But what you didn't remember is how bad you played in the morning at first.
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Tim
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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 09:53:55 AM »

Same happens to me, it mainly depends on what is going through your mind especially when practicing after a working day. Your brain needs some time to adjust and elaborate what happened during the day and this distracts from the concentration you normally need for practicing.

In this case I use to fool around by just hitting melodies and chords after my mood. It takes may be 15 minutes, sometimes half an hour before I can start practicing. A short nap can help as well. The effect is very similar to post practice improvement (PPI). It gives your brain time to elaborate and recover.
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bernadette60614
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 06:53:10 PM »


I think if I can play half asleep on no coffee and play well, I have nailed the piece.

If I can wake up at 1 a.m., and play the piece well, I've nailed it.

If I can do neither, than I have to go back and work on sections where I stumble.  My test for finding those sections is to play at as fast a tempo as I can to see where breaks in my performance happen or where I lose control of my performance.

I'm not a professional, BTW.
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louispodesta
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 11:26:39 PM »

I have been practicing on a piece and play very well consistently in the morning without any error but when i come back after work and practice again.
i found myself not playing well again.

Why such inconsistency exists?
Does anyone of you experiencing the same thing?

Why i see people perform in public and church can play without error consistently during performance?
As a pianist/philosopher who deals with linear and circular causality, has anyone heard of a tape recorder or video recorder.

Accordingly in this particular case (in my opinion), one could possibly best be served by a mechanical "Show and Tell."

That means, utilizing these ultra modern technical devices (please don't use your "i phone"):  1) Relax, very relax, and then play your piece in the morning.  Stop and start, and whatever else you do.

2) Then, the next day (important) review your tape/video recording.  After that, please do not beat yourself up over this because:

3)  This is supposed to be a "learning" process because "it works."

All the best to the OP.
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