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Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano? (Read 3234 times)

Offline rovis77

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Hi, I noticed that after some days of resting my pieces they get better and more consistent, I read that resting helps unlearning mistakes, why is this?

Offline tenk

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 10:10:02 PM »
Fellow members, read https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=64503.msg683846#msg683846 before spending any time responding.

Offline louispodesta

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 12:19:21 AM »
Fellow members, read https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=64503.msg683846#msg683846 before spending any time responding.

Thank you for your reference to this particular link.

On point, my Spouse (who is a Tax Lawyer) taught me long ago that there is a world of difference between "Simple" and "Simplistic."

In this case, the OP's question is just that:  "Simplistic"

If mastering the playing of this great instrument was merely a methodology of practice and then an associated period of rest, then none of us would be posting here.   We would be somewhere "resting," in order to improve our technique.

Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 01:44:42 AM »
Thank you for your reference to this particular link.

On point, my Spouse (who is a Tax Lawyer) taught me long ago that there is a world of difference between "Simple" and "Simplistic."

In this case, the OP's question is just that:  "Simplistic"

If mastering the playing of this great instrument was merely a methodology of practice and then an associated period of rest, then none of us would be posting here.   We would be somewhere "resting," in order to improve our technique.

That kind of seems like a fallacy to me, Mr. Podesta...you are ignoring the possibility of diminishing returns of said "resting." It is not necessarily always the case that resting improves playing, but it seems to me like the OP is instead wondering if there are appropriate moments where "resting" can improve one's playing, and in that case, my personal answer would be yes; at times, the brain is overloaded, and needs time to digest the practice it seems like. Of course, I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but in my experience it seems to have worked.

For instance, I might make the fallacious claim that "practice always makes you improve," and then in that case, the optimal strategy to improve would be to practice 24 hours a day, not doing anything else. But that cannot be the case, because I would die from thirst before that ever happened.

And perhaps one form of "rest" is browsing these forums - and if browsing these forums leads one to information that corrects some shortcoming of one's playing, I would believe that said browsing was more efficient than simply resting, would you not agree?
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Online ranjit

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 06:49:36 AM »
It is rather well established that sleep consolidates memory.
http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory

So, it makes sense that after a couple of days of rest, mistakes during performance would be reduced.
imho, a careful balance of work and rest is what cuts it.

Offline visitor

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #5 on: December 20, 2017, 01:17:00 PM »
yes, all things being equal, someone with proper experience and technique and ability base practicing properly and enough, will commit less errors if they rest/sleep enough vs if they attempt while sleep deprived/tired.

when practicing a lot, especially for juries i always got more mileage out of stopping earlier/sooner and not burning the other end of the candle going into a performance, only so much work can be done within a finite time, so before a performance, my practice actually tapers and i practice less and less in the couple days or so leading to performance, and day of performance very little, i focus on relaxation, hot tub, going for a walk, naps, more sleep, light exercise, etc. once refreshed I am better able to execute at the keyboard in performance and/or exam

Offline faa2010

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #6 on: December 24, 2017, 02:14:00 PM »
Hi, I noticed that after some days of resting my pieces they get better and more consistent, I read that resting helps unlearning mistakes, why is this?

This has happened to me too. There have been times when I couldn't play piano, due to illness, vacations, quality time with the family or the work. And then when I restart my piano lessons, miracles happen.

The mind can be tricky and misterious, but it can give us signs (which sometimes we push aside) that we need to rest and relax. However, let's not forget to make the balance between play and work.

Also there is the next tip: if you let rest a piece for a time, it can improve, like the wine when it is let age for a while.



Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 08:08:54 PM »
it is the well known PPI (post practice improvement).
In my experience, sometimes one or two days without piano may improve a piece...

Offline massimo73

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 11:52:50 PM »
In my own experience either resting or focusing for a couple of days on different pieces works also very fine. And this does not only apply to piano but mental tasks in general.

I think the reasons why this works are:
1) your mind keeps processing in background a few days after you stop practicing that piece, especially in your sleep.
2) you step back from details, allow yourself to forget them (such a bliss), and retain only the main structure of the piece, thereby forgetting the ingrained muscle memory errors.
3) when you come back to it you have to re-learn the forgotten parts with a more critical eye, reinforcing the neural connections (you therefore start memorizing it one way or the other).

Also in the long run you start learning to know yourself, i.e. how your own music learning works, e.g. which phrases are really understood and internalized and are ready for expressive playing, and which still need much work ahead.

Offline fftransform

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #9 on: January 22, 2018, 01:42:01 AM »
The heuristic idea behind this is false.  Piano playing is not physiologically natural.  The idea that you will 'forget' your mistakes and, as if by accident, suddenly replace them with natural (and correct) movement is just something to tell yourself if you get lazy for a few days.

Extended breaks will reduce finger strength, which ofc is the foundation of serious technique.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #10 on: January 22, 2018, 02:25:19 PM »
The heuristic idea behind this is false.  Piano playing is not physiologically natural.  The idea that you will 'forget' your mistakes and, as if by accident, suddenly replace them with natural (and correct) movement is just something to tell yourself if you get lazy for a few days.

Extended breaks will reduce finger strength, which ofc is the foundation of serious technique.

For me, I don't think that the mistakes I make are due to weakness of the fingers. Mostly they are due to lapses in concentration, mental and physical tension, loss of focus on a passage because I've played it routinely over and over. And I do find that taking off a day from practicing every couple of weeks, or putting aside a particular piece for a few days or sometimes longer, will reduce the mistakes.

Offline outin

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #11 on: January 27, 2018, 02:56:32 PM »
Extended breaks will reduce finger strength, which ofc is the foundation of serious technique.
Serious technique maybe, but fluent technique??

Offline keypeg

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #12 on: January 27, 2018, 06:21:09 PM »
Extended breaks will reduce finger strength, which ofc is the foundation of serious technique.
"Finger" strength?

Offline mjames

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #13 on: January 27, 2018, 06:25:17 PM »

Extended breaks will reduce finger strength, which ofc is the foundation of serious technique.

People here are talking about taking breaks from playing specific pieces (not piano in general) for a few days, weeks at most. Even if it was in general it takes years, decades even, for pianists to lose their dexterity; it really isn't a cause for concern if you're planning on resting for a few days.

Offline ted

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #14 on: January 28, 2018, 09:05:34 AM »
Speaking only for myself, the more regularly I work at my physical technique the stronger it gets. More than a day or two without my Virgil Practice Clavier sessions is inclined to make my fingers a bit weak.  It is certainly true that a rest can occasionally produce mental and musical insights, as opposed to physical, but for me the effect is not reliable enough to warrant planning days off.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline outin

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #15 on: January 28, 2018, 09:59:52 AM »
Speaking only for myself, the more regularly I work at my physical technique the stronger it gets. More than a day or two without my Virgil Practice Clavier sessions is inclined to make my fingers a bit weak.  It is certainly true that a rest can occasionally produce mental and musical insights, as opposed to physical, but for me the effect is not reliable enough to warrant planning days off.

First I assume that we are not talking about virtuoso pro playing but amateurs.

I am fairly certain that there are fundamental differences in how different people's mind and body work. Maybe differences on how one has built technique in the first place also make a difference. I haven't spend much time on straightforward physical exercise, my ability to produce the sounds I want is first and foremost a mentally learned and governed process. It does not require frequent repetition to be kept up once it has been internalized. One does get rusty of course, but not in a day or even a week. And it may get even better because there's less "clutter" in the process after a break.

My attempts to "strengthen" my fingers by exercising them caused more harm than good for my playing and now I just trust that they will be able to do what is needed as long as they are well instructed. Strangely after I had to give up daily practice and only practice 3-4 days a week the past year I feel much more physically secure at the piano on my lessons and get less feedback on tone production and technique. It may be the breaks are beneficial or just a co-incidence...

Offline ted

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #16 on: January 28, 2018, 10:27:03 AM »
Yes, youíre right there about individuality. My technique is entirely home grown because I was never taught any in the first place and I havenít had lessons for fifty years. I cannot complain because it has served my musical purpose admirably, but anything I say about it can probably be generalised only within severe limits. This is why I usually stick to posting improvisation here. One reason I train every day and keep fit is because recording improvising for an hour would otherwise drain me too much, and the same reasoning applies to technique.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Online j_tour

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #17 on: February 01, 2018, 06:44:35 AM »
Well, I don't want to get into the hornet nest of vituperative "debate," but I know for me that rest is working when I wake up in the morning with a detailed mental performance of a piece I haven't thought of in a week or however many days.

I don't know, I just trust if I'm doing the work most days, I have faith in my brain to do its share of the work. 

Faith in anything else?  Not so much.  But I trust myself and what emerges from a few days of "subconscious" cogitation -- if you can't trust yourself, let me put it this way, how are you going to trust yourself if you go on stage, maybe feeling under the weather, maybe your dog died, or something like that.
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Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Is it true that resting helps getting rid of mistakes at the piano?
«Reply #18 on: April 29, 2018, 05:23:13 PM »
I think that it is less resting, than being refreshed when you start the piece anew.

My mind begins to fatigue if I overwork a section.  I have to intentionally keep it fresh to really learn.  I try not to take a day off, but to take a section and play it differently:  staccato or forte or pianissimo so each time I'm "refreshing" it in my mind. 

Offline louispodesta

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I think that it is less resting, than being refreshed when you start the piece anew.

My mind begins to fatigue if I overwork a section.  I have to intentionally keep it fresh to really learn.  I try not to take a day off, but to take a section and play it differently:  staccato or forte or pianissimo so each time I'm "refreshing" it in my mind. 
Finally, someone with a "Brain!"  And, it should be added (Rachmaninoff):  played fast in clusters (with and without Arm Weight).

Offline keypeg

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Offline bernadette60614

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On perhaps too personal a note:

I think having a son with a learning disability has done a great deal to help me think about how learning takes place.

So, my admirable brain has been developed by having to think about a brain which struggles....

Offline keypeg

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Finally, someone with a "Brain!" 
There have been a number of well thought-out posts.  I agree that Bernadette's is one of them.  I disagree with this propensity to judge others, either positively or negatively.  By stating this "finally" it means that nothing anybody else wrote is of merit.  The atmosphere you are creating again and again is unpleasant, and there is no good reason to do so.

There are all kinds of reasons why a person may discover that after taking a break or resting, he or she plays with less errors.