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Practice breaks (Read 413 times)

Offline determined2learn

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Practice breaks
« on: September 23, 2021, 10:21:30 PM »
Active students - do you take days off from practice? Advantages and disadvantages. How long does it take you to recouperate from a "fried brain"? On the day of your lesson do you practice before the lesson?

Offline ranjit

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #1 on: September 23, 2021, 10:31:30 PM »
Oh, I've often taken a couple of weeks off practice. If I'm going strong, I'll need about 1-2 days of rest every two weeks. Or, you could also just keep pushing, but you probably won't be able to keep that up for more than 2-3 weeks. However, I'm talking about practicing several hours a day, not just 30 minutes.

Offline determined2learn

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #2 on: September 23, 2021, 11:35:43 PM »
I looked at my journal today. I've played 25 days in a row. Most days I log between 90and 120 minutes. It's intense, in that I'm trying to improve. No "fun" pieces to play just because. That's not a complaint. Fun will come.


I feel mentally tired and it's starting to show in frustration, doubt and not looking forward to practice.


I want, likely need, to take a couple days off. It worked when I used to run, but that's more physical. I suppose learning piano has some similarities to physical training.


Thanks for the reply.




Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #3 on: September 24, 2021, 12:40:25 AM »
Each person should have a number of ways in which they practice/play the piano. It seems like you are practicing what you might not necessarily directly enjoy but sticking to it, that's a good attitude and will take you far. Piano study however is a long term relationship and you never will reach an ending, so what is the point running full sprint towards some goal since once you achieve it will merely shift further away from you once more.

I am wary with my students not to constantly add more and more work to their workload. Yes they get better and can manage more work but if you simply keep adding more and more eventually you will break the camels back! Normal study of the piano might become so mentally distrubing that you become rather disabled. So piano study should have periods of feeling very easy and relaxed, these are like an oasis for our mental and physical energy. We should take time to enjoy what we are doing and not pressure ourselves. Being in a relaxed state is paramount when practicing so you need to encourage to be in that state every time you sit down to do practice.

Take a day off from practicing and just play, there is no problems with that at all.
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Offline determined2learn

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #4 on: September 24, 2021, 11:38:40 AM »
The four pieces have been given to me by teacher.
You make a couple good points. Thank you.

Offline quantum

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #5 on: September 26, 2021, 07:15:38 PM »
Practice breaks were always a normal thing in my practice strategy.  I very rarely practised seven days a week as a child.  There was usually at least one day off, sometimes two or three per week, doing other activities. 

Even in my current practice schedule, there are always days dedicated to other activities where I do not practice.  I think it is important to allow the mind space to absorb all the information we feed it during our practice sessions.  The mind continues to practice and develop as we do other things. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline determined2learn

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #6 on: September 27, 2021, 07:02:20 PM »
Practice breaks were always a normal thing in my practice strategy.  I very rarely practised seven days a week as a child.  There was usually at least one day off, sometimes two or three per week, doing other activities. 

Even in my current practice schedule, there are always days dedicated to other activities where I do not practice.  I think it is important to allow the mind space to absorb all the information we feed it during our practice sessions.  The mind continues to practice and develop as we do other things.


Thanks. I believe this to be true.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #7 on: September 27, 2021, 08:40:35 PM »
Rest and relaxation is one of the most underrated accelerators of progress there is. So many people grind and overwork, thinking it will make them progress faster, but in reality, it can significantly slow you down.

Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #8 on: September 28, 2021, 02:42:52 AM »
Most students I come across don't do enough practice so we have to try and encourage them to get better at that. There are a few unusual students who work extremely hard and really do need to learn to calm down a little bit to allow ideas to absorb over time rather than brute force their way through the work. It can take some self realization as to how much your brain can manage, everyone does work in a different way but everyone has a point where you will get very limited returns for the effort you pour in. In any case, if you are a student who practices diligently then you should pat yourself on the back, you are an excellent student and any teacher would love to work with you.

When I practice the piano with my students I set them up in the correct direction for efficient practice, there is a cropping of thought, a planning, a setting up of a practice routine, all these processes I make them a part of. This all can be quite stressful when the student is alone, to ensure all the methods fall in line with what your teacher suggests. Because of this I suggest to my students to follow exactly how we practice in lessons but at the same time go ahead and practice in any way they want, explore the possibility or just do what feel best for you, even better create some kind of synergy between your own way and the teachers. So there are like two minds within practicing, the way you want to practice and a more conformed manner which uses practice tools and strategies your teacher has demonstrated to you that you might not be totally confident with but will get better at.

I barely can practice the piano if my life is hectic and chaotic, there's too many distracting thoughts to deal with. Also if my energy level is also very low I can't be expected to do any efficient study at all. Optimal piano study really requires that you feel like you are on a holiday, no worries in the world, all the time in the world to yourself.
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Offline quantum

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #9 on: September 28, 2021, 02:52:55 AM »
Optimal piano study really requires that you feel like you are on a holiday, no worries in the world, all the time in the world to yourself.

Agreed!  In a zone where one is free to be absorbed in the music. 


Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #10 on: September 28, 2021, 11:15:33 AM »
I barely can practice the piano if my life is hectic and chaotic, there's too many distracting thoughts to deal with. Also if my energy level is also very low I can't be expected to do any efficient study at all. Optimal piano study really requires that you feel like you are on a holiday, no worries in the world, all the time in the world to yourself.

I think that's one of the biggest issues with studying in music college. I don't think I ever felt like that playing the piano during my six years studying, but I certainly did before I went. I don't think I was alone in that. You're constantly under deadlines and trying to keep up. There was also additional pressure because we often had to play for our fellow students and we all felt like we were terrible when we did so.

Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #11 on: September 29, 2021, 03:04:50 AM »
I mean honestly it's all rather ridiculous. What is the point to train students at univeristy to work their butts off, no one is going to maintain that type of study for the rest of their lives unless they want to have an early heart attack or live a recluse life. Universities do not really teach how to play/practice the piano at all which I've always found real stupid. You just have to jump through lots of hoops, pass exams, complete assignments, is that music? I guess so in one way but in other ways it is far from it.

It would be good to see a univeristy teach practice advice, how to be a good piano teacher, how to set up successful concerts, how to learn the piano in a much more refined manner. I've never seen a university teach memorisation techniques of piano or how to get better at sight reading or practice methodolgy. You are expected to solve all this yourself and merely produce good works for them to mark. That in my mind is utter laziness of the music education around this world, they leave that training to other piano tutors or the students themselves to develop. It just makes me angry that I've had to teach university students while they are in their course, they need to hire a teacher to tutor them and help them keep up with their university requirement. Heck I should charge what the universities charge, let's ramp up the price of lessons to $500 a week and just give them work, give a bunch of word salad talks and then not help them with anything practical lol!
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Offline klavieronin

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #12 on: September 29, 2021, 06:17:57 AM »
I mean honestly it's all rather ridiculous. What is the point to train students at univeristy to work their butts off, no one is going to maintain that type of study for the rest of their lives unless they want to have an early heart attack or live a recluse life. Universities do not really teach how to play/practice the piano at all which I've always found real stupid. You just have to jump through lots of hoops, pass exams, complete assignments, is that music? I guess so in one way but in other ways it is far from it.

I definitely think I would be a better pianist today if I hadn't studied music at university, but one thing I did get was a much broader view of music. One lecturer even told us at the beginning not to expect to learn much while we were there but instead to keep our eyes open for things that interest us that we may want to pursue in more depth after we graduate.

Back to the OP, when I was practising a lot I always made sure to take one or two days off a week. Mind you, I was practising 4-6 hours a day the other six days so I guess I could afford the break (plus, I had to work to pay for lessons etc.)

Offline lelle

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Re: Practice breaks
«Reply #13 on: September 29, 2021, 09:32:16 PM »
I definitely think I would be a better pianist today if I hadn't studied music at university, but one thing I did get was a much broader view of music. One lecturer even told us at the beginning not to expect to learn much while we were there but instead to keep our eyes open for things that interest us that we may want to pursue in more depth after we graduate.

Wow that's pretty crazy if you think about it :O I think the biggest value of university is the opportunity to meet, hang out and play music with like minded individuals. Never before or after have I had easy access to as many people who I can play chamber music with.