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What's the worst practice habit you can have? (Read 1047 times)

Offline lelle

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What's the worst practice habit you can have?
« on: September 30, 2021, 04:13:27 PM »
What is, in your opinion, the worst habit people tend to have when they practice? I'm not thinking about ridicolous things you can make up, such as repeatedly slamming your head into the fallboard while practicing Bach inventions or whatever, but real things you have seen in the real world that you think are the most detrimental to enjoyment and progress. I'm notoriously bad at structuring my practicing for efficient progress so I got nothin', but I'm curious to hear your thoughts!

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: What's worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #1 on: September 30, 2021, 04:20:34 PM »
not varying touch and tone when practicing certain passages

Offline brogers70

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Re: What's worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #2 on: September 30, 2021, 04:51:21 PM »
Turning off the brain and repeating the same thing over and over hoping it will get better just because you're spending time on it.

Offline scientistplayspiano

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Re: What's worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #3 on: September 30, 2021, 05:44:06 PM »
play too fast.

Offline nightwindsonata

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #4 on: September 30, 2021, 06:58:25 PM »
Here's one: Focusing on perfection instead of excellence. What does this look like? Hammering away at a difficult passage for hours on end, making no progress, and possibly even building worse habits while doing so. It is much better for work on it for a limited amount of time, accept the work as good enough for the moment, and return to it later. I once spent ten hours learning the Scriabin D-sharp minor Etude for a jury; I could not for the life of me memorize those LH leaps in the first section. I didn't really heed this maxim, and the end result was pretty poor. Later, I did eventually pull the piece off, but only after having the presence of mind to step back and let it sit for a little while.

Another one: practicing emotionally. I love beautiful music, I love playing it, and I love to be swept up in it. However, while one should enjoy one's practice, too often in high school I would just play through a piece over and over again, trying to mine that rush of adrenaline that came from playing an intense passage or a beautiful melody, at the expense of details like clean fingerwork and pedaling. So in the end, a little bit of emotional distance is required to keep a straight head and view one's work objectively, ruthlessly addressing problems rather than just accepting them and moving on, over and over and over again.
Program:
Scriabin Etude Op. 8 No. 12
Bach Prelude and Fugue in A flat, WTC 1
Beethoven Sonata Op. 31 No. 3 "The Hunt"
Brahms Op. 119
Florence Price Clouds
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5

Offline dogperson

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #5 on: September 30, 2021, 09:20:49 PM »
Not critically listening (I.e., not focused) when you practice

Offline quantum

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #6 on: October 01, 2021, 04:46:36 AM »
Mindless repetition. 

Practising with the aim of forming a singular inflexible approach or interpretation to the music. Music has the possibility of being different in both our perception and delivery of it each time we play.  So why restrict oneself to delivering a given piece the same way every time one plays it.

Practising "properly" - a phrase often uttered by parents to their children.  It sometimes follows a child exploring the instrument with palm clusters or noodling improvisation.  A child should be free to make weird sounds at the instrument.  We don't need yet another classically trained child suppressed from developing improvisation skills.


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 ted

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #7 on: October 01, 2021, 05:17:50 AM »
...We don't need yet another classically trained child suppressed from developing improvisation skills.


No, we certainly do not. I consider the drive to create an intrinsic part of what it is to be human. Creation is the rightful function of everybody and is the ultimate end of all art and science. It is independent of knowledge and ability and is not to be confined to a select few or subject to permission or indulgence of traditions or institutions.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #8 on: October 01, 2021, 06:20:50 AM »
Getting inspired by lots of recordings of virtuosic music and then deciding the only inpirational path to take is to work on difficult pieces. Thinking less of much easier works and not finding the beautiful music that exists in simplicity.
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Offline dogperson

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #9 on: October 01, 2021, 06:26:55 AM »
Mindless repetition. 

Practising with the aim of forming a singular inflexible approach or interpretation to the music. Music has the possibility of being different in both our perception and delivery of it each time we play.  So why restrict oneself to delivering a given piece the same way every time one plays it.

Practising "properly" - a phrase often uttered by parents to their children.  It sometimes follows a child exploring the instrument with palm clusters or noodling improvisation.  A child should be free to make weird sounds at the instrument.  We don't need yet another classically trained child suppressed from developing improvisation skills.


Improvisation needs to be actively encouraged, rather than just not suppressed.  As a child student, I noodled around on the piano s lot—just to hear how the music would progress.  I doubt if my parents knew or cared, and I never mentioned it to my teacher.

Then, at some point, I felt guilty that my parents were paying for lessons, and I was wasting their money— so I stopped the exploring .  It’s regrettable to me that my teacher did not discuss and actively encourage the noodling ; I would have then felt that I had permission and therefore no guilt.

Offline dogperson

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #10 on: October 01, 2021, 06:35:43 AM »
Getting inspired by lots of recordings of virtuosic music and then deciding the only inpirational path to take is to work on difficult pieces. Thinking less of much easier works and not finding the beautiful music that exists in simplicity.


…. Resulting in a difficult piece being played poorly and missing out on playing a less difficult piece ‘beautifully’.  I don’t think this comes from just listening to difficult music, but the widespread obsession of wanting to say ‘I play XX grade of music’.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #11 on: October 01, 2021, 06:48:23 AM »
Yeah I guess my definition of "virtuosic" is music that people think is really difficult and/or impressive :P But yes, doing this kind of thing really is filled with poison which kills so many aspiring musicians and is an assassin of youth! lol.
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Offline lelle

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #12 on: October 01, 2021, 11:19:33 PM »
Lot's of interesting replies so far, thanks for your input! I'll read them through again tomorrow and maybe get back to some of you with follow up questions.

doing this kind of thing really is filled with poison which kills so many aspiring musicians and is an assassin of youth!

Can you expand on that last part? :D

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #13 on: October 02, 2021, 12:46:31 AM »
The way in which it takes away ones innocence at the time where they should be having a simple relationship with music rather than something which is obsessive and unhealthy. Youth can be lost as the time slips away and energy is wasted chasing the wind. I've come across quite a few people who have poured in countless hours of study at the piano but what do they really have to show for it? All I see is time wasted, youth lost.
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Offline quantum

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #14 on: October 02, 2021, 07:49:52 PM »
Improvisation needs to be actively encouraged, rather than just not suppressed. 

Absolutely it should be encouraged!  Sadly many teachers training in the classical tradition do not deem it as something worthwhile, or degrade it as inferior to playing "masterworks."  Ironic, as many of these masterworks were created by master improvisers. 




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 j_tour

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #15 on: October 02, 2021, 08:39:02 PM »
Sadly many teachers training in the classical tradition do not deem it as something worthwhile, or degrade it as inferior to playing "masterworks."

I'm tending to be slightly more charitable to the less educated of professional musicians and teachers in the classical arena:  is it not equally likely, or moreso, that the teachers simply don't know how to improvise?  Whether by inclination or by training?

Or perhaps they have this toxic attitude that "Well, Bach, Mozart, Liszt....they were cut from a different cloth, so we don't have this ability.  We can play the lights out of their notated pieces, though!  So we'll do that!"

A mercenary, « épater les bourgeois » sort of mediocrity.  No matter how astounding the results may be.

I do have this thought in my head that these abstractions, such as scales, and vanilla chord progressions or even simple cadences, don't make much sense unless one is using these as elements for making music, and not just copying off the score without much comprehension, both intellectually and musically.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ted

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #16 on: October 02, 2021, 10:48:21 PM »
I do have this thought in my head that these abstractions, such as scales, and vanilla chord progressions or even simple cadences, don't make much sense unless one is using these as elements for making music, and not just copying off the score without much comprehension, both intellectually and musically.

Of course, you have put your finger on the core issue, crudely that what can do the work of how and why. This fallacious assumption infects the whole of education and not just for music, that everything operates on a “more the merrier” basis; if one man can mow a lawn in half an hour, therefore a million men can mow it in a fraction of a second. if I memorised an extra few hundred voicings and increased the speed of my double notes the transporting power of my music would somehow intensify. Beyond a certain essential requirement things don’t quite work that way. At seventy-four I doubt I shall ever really know how they do work.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #17 on: October 02, 2021, 11:18:45 PM »
f I memorised an extra few hundred voicings and increased the speed of my double notes the transporting power of my music would somehow intensify. Beyond a certain essential requirement things don’t quite work that way.

I'm certain you're right.

However you, as a musician, do have a lifetime of experience and knowledge that not everybody has.  In addition to your remarkable ability as a musician at the keyboard.

For example, I need to practice daily working out abstract passages, whether scalar passages at the octave or various intervals.

Just to be able to have some of the sounds I desire, without thinking about it or dropping momentum.

I suppose it's a question of purposiveness (not a made up word!) and intent, however, as I think agrees with what you suggest.

There are various reasons one hammers on or stresses various little "tricks" or techniques.  But, one ideally would have some notion of what the goal is.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #18 on: October 03, 2021, 11:04:43 PM »
Practicing many times sloppily instead of just once but very carefully and mindfully.

Offline lelle

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #19 on: October 11, 2021, 09:04:48 PM »
The way in which it takes away ones innocence at the time where they should be having a simple relationship with music rather than something which is obsessive and unhealthy. Youth can be lost as the time slips away and energy is wasted chasing the wind. I've come across quite a few people who have poured in countless hours of study at the piano but what do they really have to show for it? All I see is time wasted, youth lost.

You mean when people play to prove something rather than because they enjoy it? So that the time is wasted because they worked a lot on something they didn't enjoy, but for other reasons?

Offline lelle

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #20 on: October 11, 2021, 09:07:42 PM »


…. Resulting in a difficult piece being played poorly and missing out on playing a less difficult piece ‘beautifully’.  I don’t think this comes from just listening to difficult music, but the widespread obsession of wanting to say ‘I play XX grade of music’.

I think it can be from just listening to/liking difficult music. I remember as a kid I wanted to play mostly difficult pieces because those were the ones that made me excited and sent my imagination racing. Simpler pieces felt boring to me so I didn't want to play them if I could avoid them.

Offline fftransform

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #21 on: October 11, 2021, 09:37:04 PM »
Worst habit is practicing too much on something you know is gonna give you strain.

Otherwise, if you have a good balance of basic tech/exercises/sight reading/pieces, then you're doing fine tbh.

One that I have is trying to get sections too perfect before learning other ones; makes my learning of difficult pieces way, way slower.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #22 on: October 12, 2021, 12:44:32 AM »
My worst habit is  looking  at my  iPad and watching  videos  whilst practicing, dividing my attention instead of  focusing on my  fingers and  the sound I am producing. As yoda would say, 'never his mind on where he was! what he was  doing!'
Funny? How? How am I funny?

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #23 on: October 12, 2021, 12:51:18 AM »
You mean when people play to prove something rather than because they enjoy it? So that the time is wasted because they worked a lot on something they didn't enjoy, but for other reasons?
How does one begin to enjoy music in a healthy manner? As listeners you can listen to whatever you like but as developing musicians you need to insulate yourself from major distractions. It's not about showing off it's about what actually excites you in music and that excitement should start in a simple realm. Today aspiring pianists can be trapped watching all sorts of impressive recordings and think less of smaller simple works.
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Offline jimroof

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #24 on: October 15, 2021, 01:31:15 AM »
Speaking from my OWN battle with bad habits...

Not being patient enough to trust the natural learning process when it comes to difficult passages.  I tend to push on these too hard and frequently end up having to sort of re-learn these sections with more disciplined practice. 

Also, failing to play musically even when forced to work at 50% of final tempo... or slower.  There have been a few times when this kind of disciplined musicality has unlocked little secrets that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Chopin Ballades
Chopin Scherzos 2 and 3
Mephisto Waltz 1
Beethoven Piano Concerto 3
Schumann Concerto Am
Ginastera Piano Sonata
L'isle Joyeuse
Feux d'Artifice
Prokofiev Sonata Dm

Offline anacrusis

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #25 on: October 16, 2021, 10:41:03 PM »

Not being patient enough to trust the natural learning process when it comes to difficult passages.  I tend to push on these too hard and frequently end up having to sort of re-learn these sections with more disciplined practice. 


Oohhhh this is relatable  ;D

Offline teresa_b

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #26 on: October 17, 2021, 01:09:13 AM »
This is an interesting thread. I've probably gone through most bad practice habits in my lifetime, but luckily they didn't all stick, lol! As for some of the worst, I would say repeating passages over and over without really listening is one; akin to that is repeating a mistake and not going back to fix it before it gets ingrained. Not analyzing technical issues to figure out what it is that makes it awkward or hard, but trying to force it.

Offline gipsypiano

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #27 on: December 03, 2021, 08:18:58 AM »
hello, i got better and better in piano playing without practicing by just stopping to imagine any mechanical stuff when I play.
Instead I imagine being water or fire or a crystal or air, storm, when I play.
I study a lot all aspects of these elements and then I
am like an actor who plays the role of fire or water or other when I play.
So I improve dramatically without practicing.
Being a lot in nature and doing lots of creative, smart work and als hard work with the hands, gives also another dimension to your playing.

The worsed thing to do is imagine mechanical stuff and to compare yourself to a machine
and not to do enough other creative, precise and also hard work with your hands.

good luck

Offline julytwenty

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #28 on: December 04, 2021, 09:09:32 PM »
Not sure if the following list is "bad" habits but here is the observation of my child. (my child is in grade school but plays harder pieces at the moment.)

From listening to my child's practices:
  • Suddenly start improvising music in the middle of practicing, which results in efficiency and effectiveness issue - 20% practice and 80% own music situation.
  • Once found a preferred recording online, start playing like the Youtube playing instead of following the score or teacher's suggestion. This has irritated teacher several times.
  • Rely on recording to find problem instead of listening while practicing (I get this is incredible challenging things to do and a time consuming process) but little kid has no patience for practicing repeatedly in a snail speed and drill several hours for the same phrase.
:)

Offline lelle

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #29 on: December 04, 2021, 11:27:34 PM »
Suddenly start improvising music in the middle of practicing, which results in efficiency and effectiveness issue - 20% practice and 80% own music situation.[/li][/list]

I think this actually sounds like a very good thing! It would be very unwise to try to stamp out this creative spirit. I would just let the kid continue doing that :)

Offline gipsypiano

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #30 on: Yesterday at 12:11:24 AM »
I think this actually sounds like a very good thing! It would be very unwise to try to stamp out this creative spirit. I would just let the kid continue doing that :)
yes creativity in music is infinitely more valuable and important than repeating the music of others, its even worse when those others dont even live any more and are no more than ghosts we worship again and again in this death worship culture. You cannot pay more importance to stuff from a dead one, from a ghost, than to creativity showing up and ready to be developpend in a living person especially in a young person which could and can still write better stuff than any dead composer which is really not that hard to achieve since any human being still living has infinite creative potential. Theres no limit to creativity in any young person, only in the capability of their teachers to help them get at least one finger in the eternal flow of illimited creativity running always right at our feet. In fact this is one of the easiest things to do- on the other hand its hard to stop and kill this creativity in any young person but our western systems of culture, media and education do a great job in killing creativity, no doubt about that. People dont even realize any more than any living young person can do better than any beethoven if one just lets them and helps them a tiny little bit to get a finger in this river of paradise at their feet. After that getting both hands into it as well is not such a long way to go.
Did you already realize that books of most dead writers are dead as well but books from living people are still alive. Its a thing that works not only for music. There are very very rare exceptions to this and theyre no reason to place ghost worship over a living young. All dead people together are less improtant than one living young where everything is still possible. There no bad students only bad teachers unless you have a living dead as student but a really good teacher can fix even that, its what a teacher is there for otherwise young people in a healthy society need no teachers.
I had students in my life- not only in music but also in writing, painting and other stuff, who made more progress in some days or in some cases even hours than myself in douzands of years and thousands of hours of intensive learning. I had students which in that little time got a level of creative quality that was higher than many worshipped dead artists everybody knows.
So I perfectly know what is possible with a young person especially the ones nobody gives a chance.

good night.

Offline lelle

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Re: What's the worst practice habit you can have?
«Reply #31 on: Yesterday at 11:50:51 PM »
yes creativity in music is infinitely more valuable and important than repeating the music of others, its even worse when those others dont even live any more and are no more than ghosts we worship again and again in this death worship culture. You cannot pay more importance to stuff from a dead one, from a ghost, than to creativity showing up and ready to be developpend in a living person especially in a young person which could and can still write better stuff than any dead composer which is really not that hard to achieve since any human being still living has infinite creative potential. Theres no limit to creativity in any young person, only in the capability of their teachers to help them get at least one finger in the eternal flow of illimited creativity running always right at our feet. In fact this is one of the easiest things to do- on the other hand its hard to stop and kill this creativity in any young person but our western systems of culture, media and education do a great job in killing creativity, no doubt about that. People dont even realize any more than any living young person can do better than any beethoven if one just lets them and helps them a tiny little bit to get a finger in this river of paradise at their feet. After that getting both hands into it as well is not such a long way to go.
Did you already realize that books of most dead writers are dead as well but books from living people are still alive. Its a thing that works not only for music. There are very very rare exceptions to this and theyre no reason to place ghost worship over a living young. All dead people together are less improtant than one living young where everything is still possible. There no bad students only bad teachers unless you have a living dead as student but a really good teacher can fix even that, its what a teacher is there for otherwise young people in a healthy society need no teachers.
I had students in my life- not only in music but also in writing, painting and other stuff, who made more progress in some days or in some cases even hours than myself in douzands of years and thousands of hours of intensive learning. I had students which in that little time got a level of creative quality that was higher than many worshipped dead artists everybody knows.
So I perfectly know what is possible with a young person especially the ones nobody gives a chance.

good night.

I think I see your point, but I also have to say... what made me get enchanted by the piano, to fall in love with the instrument some 20 years ago, was in fact a number of recordings of, some alive, but mostly dead men and women playing music written by other dead men. I remember hearing the third movement of the Moonlight sonata being played by Backhaus sometime when I was 9-10, and I loved it. I wanted to be able to produce those sounds myself, with my own hands. Some 20 years later I've become able to play a lot of the stuff that got me interested - though I still need to become more skilled to be able to play everything the way I hear it in my head!