Not stopping or hesitating after you make a mistake

  1. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    This is a big challenge for me. I have an almost irresistible urge to stop and go back, then I lose the timing. Anybody have any ideas on how to conquer this?

    take it easy,
  2. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Sue, the best cure for this is playing with other people, especially when there are enough of them so they just keep going even if you don't. Even one person, if they are bullheaded enough, can fill this need!

    When you are learning a tune, or polishing one, there's nothing wrong with stopping to fix a problem. Once you isolate the measure that's giving you a problem, besides working on that little bit also spend some time moving into and out of the passage—the measure before and the one after. Playing with a metronome can also help.
  3. HonketyHank
    I have the same problem and I strongly suspect Louise is correct. But I don't play in jams or in any kind of group setting -- partly out of laziness and partly because I am still having fun without doing jams. If I were younger, I think I would probably seek out groups to play with. But it really only affects me now once a month when I turn on the webcam for tune of the month. I do a lot of do-overs.

    One thing I have noticed is that my mistakes are getting better. You know, when you hit an obviously wronger'n wrong note, well that is a show stopper for me. But I find that sometimes now I am making less obvious klunkers now and some of those times I can keep going. One thing I do when I am practicing for the tune of the month is to force myself to play the tune, with a metronome or if I have tabs, with the midi playback in TablEdit, all the way through even with the klunkers. That helps me play the whole tune in fewer retakes when I do turn the camera on.

    I was looking at a mandolin here in the classifieds a couple years ago listed by a very talented semi-pro player. His group has several videos on youtube so I looked them up to get an idea of what the mandolin sounded like. He played the mandolin better than I ever will and the videos are great. But I noticed something -- every now and then while he was playing a break, he and the bass player would exchange glances and kinda raise an eyebrow. I am pretty sure he messed something up or did something unexpected. But you wouldn't know it. One key to that was that he never lost the beat.
  4. Gene Lewis
    Gene Lewis
    And I will be another to suggest playing with others! I have a couple of very patient friends that I play with occasionally, one in particular that is a much better player than myself and he has been a big help for me. He continues to play and I have worked on playing through those mistakes.

    One other thing I will add is playing along with backing tracks. They definitely don't stop unless you stop them! One in particular I have used is the mandolessons website. Baron does the back and forth play along track where he plays melody and you play rhythm and then switch it up. I find that playing melody at the same time he does helps me as much, especially if it is a tune that we play a little bit different as most fiddle tunes have many variations. I learned a little different version of "Whiskey Before Breakfast" than he has on his track so playing along with that forces me to concentrate more and when I make those mistakes I need to keep time or I really am done.

    I hope that makes sense? With all that said, I have been working on this stuff for several years! Sure wish I had started 20 years ago but having lots of fun with it now!
  5. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin
    If you are playing on your own it will not matter if you stop and go back. That is how you learn.
    It is when playing with others or to a backing track that you need to keep going at all costs. The only way to learn how is by practice and the mandolin Play-along series of books provide good training for this.
  6. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Thanks, folks, for the useful thoughts.

    Not that I'm not having alot of fun learning on my own - I am. I'd love to be able play with other people, though, and can even think of a couple that would be patient enough. But it's pretty much not in the cards until springtime, anyway. If we were able to have a big Thanksgiving with extended family this year, for instance, there are at least 4 other (better than me) musicians that might be there. Believe it or not, nobody has ever brought instruments to get-togethers before, but I would have been pushing to start a new tradition. Next year, perhaps.

    The problem isn't stopping and going back a measure, or going over a tricky phrase multiple times, though. I guess that's the first phase of practicing a tune.

    It's the "playing through" piece that's really hard. What I find myself doing (especially if I'm trying not to look at the mandolin) is missing a note, or even "tripping" over the wrong string, then "instinctively" (for want of a better word) replaying that one note vs. just carrying on. If I'm trying to play with a metronome or follow a backing track, this totally messes me up every time. I'd like to be able to resist the "redo" urge and just keep going, have a better mental discipline, in other words.

    I'm hearing that I just need to make this be a regular part of practice and be patient with myself. The second part isn't always easy.
  7. SOMorris
    Good luck, Sue. I have the same kind of problem. Then again, for me that is just one of many!
  8. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Yeah, me too. This is just the one that is front and center for me right now

    Hank, how do you "force yourself to play all the way through, even with the clunkers?" I find the mistakes seem to cascade after the first "redo" and that's all she wrote for that go-around.
  9. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Same problem here! On the rare occasion I can play with others, when I lose my place, I have trouble getting back in, especially on one of the few tunes I've memorized. I've started working on those 3 every day, hoping that will help. If I have the written music in front of me, it's easier.
  10. HonketyHank
    Sue, I learn the tunes in chunks or phrases, similar to how Baron Collins-Hill teaches in his videos. So if I am playing to a TablEdit midi track, I try to jump in at the next chunk (which usually arrives sooner than I am ready for it). I might mess that up too, but I keep trying to catch the next chunk. Playing to a metronome, I just try to get back on the tracks as soon as I can.

    I think it is important to stop and hammer away at a problematic phrase until you get it. But that is, to me, phase I of learning the tune. Putting it all together is phase II and that is where I try to not stop and repeat the phrase. It is kind of psychologically pleasing to stop, then play it right, then think "See, I can play that!". Leaving the flub uncorrected is difficult. But correcting it when you already know how to play it, just to prove to yourself that you can, is worse.

    On the other hand, since I don't play with others, I try not to obsess about it.
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