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Thread: Attention distribution while playing

  1. #1

    Default Attention distribution while playing

    while playing with a sound track, what percentage attention do you put on your playing sound, and how much on the sound track?
    thanks.

  2. #2
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    It depends for me. If I'm trying to learn a specific passage or melody I probably focus more on what I am playing. Likewise, if I am practicing to build "muscle memory" of notes, or listening critically to notes or phrases that I'm playing so I can find ways to improve technique, I probably focus more on what I'm playing and use a backing track for a similar purpose as a metronome.

    If I'm practicing on listening to "other players" and adjusting my playing to blend with them, then I'll pay a whole lot of attention to the backing track.

    And etc. ... so it really depends on what goal I'm going for when I do it.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    Thanks man.
    It make sense.
    I am a newbie.
    The reason this question arose in me is because, i play melodies by ear,
    and i noticed that it is usually, more difficult to play with a sound track, because i automatically place
    a lot of attention on the sound track, resulting in hearing myself much less.
    So, i was wondering if i should force myself to concentrate more on my playing sound, and less on the soundtrack?
    Will it help me hit the right notes more smoothly, while playing by ear?
    it seems to help a bit, but i want to know experienced players take on this issue.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    90% me and 10% backing track

    Like Mark G said - I give the track about the same attention as I would a metronome

    When I work on playing notes cleanly I usually use a metronome slowed down or just play slowly. When I have that really grooved in I use backing tracks to practice playing up to speed or refresh the tune

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  7. #5
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    Quote Originally Posted by hove64 View Post
    I am a newbie.
    The reason this question arose in me is because, i play melodies by ear,
    and i noticed that it is usually, more difficult to play with a sound track
    As a newbie, you'll be challenging yourself with many things in the days ahead. And most who are "old hands" continue to challenge themselves with new things musically all their lives - so might as well get used to it from the start

    The best learning experiences often come through playing with other people. For me, playing with a picking buddy or three, or playing with a little band is better than playing with a "jam session" but all those scenarios are good for learning to play with others. Playing with backing tracks is a kind of substitute for that and it's a great tool, like a metronome, but the real-time dynamics aren't there.

    Anyway, what you're doing sounds like an important step for where you're at right now. You have to work through those difficulties. If you keep at it, you'll get better at it and find a way to cope with the temporary difficulties. People tend to have difficulty learning to play with a metronome, or with a backing track, so having difficulties is no surprise. What you need to know is that the difficulty with that will vanish if you stay at it long enough. Then, you can start to work on other difficult things.

    Have fun with it
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    I will not back off, but rather wear off my ignorance.
    i already have a taste of break-throughs through perseverance, so i expect it to be the name off the game.
    plus, i am hopelessly addicted...

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  10. #7
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    Well .... I listen for the chord changes when I am playing a tune so 80% on the fingerboard and 20% on my listening. Learning a new melody I'm all ears until I can hum it then I'm mostly fingerboard. For a complex melody that I am trying to get "right" I work a phrase at a time with a slow down program and hammer it into my memory. So that's listen , mimic , listen etc.... enjoy the process ... it can last a lifetime.. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  12. #8
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    Hove64, check out the Newbies social group. It's a great place to hang out.

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  14. #9

    Default Re: Attention distribution while playing

    If I could touch on a point, and it's already mentioned, it's like playing with a metronome. One of the things that really helped me was to position the speaker or the nome in such a way that you can get a good blend for your ears. One problem being, you're sitting behind the sound-hole(s) of the mandolin, while you've probably got the speaker faced right at you. If I really want to hear myself, i'll stand about three feet away from a smooth hard wall, or big window. Now, this may not be possible but you can either turn the speaker away or turn it down, until you get a good balance.

    As far as mental attention, it depends upon if I know the tune. Of course, I need a little feedback to hear if I'm playing the correct notes, if I'm just learning something. But if I'm familiar with a tune I still don't want to blow the other's out, so I'm listening a bit differently. Less pressure, maybe. But doesn't it always go back to the ears? Yes, indeed.

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