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Thread: Training the Mind

  1. #26

    Default Re: Training the Mind

    I would guess you don't practice with a metronome enough.

  2. #27
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Rockville, MD
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    Default Re: Training the Mind

    Only time and continued effort will help. Some us think too much, some too little, but there is always a tension between paying attention to how you’re playing vs how is the music going? In order to play a passage reliably you have to work on it, paying attention to detail. But we all know that the goal is to get past that, to being able to be “in the moment” live, whether solo or in a group.

    When you really have something down you can think about whether you put enough money in the parking meter, or more usefully, you are actively listening to other players, fitting with their time and style, and adding riffs where effective.

    I don’t think there is any formula, just more practice, more playing music with others. I like to play with the radio (stream for you kids), or along with recordings. I notice that if I am playing with people that are shaky or strugglng, I get distracted by how I wish they would play. Annoying habit of mine, as I can’t play everyone’s part.

    If I am playing difficult or showy stuff the risk of distraction is higher, because I need more conscious attention to pull it off. So the goal is to be able to ignore technique in performance, but that means you need plenty of it.

    Wynton Marsalis described giving a master class on jazz improv, and he asked players what they were thinking about while waiting to take a chorus. Typical answer was “thinking about what I’m going to play”. Wynton said that the goal is to be paying attention to the solo being played. What he didn’t say was that you need to be pretty far along to be able to do that with confidence, but it is good advice for any stage. The best solos take the previous solo and build on it, and it saves the trouble of having to decide how to begin a solo.

    I remember wanting to have a T-shirt made that said “ I played it better at home”.
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    The viola is proof that man is not rational

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  4. #28
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    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Training the Mind

    Several thoughts here. One very helpful, two analogous. This thread reminds me of Charlie Parker's comment about learning your instrument, then practice, practice, practice, and then when you get on stage forget it all and wail.

    The analogous(analogous for me anyway) one is typing on a keyboard. I watch my wife type and her fingers fly. She's fast and accurate. I asked her once if her mind was "thinking" each letter as she typed. "No" was her obvious answer. I wish I didn't have to think ahead of myself--trying to anticipate-- as I play. Often I find I play a passage fast and accurate the first time through and then from there on I begin thinking about it and it gets progressively worse. Still another analogy is golf. For those of you who get into that craziness, don't you find that your earlier rounds in a season are better than as the season progresses and you analyze everything to death?

    Perhaps "thinking" is the enemy!

  5. #29

    Default Re: Training the Mind

    I think it’s odd we can master a fork so much easier than a pick.
    Play it like you mean it.

  6. #30
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    Feb 2009
    charlottesville, VA

    Default Re: Training the Mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I think it’s odd we can master a fork so much easier than a pick.
    We usually hit the 10,000 hours mark pretty quickly with a fork, and at an impressionable age.
    Mitch Russell

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