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Thread: focus/concentration

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    Default focus/concentration

    This might be an odd and ambiguous question but Im just curious to see what people come up with. What do you focus on when playing/practicing? (probably different answers since playing and practicing are different). There's a million things to focus and put your attention on. where is yours? are you focused on the sound more than the physical aspects of playing? are you more focused on one hand over the other? both at the same time? obviously practicing something specific like left hand fretting , your attention would be specifically on that. Im just interested in the concept of focus and attention these days. thought id ask...

  2. #2
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    My focus tends to be split, since i usually play with my-husband-the-guitar-player; i listen to my notes as I play them and then to the chords being played behind me; if I'm reading, I focus on playing the right notes with an ear to the backup and what my pacing feels like. If I'm playing fairly slow music, I listen to tone and concentrate on rhythm and, again, pacing. This probably isn't particularly helpful, but I've never been the kind of person who obsesses on a single thing to the exclusion of all else -- one of the reasons I'll never reach more than a strong intermediate level!
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    Well … if I am practicing I focus on tone and timing. As we all know takes both to make music. If I am playing with others I focus on where the music is and I work at staying in that pocket. This , of course, involves tone , timing and active listening. The goal in practice is to arrive at the point where I am playing in the moment … not really thinking about my hands and what they are doing. The music is directing their actions. If you stop to think about … well anything ... while you are playing or doing it you miss a beat or a change and then it's catch up time. R/
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    It sounds paradoxical, but the thing I have to focus on most when practicing—both mandolin and fiddle—is relaxing. Especially when I practice fiddle, I find that my entire face and jaw tends to tense up. I have to periodically tell myself to open my mouth to keep it from tensing. I don’t think this happens much when I’m jamming with friends. Beyond all the other benefits of jamming, as opposed to focused practice, this is probably the most valuable one for me. When I’m at a jam (especially one with lots of people, where I can “hide” in the cacophony) I can just let go and lose myself in the moment. I wish I could get out and jam more than I do, because I think this tenseness is the major factor that has kept me from progressing, especially in my fiddling.

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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    In practice I'm trying to be more aware listening and acknowledging my body, ie, feel of the pick, tightness in hand/arm, etc, rather than 'focus' on something. I'm aware and make minute changes as I observe things, like tightness, pick drift, but i don't concentrate on any one aspect of playing relative to any other.

    When working on left hand stuff, like hand position or finger buster items, I'm just paying specific attention in the listening for good sound, which I guess is focus, but watching and adjusting as the tempo allows. Slow is good to not get hurt, especially in finger busters.

    In playing, I try to maintain smoothness in the sound production, even with varying dynamics or rhythms.

    So basically I'm trying to relax and enjoy the music.
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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    I keep in mind short, medium and long term goals when "practicing". When "playing", I play what every strikes my fancy at that moment.

    You are right, the two are very different.
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  8. #7

    Default Re: focus/concentration

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    Well … if I am practicing I focus on tone and timing. As we all know takes both to make music. If I am playing with others I focus on where the music is and I work at staying in that pocket. This , of course, involves tone , timing and active listening. The goal in practice is to arrive at the point where I am playing in the moment … not really thinking about my hands and what they are doing. The music is directing their actions. If you stop to think about … well anything ... while you are playing or doing it you miss a beat or a change and then it's catch up time. R/
    when you say focusing on tone do you mean the notes or the quality of the notes being played (smoothness, volume, etc)

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    Practice - tone, timing and the notes (and rests) themselves.

    Playing with others - all the above plus meshing with other players. Often when playing backup guitar, will try to focus my vision on a spot on the floor and just try to meld with the music and musicians. Probably a very fake way of meditating or "getting in the zone". But on my best days, it works.

    Have yet to get there on mandolin. Still have many hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of practice to get to that point. Maybe. If it ever happens. Or it might not.
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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    I try to focus on playing each note clean, and at a consistent volume . . . and like wormpicker above, being relaxed while I do it, so that the music flows smoothly, and doesn't sound stifled by over-concentration.

    As I said - I try to practice these things . . . maybe someday I will will accomplish them . . . .

  11. #10
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: focus/concentration

    Doing a couple peghead nation lessons what I have noticed is my ear needs the most focus and I think that the ear training portion is what is actually making me a more steady progress.
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