Time Management

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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Time Management

Post by kirolak » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:34 am

I regret to say I did not use my month off work very productively. . . had planned to learn/perfect various pieces, but in fact I found I was stretching out my practise time as I had no definite point at which to stop (to go to work); I played for hours, but not in a structured way, & now I can see that I have actually done no good at all, despite learning pieces that I had NO intention of trying originally, such as the Tansman Variations on a Theme by Scriabin. I previously said I would leave that to "another life", but almost unconsciously found myself attacking it. .( . leaving out the 1st!- edited, sorry! ) variation because I have a dread of messing up the harmonics) I can play it passably well now, but not to performance level.

So having the whole day to play doesn't work for me. . . has anyone else been disappointed in themselves & their lack of "time integrity" ? :oops:
Last edited by kirolak on Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Time Management

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:31 pm

Okay - don't beat yourself up. When I take time off, I take that time to have fun, with no expectation of highly disciplined activity. On days I dedicate my time to earning money, i.e. work, then I am disciplined: I exercise, play guitar, avoid alcohol, etc... But on days when I don't work, it's play time! :D
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Re: Time Management

Post by CathyCate » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:56 pm

I encourage you to be gentle with yourself. If you enjoyed your time with your instrument, that was in and of itself valuable. Progress cannot always be measured with checklist in hand. The jury is still out, and you may have derived benefit that you have yet to discover.

That said, I have had times when I was extremely harsh in judging my own slow progress.
Try looking further back at these times. If you care as deeply as you appear to, my guess is that you have made some solid if not steady progress over the past several years. That's cause for congratulations and celebration! You're among kindred spirits. There's coffee and cake in the "virtual lunchroom".
Do take time to enjoy some before you return to practicing. :wink:
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Tom Poore
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Re: Time Management

Post by Tom Poore » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:15 am

The problem isn’t that you’re being too hard on yourself. The problem is that you’re being hard on yourself at the wrong time. You’re practicing with no real concern, and then afterward being concerned about the poor result. In essence, you’ve got things backward.

So here’s a single bit of advice with the greatest potential to change things for the better: Zero tolerance for mistakes during practice.

I’m serious. Zero mistakes. Here’s why.

The bottom line for players is how we do when the pressure is on. For concert artists, that’s when they step onstage to play for a paying audience. But even amateurs face pressure. Playing for friends and family. Making a recording. Even imagining yourself at Carnegie Hall. These are the times in which you want to do well.

Now think about how that usually works. During practice, mistakes don’t bother us terribly. Yes, we don’t like them, and we might even get angry. But we can stop, cool down, and think. After that, we can set to work at fixing mistakes. So really, a mistake during practice is the proverbial tree falling in the forest. Since no one else hears it, it’s not emotionally devastating.

In performance, however, it’s different. Now others hear every mistake. And unlike practice, we can’t stop and work the problem. We have to keep going. So every mistake is now a knife in the gut. The thing we never replicated in the practice room—a “one and done” performance—is suddenly an intense and emotionally fraught imperative.

Look at this deeply, and you start to understand why so many of us fold under the pressure of performance. We fail because of a flawed dichotomy between practice and performance:
  • During practice, mistakes are tolerable.
  • During performance, mistakes are intolerable.
Every good player has had this epiphany. John Williams wasn’t an accurate performer merely because he was talented. He was an accurate performer because he tolerated nothing less than accuracy in the practice room. He learned to perform under pressure by practicing under pressure. The practice room is the best place to do this—not the stage.

This is a fundamental truth of effective practice. We ignore it at our peril. And I’m not saying that adopting a zero tolerance attitude toward mistakes will immediately improve things. Indeed, at first it’ll probably make things worse. But an enduring commitment to mistake-free practice gradually creates its own solutions. We learn things about performance, memorization, technique—really, everything—that we can’t learn any other way.

If you’re serious about practicing well, this is your first step. The choice is yours.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH

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Re: Time Management

Post by simonm » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:16 pm

kirolak wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:34 am
So having the whole day to play doesn't work for me. . . has anyone else been disappointed in themselves & their lack of "time integrity" ? :oops:
Not the original context of the aphorism but the answer is simple:

Parkinson's Law. (1955 )
"Work expands to fill the time available for its completion." :-)

When you don't have a lot to do, even tiny things take ages. When you are busy, you can frequently fit in a few more things.

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Re: Time Management

Post by kirolak » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:54 pm

Thanks to everyone for the solid ( & amusing, @ simonm :) ) advice.
Very kind of you to say I should go easy on myself :) Am a bit of a perfectionist & compare my playing with the best out there. . .always found wanting!

And zero mistakes (@ Tim Poore). . .that it what I aspire to, always start over again, even for buzzes and squeaks, sometimes I despair of ever finishing anything.

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