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Subject: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Brian MacColl
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Date Posted: 09:30:10 12/11/01 Tue

A recent telephone conversation with a friend got me to thinking about practicing: how much? how little? when?, etc. He was telling me that even on the days he absolutely, positively has no ambition or desire to play he does. My question to him was simple: How do you play on those days when you really don't want to? His answer, simply: Horrible! But then why do it, I asked? He told me that if he doesn't get practice time in every day, he feels like he's losing his gains and that he'll just go backwards. Needless to say, and I told him this flatly, he's doing more harm than good.

I thought about this for beginners because it cannot be stressed enough the importance of doing things the right way from the beginning. But in truth, this is something all of us at any level should pay attention to. There will be days when you just don't have it in you. You're tired, you're sick, or simply your mind just isn't focusing on what you need to be doing...it's floating away to what you'll have for dinner, or what you'll watch on TV. But you look at that clock and you proddle on because if you get a solid hour in, somehow you've completed some task set forth by the piping gods. You've got another hour under your belt, you're one hour closer to placing in your next competition. You did it, you've finished for the day, swab your drones, pack your pipes, grab a Coke and have a smile! Right? Worng. Dead wrong.

"Practice does not make perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect." I am stealing that from the many wise pipers that have come before me, too many to name and give credit. But this advice seems to have spanned generations and levels, so it's definitely worth adopting into your personal mythology. You could do so much more damage to your playing in that one hour than you ever could do by not playing at all that day. In fact, there's about a 99.9999999745% chance that you will do no harm to your playing by taking that day off! Your muscles will relax, your mind will get itself around the tune you're working on, no harm done. Only good can come from just taking the day off. How many times have you played a movement over and over and over again, and by the time you're in the hundreds, it's completely broken down and doesn't even resemble what you have been trying to achieve? But, if you pay careful attention to each part of that movement, and do it only 30 times in a row, carefully, methodically, perfectly, then you get it fine, and you never forget it.

So, if you're heart and mind just isn't into it, take the day off! But don't take advantage, and don't mistake taking a true break for sheer laziness. If you take more than two days off in a row, unless you're ill, then it's possible that you're just beoming lazy. But if you need to take a break, do it. Come home, read a book, talk with your children or parents, or an old friend. And the next day when you pick up those pipes, you'll be refreshed and excited about practicing again. And don't worry about losing stamina or your expression of that difficult tune that took you weeks to conquer. Nothing bad will happen in a day off. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, nor was it lost in a day either. Hope I've helped someone.

Brian.

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Replies:
[> Subject: Re: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Dain
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10:19:26 12/11/01 Tue

Yes, Brian, I agree, and it's good to hear it from someone else. Though I agree, I've got the "must practice every day of life" guilt bug real bad!

I can back some of this up with some brain/muscle learning info. When we sit down and practice a movement "30 times" the electro-chemical impulse of the synapse relay in our muscles and brains fires in accordance to the movements we make when practicing. But what if you stop practicing? NO worries, for several hours (if my memory serves me correctly) following that repetative practice the same electro-chemical synaptic impulse continues to fire in the brain, without any effort on our part. This is just part of the brain's learning process.

So this also means that when we practice something incorrectly, THAT synaptic impulse will continue to fire for several hours after we have stopped practicing it incorrectly. How's that for some incentive to focus on what your doing? So, yes, taking a break is a great way to simply relax and give some time to let our muscles rest, and if necessary avoid some incorrect learning.

Good post Brian,

Dain


>A recent telephone conversation with a friend got me
>to thinking about practicing: how much? how little?
>when?, etc. He was telling me that even on the days
>he absolutely, positively has no ambition or desire to
>play he does. My question to him was simple: How do
>you play on those days when you really don't want to?
>His answer, simply: Horrible! But then why do it, I
>asked? He told me that if he doesn't get practice
>time in every day, he feels like he's losing his gains
>and that he'll just go backwards. Needless to say,
>and I told him this flatly, he's doing more harm than
>good.
>
>I thought about this for beginners because it cannot
>be stressed enough the importance of doing things the
>right way from the beginning. But in truth, this is
>something all of us at any level should pay attention
>to. There will be days when you just don't have it in
>you. You're tired, you're sick, or simply your mind
>just isn't focusing on what you need to be
>doing...it's floating away to what you'll have for
>dinner, or what you'll watch on TV. But you look at
>that clock and you proddle on because if you get a
>solid hour in, somehow you've completed some task set
>forth by the piping gods. You've got another hour
>under your belt, you're one hour closer to placing in
>your next competition. You did it, you've finished
>for the day, swab your drones, pack your pipes, grab a
>Coke and have a smile! Right? Worng. Dead wrong.
>
>"Practice does not make perfect, PERFECT practice
>makes perfect." I am stealing that from the many wise
>pipers that have come before me, too many to name and
>give credit. But this advice seems to have spanned
>generations and levels, so it's definitely worth
>adopting into your personal mythology. You could do
>so much more damage to your playing in that one hour
>than you ever could do by not playing at all that day.
> In fact, there's about a 99.9999999745% chance that
>you will do no harm to your playing by taking that day
>off! Your muscles will relax, your mind will get
>itself around the tune you're working on, no harm
>done. Only good can come from just taking the day
>off. How many times have you played a movement over
>and over and over again, and by the time you're in the
>hundreds, it's completely broken down and doesn't even
>resemble what you have been trying to achieve? But,
>if you pay careful attention to each part of that
>movement, and do it only 30 times in a row, carefully,
>methodically, perfectly, then you get it fine, and you
>never forget it.
>
>So, if you're heart and mind just isn't into it, take
>the day off! But don't take advantage, and don't
>mistake taking a true break for sheer laziness. If
>you take more than two days off in a row, unless
>you're ill, then it's possible that you're just
>beoming lazy. But if you need to take a break, do it.
> Come home, read a book, talk with your children or
>parents, or an old friend. And the next day when you
>pick up those pipes, you'll be refreshed and excited
>about practicing again. And don't worry about losing
>stamina or your expression of that difficult tune that
>took you weeks to conquer. Nothing bad will happen in
>a day off. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, nor
>was it lost in a day either. Hope I've helped someone.
>
>Brian.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> [> Subject: Re: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Jo
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04:53:01 12/12/01 Wed

Hi, how are you? I am Jo frae Japan, 22 years old Japanese lassie...
Yes, I agree with you too, I practice piping EVERYDAY, I have never forgot to play it so far, and because I love it so I just can't forget piping.... even after my long working.. and very tired....
I know no one plays the pipes in my area, so I really want to make friends who also like piping!!! Please contact me sometime, everyone!
Love, Jo xx









>Yes, Brian, I agree, and it's good to hear it from
>someone else. Though I agree, I've got the "must
>practice every day of life" guilt bug real bad!
>
>I can back some of this up with some brain/muscle
>learning info. When we sit down and practice a
>movement "30 times" the electro-chemical impulse of
>the synapse relay in our muscles and brains fires in
>accordance to the movements we make when practicing.
>But what if you stop practicing? NO worries, for
>several hours (if my memory serves me correctly)
>following that repetative practice the same
>electro-chemical synaptic impulse continues to fire in
>the brain, without any effort on our part. This is
>just part of the brain's learning process.
>
>So this also means that when we practice something
>incorrectly, THAT synaptic impulse will continue to
>fire for several hours after we have stopped
>practicing it incorrectly. How's that for some
>incentive to focus on what your doing? So, yes,
>taking a break is a great way to simply relax and give
>some time to let our muscles rest, and if necessary
>avoid some incorrect learning.
>
>Good post Brian,
>
>Dain
>
>
>>A recent telephone conversation with a friend got me
>>to thinking about practicing: how much? how little?
>>when?, etc. He was telling me that even on the days
>>he absolutely, positively has no ambition or desire to
>>play he does. My question to him was simple: How do
>>you play on those days when you really don't want to?
>>His answer, simply: Horrible! But then why do it, I
>>asked? He told me that if he doesn't get practice
>>time in every day, he feels like he's losing his gains
>>and that he'll just go backwards. Needless to say,
>>and I told him this flatly, he's doing more harm than
>>good.
>>
>>I thought about this for beginners because it cannot
>>be stressed enough the importance of doing things the
>>right way from the beginning. But in truth, this is
>>something all of us at any level should pay attention
>>to. There will be days when you just don't have it in
>>you. You're tired, you're sick, or simply your mind
>>just isn't focusing on what you need to be
>>doing...it's floating away to what you'll have for
>>dinner, or what you'll watch on TV. But you look at
>>that clock and you proddle on because if you get a
>>solid hour in, somehow you've completed some task set
>>forth by the piping gods. You've got another hour
>>under your belt, you're one hour closer to placing in
>>your next competition. You did it, you've finished
>>for the day, swab your drones, pack your pipes, grab a
>>Coke and have a smile! Right? Worng. Dead wrong.
>>
>>"Practice does not make perfect, PERFECT practice
>>makes perfect." I am stealing that from the many wise
>>pipers that have come before me, too many to name and
>>give credit. But this advice seems to have spanned
>>generations and levels, so it's definitely worth
>>adopting into your personal mythology. You could do
>>so much more damage to your playing in that one hour
>>than you ever could do by not playing at all that day.
>> In fact, there's about a 99.9999999745% chance that
>>you will do no harm to your playing by taking that day
>>off! Your muscles will relax, your mind will get
>>itself around the tune you're working on, no harm
>>done. Only good can come from just taking the day
>>off. How many times have you played a movement over
>>and over and over again, and by the time you're in the
>>hundreds, it's completely broken down and doesn't even
>>resemble what you have been trying to achieve? But,
>>if you pay careful attention to each part of that
>>movement, and do it only 30 times in a row, carefully,
>>methodically, perfectly, then you get it fine, and you
>>never forget it.
>>
>>So, if you're heart and mind just isn't into it, take
>>the day off! But don't take advantage, and don't
>>mistake taking a true break for sheer laziness. If
>>you take more than two days off in a row, unless
>>you're ill, then it's possible that you're just
>>beoming lazy. But if you need to take a break, do it.
>> Come home, read a book, talk with your children or
>>parents, or an old friend. And the next day when you
>>pick up those pipes, you'll be refreshed and excited
>>about practicing again. And don't worry about losing
>>stamina or your expression of that difficult tune that
>>took you weeks to conquer. Nothing bad will happen in
>>a day off. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, nor
>>was it lost in a day either. Hope I've helped
>someone.
>>
>>Brian.

[ Post a Reply to This Message ]
[> Subject: Re: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Kay
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10:25:09 12/12/01 Wed

While I agree that "bad" practice is worse than no practice, there is one thing to consider. Sometimes, I just don't feel "in the mood" for piping during my practice time. But I go out anyway. More often than not, that mood changes. When the pipes are singing, and the fingers are cooperating, there's no better spirit-lifter, and I'm soon in the mood for an extra hour!

Now, when it turns out that I really WASN'T supposed to pipe that day - even when I Was in the mood for it before - I cut my practice short, usually performing maintenance instead.

With all that I have to get done in a day, I can't afford to miss an hour of practice that might have gone well if only I had tried.

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[> Subject: Re: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Stephen Mills
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 17:25:14 01/08/02 Tue

I had said to my music teacher "practice makes perfect"
"Oh no" she said "Only perfect practice, makes perfect"

Steve

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[> Subject: Re: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Randall Paine
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12:54:57 01/16/02 Wed

let's see, if i don't practice perfectly, i won't get it perfect.
hmmmm, the point of practicing is to work on through the mistakes or the less-than-perfect parts.

i challenge any one of you to pick up a piece of music and practice it perfect every time. you prodigies, you.

maybe one should really think about these cutie little sayings before becoming a parrot for them.

peace, out

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[> [> Subject: Re: Practice (for everyone)


Author:
Brian MacColl
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 14:35:21 01/18/02 Fri

I suggest you read the post over and over until you understand what was said. You can pick up a piece of music and play it perfectly. The tempo at which you play that piece of music is the factor. Also, make every practice count and not half-ass it pretending like you are playing some grand recital when you can't even play one tune completely and perfectly. So, to translate for you, practice perfectly by playing the tune at a tempo that will allow you to play it perfectly! The slower the better in the beginning. I hope this clears things up. If not, oh well, I know the value of practicing perfectly and do it everyday, whether or not you do doesn't concern me in the least.





>let's see, if i don't practice perfectly, i won't get
>it perfect.
>hmmmm, the point of practicing is to work on through
>the mistakes or the less-than-perfect parts.
>
>i challenge any one of you to pick up a piece of music
>and practice it perfect every time. you prodigies,
>you.
>
>maybe one should really think about these cutie little
>sayings before becoming a parrot for them.
>
>peace, out

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