Is it normal to obsessively practice a new (challenging) piece?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Carl_Tone, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Carl_Tone

    Carl_Tone Member

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    Or is it better to to gradually work it in?

    I usually end up obsessing when something seems to be elusive.

    Then I play and record it over an over ad nauseum....

    What do you guys do?
     
  2. CapoFirstFret

    CapoFirstFret Member

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    I'd say it's not unhealthy, but you definitely need to give your brain and hands time to adapt to new and challenging pieces. It is definitely possible to overdo it.

    I'd set a time limit to work on a new piece and once you hit that time limit, that's it. Cut yourself off.

    I think you'll see better results if you allow your mind and hands to digest material over a matter of time.
     
  3. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

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    Without obsession, we wouldn't have a world with so much great music, so I say "obsess away!" I know I'm at my most happy when I'm in "Obsess Mode".
     
  4. Zero G

    Zero G Member

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    I never work on just 1 song at a time, otherwise I would never finish learning a song.
     
  5. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Huh/wha?? I'm sorry, I was obsessing

    I have a better question, how do you turn it off??

    Not that I want that because I need to obsess
    but I have often wondered it.

    Boring would be the first thought.
     
  6. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Anyone here built and tore down the pedalboard over 15x? I have

    same way with practice, constantly rediscovering the things in front
    of me and part of me and what I can do, constantly a student of all this.
     
  7. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    I do that to an extreme. I've been known to spend an entire morning on a single 4 bar passage. It drives my wife crazy. I don't think it's the healthiest way to approach things but its a habit that I don't seem to be willing to break.
     
  8. Seraphine

    Seraphine Member

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    A little of this and a little of that is the only way to skin a cat.....

    One must be careful that we don't ingrain how NOT to play something... As long as you have an eye on that, and beware it's often subtle.... but as long as we can crack a nut without breaking something ( some nuts are stubborn ) then go for it...
     
  9. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I ain't letting you near my cats.
     
  10. Seraphine

    Seraphine Member

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    Me? Ow!! ... that hurts
     
  11. willyboy

    willyboy Member

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    funny, that's exactly why I can't practice around anyone in my household!
    I figure we are in good company - I heard an interview with Vladimir Horowitz where he said he would play a particular passage hundreds of times in a practice session until it was perfect.
     
  12. whiteop

    whiteop Senior Member

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    You are definitely not alone. I remember the first time I mastered Blackbird by the Beatles; I played it until I could do it in my sleep. Awhile back I went on a tangent learning Elliot Easton (Cars) solos. Here lately I've been using my RC-2 looper to play speed metal (80's version) to keep my timing and chops up. Why? I don't know. If it made sense, I wouldn't be a musician...;)
     
  13. whiteop

    whiteop Senior Member

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    Yes. A musician is rarely completely satisfied with his tone or abilities. a TGP musician is NEVER satisifed with his tone which could be perfected by buying "another' pedal...:D
     
  14. randalljazz

    randalljazz Member

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    "Knowledge plus 10000 times equals ability."-Dr. Shin'ichi Suzuki.
     
  15. djdrdave

    djdrdave Member

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    According to books like the talent code it is!
     
  16. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    When it comes to a longer and more challenging solo, I find I need to watch it (find a YouTube) any number of times, until I memorize the sequence.

    Then I start playing along with it.

    Finally - if there are any sections that are really challenging to me I will rehearse them over & over until I have them down.

    I have done:

    Hold on Loosely
    My Sharona
    All Right Now

    this way and I now have them note for note.
     
  17. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    The process of learning a long, complicated solo works like this for me...

    I have to see the solo and learn how to play the individual parts, but the hard part is actually remembering the sequence of the solo...

    So, after you learn how to play each part, you can gain a lot by just listening to the song - when in the shower, driving, etc, so you know how the solo sounds.

    Then you assimilate to solo in your mind - you already know how to play the parts, you just have to memorize the sequence. So, learning a long solo is not hard, but it often just takes time.

    For me 2 weeks is usually it. I spend on long session actually learning each part individually to the point where I can actually play it. Then I will practice it once a day or so, but listen to it as often as possible. Eventually I know it in my mind, and playing it is just a matter of being familiar with the solo, so I know how it sounds - more so than repetition and memorization of the parts faster than my mind is ready to do it.
     
  18. Carl_Tone

    Carl_Tone Member

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    Thanks guys...this is all very helpful.:aok
     
  19. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    I'm doing that now with "Can't Help It" by Stevie Wonder (Michael Jackson) version. Someone posted a backing track for it on another forum, then posted his takes on it. I've been practicing the melody line and soloing idea for it for several weeks. After I record my take and post it, I will be done with single-note soloing on guitar for a while. I've been more into fingerstyle playing in general - just thought "Can't Help It" would be a fun diversion from the equally fun but very different exploration into fingerstyle playing.
     
  20. slackandsteel

    slackandsteel Member

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    I find that when trying to learn a tune/passage/solo by ear, I obsess over it for the first day, and then frequently come back to it the next day and hear it differently and realize I had it wrong the first time. This seems to happen to me a lot. A similar thing is that I can't figure it out the first time around, and the next day I can.

    There's something about that in between time for me that makes the whole thing come together.
     

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