Should one take a day off from practicing each week?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by cantstoplt021, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    So the deal is that I want to be a professional musician and I work really hard to try and reach my goals. Not only do I play guitar, but I'm also learning drums, keys, vocals and some bass as I want to be a multi instrumentalist. I'm young and have a lot of free time plus I make a lot of sacrifices (stay in often instead of going out, stuff like that). I typically put in 6-7 hour practice days most days with some being around 3-4. Never really less than that. I'm starting to think that maybe I should take a day off and not practice or play anything. I've done it in the past, but I haven't really liked it as I hate sitting around and not being productive, plus I have the mindset that I need to get good fast if I want any chance of doing this professionally so I better spend every minute that I have available working toward my goals before I lose the time to practice this much (once I graduate college). Without taking the risk of injury into account (although it's important) would you guys recommend someone like me taking a day off once a week? I do have this (probably stupid) notion that people like Jimi or Wes or insert really good musician didn't take days off or go out and have fun ever. They just played all day everyday for 10 years. Which is probably not true.

    To me it seems like if I miss out on 6 hours a week that adds up a lot over a year, but at the same time too much of a good thing can get bad and it can be easy to get burned out. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  2. LPBlues

    LPBlues Member

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    so much of the right approach depends on you and what you're naturally capable of and where you're trying to get to. I find a bit of time off makes me come back fresher and more ready to listen, also I developed tendonitis when I was younger from playing too often so I take it easier now. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that everyone's learning style is different so you need to find what's right for you.

    good luck!
     
  3. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    This guy knows what he is talking about. He was a world class violinist and has great perspective on practicing.
    Itzhak On Practicing: http://youtu.be/h3xEHigWShM
     
  4. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    If you want to be a professional multi-instrumentalist, the practicing and playing should be the "fun" part of the day.

    I've never met an aspiring professional who needed to schedule time off.

    The "goofing around" part of your life will take care of itself--you don't need on the "to do" list.
     
  5. MrX

    MrX Member

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    Words of wisdom.
     
  6. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    I see where you're coming from, but in my opinion practicing isn't always fun and often if you're doing it right it shouldn't be all that fun. Playing of course is fun, but real practice is often boring and challenging. For instance 4 way jazz drumming coordination exercises aren't that fun and in fact are exhausting, once you get them down they are fun, but by then I would try to do something that I can't do. I can also think of a lot of things more fun than practicing sight reading. Doesn't mean I don't like playing music though
     
  7. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    "Practicing" is when you start of with something you can't do, or can't do very well, and you keep on doing it until you can. Just running through the things you already know how to do or enjoy--that's good fun, but not productive if your goal is to become a professional.

    The folks who get ahead when it comes to being a professional musician are those who can do something that most people can't. Some people can do that without a lot of work, most can't. The folks who have an appetite for improving themselves are the ones who get the call.

    Everyone likes playing, the pros enjoy working.
     
  8. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    Exactly. I think we both agree on that, but it doesn't mean its always fun. In fact it can be exhausting and frustrating, but it's also incredibly rewarding.
     
  9. Turi

    Turi Member

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    I don't like how people are implying you don't have fun playing music, and implying that all forms of practicing should be fun if you want to be a professional musician.

    I'm not a professional musician, so perhaps I'm missing something - but to me, a professional musician means that playing music is your job day in day out, that's what you do.

    Nobody *always* has fun working.

    Repeating the same ******** scale exercises isn't "fun" to me, but I do it anyway because it help me get my speed up, and it works - I'm getting better at fretting properly when doing scale runs, especially great for pinky power.

    I think you should definitely take time off - for some reason, I've always had it in my head that your muscles can't develop properly unless they are getting rest in between session.

    It was most likely something I heard at gym or martial arts or something, but it's something I've always kind of carried around and definitely put to use with music.


    I 100% believe you should take time off - not sure how other people work, but for me, I'm always better of after doing it.
    I.E - when practising the little intro to Stray Cat Strut the other day, when Brian comes in with the guitar - I couldn't get the last four notes out clearly.
    Always misfretted every time because it's some weird jazzy **** I would never think of.

    I take a day off, hit it up the next day, boom, no worries at all.
    Been able to do it every time ever since (so, like, one week, lol).

    But still.

    It helps IMO.

    Take some time off, find something else to do, you'll be better off for it.
    Your body and brain need it IMO.
     
  10. CharlyG

    CharlyG Play It Forward

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    I don't think it's a good idea to look for reasons not to play.....just sayin.
     
  11. critter74

    critter74 Supporting Member

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    Yes. You should take one day off. Maybe even two. Or at least if you must play- just play. Incorporate what you learned through the week in some just fun playing. No goals. Just play.

    Now to dispel a few myths: the ******** you read about "So and so was never seen without their guitar! They always had it!" Ok don't take that **** literally. It's just not factual. It's part anecdote and part mythology. Part of it from family and friends- usually said in a figurative sense- not literally. Then from die hard fans to mythologized their hero. Does that mean they didn't lock in serious wood shed time? No of course not. They obviously did. But the whole "He would wake up and strap a guitar on and even play it when he took a ****!" Nonsense you hear about SRV, EVH, Jimi is obviously exaggeration. These men obviously also enjoyed life: wine and women- not just song.

    You should go out and have life experience as well. Being a musician just isn't about technique. It's about relaying emotion and experience. And if you life experience is joking more than sitting in a room playing, I guarnatee nobody is going to care what you have to say after 10 minutes.

    For example: think of an author who did nothing but study the written word. But never lived life. Never had his or her own experiences to relate to. How could they ever write a convincing character.

    My point: practice. Play a lot. You're on the right track. But also leave time for a life. We only have so much time on this blue rock. And only so much time to say what we have to. Make sure you have something worth saying. Not just that you can say it well.

    Take it feo someone who use to clock in over 30 hours a week playing in a band and another 30 of practice. But I still left time to enjoy things. Also- I have nowhere near the technique I did at 23. Not even close. I don't have the time to keep those chops up. But I'm a fat better musician now than I ever was then.
     
  12. Lain

    Lain Member

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    I won't tell you what to do but i know from some very big companies around here that if they have some big business meeting and whatnot, they take breaks after 3-4 hours. Reason is that your brain can only work for so long. This is true for everyone, an idiot and a genius.
    If you sit 7 hours at an instrument you might get dexterity but you won't take much into your brain at some point. So take breaks. Make some sport if you sit on an instrument all day.
    And ignore the people telling you about fun and what not. There are people that are top of their line, unique people like Messi, Federer, Satriani, etc. Do you think Federer has fun *every* day he practices tennis? I doubt it.
    If the reward for the practice is not fun anymore, then there is a problem.
     
  13. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    Good post. Yeah I get caught up in the "Jimi never stopped playing guitar even when he was with a woman!" mentality, but I have to realize that just isn't true.

    I think I'm going to take a day off every week and write and compose instead of trying to work on chops and everything every single day. I really don't write enough and I'd like to.
     

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