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Losing Concentration

Parson 17 Feb 01 - 12:25 AM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 12:42 AM
Bernard 17 Feb 01 - 05:56 AM
Mountain Dog 17 Feb 01 - 09:49 AM
Dharmabum 17 Feb 01 - 10:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Feb 01 - 04:04 PM
Joe Offer 17 Feb 01 - 04:36 PM
Uncle_DaveO 17 Feb 01 - 05:00 PM
Sarah2 17 Feb 01 - 11:54 PM
Justa Picker 18 Feb 01 - 12:31 AM
Gypsy 18 Feb 01 - 12:43 AM
Parson 18 Feb 01 - 10:01 PM
Matt_R 18 Feb 01 - 10:05 PM
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Subject: Losing Concentration
From: Parson
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:25 AM

I have a list of songs on a post-it note affixed to my guitar. I try to run through the list at least once a day. If I play it pretty smooth, I move on to the next one. If I mess it up, I try to work on any rough spots and play it again until I get it smooth. But after about 45 minutes, I seem to start losing concentration. I start making careless mistakes. Does anyone else have this problem, and if so, how do you deal with it?

Randall


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:42 AM

Start at different points on the list? Old age is hell.

Spaw


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Subject: The learning process...
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 05:56 AM

You have established that 45 minutes is stretching your 'concentration span' to its limit. Different people have different concentration spans, so accept your limits and use them to your advantage.

You need to 'stay fresh' by doing short stretches of 'intensive learning' interspersed by recreational playing - or rest.

The learning process can be likened to microwave cooking - the cooking carries on after the food is taken out of the microwave (the 'standing time'). In the same way, the learning process continues after you stop practising!

If I want to learn something 'permanently', I'll have a recording of it playing in the car whilst driving, and I'll have short sessions at it when I can. Reading through words last thing at night before going to sleep, and reading them again when I wake up seems to work best, and a similar approach applies to difficult fingering for a tune or accompaniment.

'Constant dripping wears away a stone' is what I used to preach to my students... the spacing between the drips is the clever part...


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 09:49 AM

Dear Randall,

For what it's worth, 45 minutes seems about the length of an average set - a span of time after which both performer and audience often appreciate a short break of say, 10 or 15 minutes. I find that if I play/practice for 45 minutes to an hour, then take a break for a bit to drain off, top up, yawn, stretch and wander about (outdoors, weather permitting!), I return with renewed concentration and vigor.

I find the same sort of pacing helps when I'm writing or doing other work at the computer, too.


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Dharmabum
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 10:05 AM

Hi Randall, When I'm trying to learn a new song,I find my concentration better in the morning,after i'm rested.

You could possibly try practicing at a different time of day,if your schedule allows for it.

Ron.


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 04:04 PM

A concentration span of 45 minutes is mind-boglingly long these days. In fact it probably always has been - that's why lessons in school tend to be about that length, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 04:36 PM

I saw Ramblin' Jack Elliott last night. He was great, but his concentration wasn't in full gear. His wife was offstage, whispering suggestions to him at times and delivering picks to him when he lost track of them.

So, Parson, maybe an offstage wife would help you?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 05:00 PM

Break up your practice time into shorter sessions--maybe 15 or 20 minutes, and then later some more. You'll keep your concentration better, and remember better what you've learned.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Sarah2
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:54 PM

Parson,

The only songs I play every day are the ones I'm still learning. If I already know the song, I may not play it regularly unless our group is gearing up for a gig. Otherwise, no matter how good the song is, it's going to bore me after a few days, and I'm going to start making mistakes. Worse, I may start repeating the mistakes and risk forming the habit of playing a song wrong, wrong, wrong. So I only solo practice songs I already know when I want to sing them.

Hint: To enhance and speed the ability to memorize a new song, write it out in longhand. Not on the computer, not on a typewriter. In longhand. There's a connection between the concentration of writing the words and remembering them. It can cut memorizing time dramatically. (Unless you have a photographic memory, of course.) Something me da taught me...

Sarah


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Justa Picker
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 12:31 AM

Definitely some good suggestions here. Here are mine.

Parson, try removing the list from your guitar for a few days or even a week. Sit down and start playing what you feel like playing and forget about the list for a while. Let your mood dicatate what you want to play. Don't treat practise like a regemented aerobic exercise and going down through "a list". That makes it tedious, and that tediousness is partially why you're losing concentration. So what if there are certain tunes in that list that give your fingers a particular grueling workout?...or you make a few mistakes? Only you are going to notice them.

If you're not already doing it, record yourself, over a few takes, and keep going to the ends of the tunes even if you make what you think are mistakes. And then sit back and listen to your recordings from as dispassionate a viewpoint as you can muster. Chances are you'll discover you sound a whole lot better than you thought. Because when you just listen, you hear the music. When you record and practise you just hear the mistakes.

Everyone has a different level of saturation during practise and a different level of discipline. Mine is about an hour and a half at a time. I can sit and go over and over and over a specific lick, and play nothing else till it's worked in. It drives people in my household insane. Eventually I get the lick and can play it perfectly, and then, I start over-analyzing the lick or anticipating the lick, and I can't play it anymore, and that's when my concentration is blown. So I put the guitar down, and I go and do something entirely different (like a visit here to read the threads) or anything just to get away from it for a few hours. Then, I come back to it and try and just start playing without thinking, and the lick is there.

Sounds to me like you're pushing yourself too hard. Relax, and let it flow. The things you've been practising have been retained in your brain. Not to worry. And remember that for some mysterious reason the fingers work better on some days than others. On those days when they're not happening, there's nothing you can do and the more you try the more frustrated you'll become. The critical thing is to achieve a level of balance within your playing that is consistent without necessarily trying to add flash, so that when you are having a bad day, only you will know it. The others around you will tell you that you sound great, because they're listening to the music!


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Gypsy
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 12:43 AM

45 minutes is a nice amount of time to practice. I play for an hour, then get up, stretch, drink water and move about. After about 5 minutes, am refreshed, and can go for another hour.


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Parson
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 10:01 PM

Thanks to all who have responded there is some good suggestions as well as needed encouragement here.

Thanks,

Randall


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Subject: RE: Losing Concentration
From: Matt_R
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 10:05 PM

I never practise, I just sing.


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