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Author Topic: Performance Skills  (Read 20379 times)

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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #80 on: September 22, 2017, 01:17:47 PM »

reported on here before, a young Mr Cutting did the same and practiced daily for a year before deciding it was something he could do....
and look where that's got him!  ;)

With reference to the youngsters: Perhaps we are seeing the results of the young blood coming through who have access to such things as university degrees that specialise in performance and folk things. A genuine attempt at teaching them things about our music and culture. Therefore I hazard a guess that they get the information, tips and performance skills etc that it takes others a lifetime to accrue.

And... using such 'cross over ' skills and knowledge from other areas of music, such as our friends here p&t, plus Anahata and Steve Freereeder has experience in from their classical music backgrounds.
Q
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 01:29:14 PM by Thrupenny Bit »
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

arty

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #81 on: September 22, 2017, 01:43:53 PM »

I am sure you are right Q, spending three years at music college studying your instrument is, if you don't squander the time, going to produce a competent, talented musician very often. But it must also depend on having a good teacher to nourish, encourage and give you planned direction.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #82 on: September 22, 2017, 01:56:04 PM »

I agree arty, but who on this forum could spend 3 years playing  and studying music when of a similar age?
It must have an incredible effect on them as performers.
It must condense a life time of other people's playing time who have to juggle between family, work, 'life events' etc into a concentrated 3 years, then they can improve and move on....whereas most of us after that amount of playing time won't still be here!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

arty

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #83 on: September 22, 2017, 02:17:55 PM »

Well, I don't even think about that. At my age, 68, I just want to play well enough to enjoy myself and, after 5 years of teaching myself I do enjoy myself now and again. It's good, it's fun and it's a lot better than watching the TV !
Never forget to enjoy it Q  (:)
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #84 on: September 22, 2017, 02:56:35 PM »

I do enjoy playing and agree that just playing well enough for your own pleasure is a good achievement.
I realise that working out one of 'those' tunes is also enjoyable and a good mental workout at times. Trying to work out how to cheat properly on a limited instrument so a tune can be played is all part of the fun and games for me. As is the sense of achievement when you finally get there with one of  the awkward tunes.
I know I can never achieve the performance levels of those starting when young, as Anahata shows, there's not enough time.....but I still can get enjoyment and a sense of achievement at my level. Hopefully that's true at whichever rung of the ladder you're on.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Anahata

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #85 on: September 22, 2017, 03:34:53 PM »

I am sure you are right Q, spending three years at music college studying your instrument is, if you don't squander the time, going to produce a competent, talented musician very often. But it must also depend on having a good teacher to nourish, encourage and give you planned direction.

It's not possible to practise for eight hours a day without something to inspire and encourage you to do it, whether it's an outside influence like a teacher or a player you admire, desperately wanting to impress someone or prove something, or just sheer bloody-mindedness. Or perhaps, having a natural aptitude that enables you to make good progress through that practice, which is always satisfying.

I've even found that the challenge of Melnet ToTM has sometimes made me work harder and spend more time practising that I would otherwise have done. And it's improved my playing all round, so I recently find myself enjoying the music that's coming out of my melodeon without seeming to have to make so much effort to produce it.

I just want to play well enough to enjoy myself
One of the beauties of music is that, with the right attitude,  that works at all levels!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #86 on: September 22, 2017, 03:44:19 PM »

George, it is a difficult balancing act surely?
If you are listening intently to yourself, realise you've made a mistake then as p&t says it can escalate/deteriorate from a minor glitch into a 'oh no I'm messing up....' disaster.

I think that the balance between autopilot, where you're really relaxed, getting into the tune etc  and really listening to make sure you are 'getting it right'  is a knife edge.
I sometimes 'over-enjoy' a tune and get so carried away with it that I just snap out of the euphoria and enjoyment into a nothingness of notes ad blank mind!
Maybe? or am I off course here?
Q

I think the state you describe is the known as "being in the zone", when it all just flows from something inside you without the need to think consciously about it. Like driving a car. It relates to what sports people call "playing the inner game". Zen musicianship?
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nigelr

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #87 on: September 22, 2017, 03:50:54 PM »

I think the state you describe is the known as "being in the zone", when it all just flows from something inside you without the need to think consciously about it. Like driving a car. It relates to what sports people call "playing the inner game". Zen musicianship?
Discussed at length in this book, which I found very informative (not that I'm competent enough or have enough time to put it all into practice!)

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-inner-game-of-music/w-timothy-gallwey/barry-green/9781447291725
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #88 on: September 22, 2017, 04:13:50 PM »


https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-inner-game-of-music/w-timothy-gallwey/barry-green/9781447291725

Thank you Nigel
That's my Christmas present to myself sorted (obviously, Christmas seaon has already started in the shops, so I won't have to wait (:))
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george garside

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #89 on: September 22, 2017, 05:07:10 PM »

George, it is a difficult balancing act surely?
If you are listening intently to yourself, realise you've made a mistake then as p&t says it can escalate/deteriorate from a minor glitch into a 'oh no I'm messing up....' disaster.

I think that the balance between autopilot, where you're really relaxed, getting into the tune etc  and really listening to make sure you are 'getting it right'  is a knife edge.
I sometimes 'over-enjoy' a tune and get so carried away with it that I just snap out of the euphoria and enjoyment into a nothingness of notes ad blank mind!
Maybe? or am I off course here?

The way I look at it is that if you are not listening to what you are playing you have no way of knowing if you are or are not making a half decent job of it.  Same goes for playing in a 'band'  you need a second feedback loop operating  to pick up exactly what other people and particularly the leader are playing.

This is not a contradiction  with playing on 'auto pilot'  as the feedback loop complements  and ?improves what auto pilot is dishing up!

george
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #90 on: September 22, 2017, 05:38:11 PM »

fair enough George, will allow the autopilot to listen!

Yes, thank you Anahata ' in the zone ' is exactly what I mean.
It happens all across things. I remember my mountain bike days used to have periods when it all just flowed and I'd bounce home with a massive smile, and other times it was just hard work.
Same on the box!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Julian S

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #91 on: September 22, 2017, 06:05:53 PM »

Damn. Forty years playing and still short at least 4000 hours...if only I'd played for five rather than three hours a day in the first couple of years - but I'd probably have been kicked out of my home ! And if only Melnet had existed back then !
Now I've got the time to play with, I'm sure I would benefit from concentrating and focussing on a couple of tunes over an hour, rather than the half dozen or more I noodle around with. And now I've got another bunch of tunes to attempt, courtesy of Leveret, Topette, and La Machine ! I think I know my way around the instrument, but each of these tunes can shiw how my technique is sadly lacking.
I know Andy Cutting spends an incredible amount of time perfecting each tune - and sometimes each phrase, and we see and hear the result. Ho hum.
I reckon attitudes have certainly changed over the years with more of a recognition that hard graft is necessary to perform traditional music to a high standard. And there are so many wonderful musicians to inspire us (and in my case sometimes depress me !)

J
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 07:04:13 PM by Julian S »
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Anahata

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #92 on: September 22, 2017, 06:28:35 PM »

I reckon attitudes have certainly changed over the years with more of a recognition that hard graft is necessary to perform traditional music to a high standard.

Yes, I think that's true.
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playandteach

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #93 on: September 22, 2017, 08:00:19 PM »

Damn. Forty years playing and still short at least 4000 hours...if only I'd played for five rather than three hours a day in the first couple of years - but I'd probably have been kicked out of my home ! And if only Melnet had existed back then !
Did you stop playing for a while? if you managed 2000 hours in the first couple of years, then you'd only need 35 minutes a day to rack up the 10,000 in that time.

Mind you - we are talking 10,000 hours of practice, not playing!
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Julian S

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #94 on: September 22, 2017, 08:44:21 PM »

Ha ! Keeping up the three hours a day proved beyond me. Work always got in the way. But I do wonder whether playing in a ceilidh band or for a dance side should count extra !

J
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #95 on: September 23, 2017, 12:11:42 AM »

I'm very grateful for the huge number of highly thoughtful comments on this thread - I didn't realise it was such an interesting issue!

The only comment I'd want to make is that many people have honed in on 'hours of practice', and understandably so, because it's clearly important.  However my hunch was that we perhaps need to understand more about practising than just doing lots of it - how should practice be focussed, to best effect? 

The thing is that youngsters have on average not yet had the time to put the hours in as oldsters, so how come so many of them are so blooming good?  There seems to be something else involved.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #96 on: September 23, 2017, 12:35:22 AM »

I'm very grateful for the huge number of highly thoughtful comments on this thread - I didn't realise it was such an interesting issue!

The only comment I'd want to make is that many people have honed in on 'hours of practice', and understandably so, because it's clearly important.  However my hunch was that we perhaps need to understand more about practising than just doing lots of it - how should practice be focussed, to best effect? 

The thing is that youngsters have on average not yet had the time to put the hours in as oldsters, so how come so many of them are so blooming good?  There seems to be something else involved.

Maybe it's just that they have less clutter taking up  space in their brain.
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Julian S

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #97 on: September 23, 2017, 07:11:07 AM »

I'm very grateful for the huge number of highly thoughtful comments on this thread - I didn't realise it was such an interesting issue!

The only comment I'd want to make is that many people have honed in on 'hours of practice', and understandably so, because it's clearly important.  However my hunch was that we perhaps need to understand more about practising than just doing lots of it - how should practice be focussed, to best effect? 

The thing is that youngsters have on average not yet had the time to put the hours in as oldsters, so how come so many of them are so blooming good?  There seems to be something else involved.

Maybe it's just that they have less clutter taking up  space in their brain.

I also wonder how the learning process changes as we get older. We know how the learning curve works, but I suspect starting early means more rapid progress up the steep part of the curve - simply getting to be a better player more quickly. Couple that with maybe being more prepared to experiment, think laterally, absorb other influences maybe ?
Another point I pondered overnight- I think there is now more appreciation that instrumental traditional music (and not just Celtic) can be great to listen to as well as dance to. But making the transition from playing for dance, enjoying sessions etc, to playing mainly instrumental music to audiences is another matter and that's where the ability of our best players is displayed. How to approach that ?

J
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #98 on: September 23, 2017, 09:02:04 AM »

Chris has mentioned something that has often occurred to me - how to practice effectively?
With many of us having to juggle work and family commitments, we need to make the most of the precious time we have to practice and play.
I know this should be enjoyable so I split the time between playing tunes and enjoying that then reining back and concentrating on the new tune and phrases within it that trip be up..... I know little about the actual process or technique of learning and practicing. I enjoy the learning process, the thought behind selecting chord/bass accompniament and keyboard fingering to enable me to play the piece and the - hopefully - sense of achievement when the practice piece moves into the repertoire.... but I'm sure I could improve the technique, especially the cerebral aspect of it all.

I think 'effective practicing ' is a topic we all would like to know more about.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

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Re: Performance Skills
« Reply #99 on: September 23, 2017, 09:27:03 AM »

The thing is that youngsters have on average not yet had the time to put the hours in as oldsters, so how come so many of them are so blooming good?  There seems to be something else involved.

My guesses would be:

1) a younger brain just learns quicker, so it’s easier to pick up an instrument when you’re younger than when you’re older

2) you can still rack up quite an impressive number of hours practice when you’re young, if you’re committed – if someone starts playing at 10, and does on average an hour a day for 7 years, that’s over 3,000 hours by the time they’re 18

3) they may well have partly come through the classical route and had weekly lessons. I think lessons can make a huge difference in improving your technique, challenging you to try new things and giving you goals to work towards.
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