Practicing scales and aging

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Bentkey

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Bentkey » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:52 pm

Returning to CG at nearly 60, the left had stiffness is the biggest difference I notice. I attribute some of it to the fact that I've been working so hard to get back what was lost and I really don't give it enough rest, but I'm impatient and perhaps a little obsessive. Anyway one trick I've started using is a massage vibrator before I start my practice. It's got a big round end on it and I just kind of grip it lightly and let it shake things up and run it lightly around the back of my hand and up my forearm. I don't do this for very long because it definetly makes your hands feel tingly and different but I really think it helps get things going sooner. Anybody else do this?

millroy
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby millroy » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:53 pm

Kinky :lol: might try it..

Bentkey

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Bentkey » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:58 pm

Somehow I knew I might get that response. I practice in my office and when people come in sometimes they see it and look at me funny. I don't bother to explain it. :wink:

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Steve Kutzer
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Steve Kutzer » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:25 am

Bentkey wrote:Somehow I knew I might get that response. I practice in my office and when people come in sometimes they see it and look at me funny. I don't bother to explain it. :wink:

You should explain it quite truthfully - you're using the vibrator to solve a little stiffness problem. :mrgreen:
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Bentkey

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Bentkey » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:41 am

If I could keep a straight face while saying it I just might! :mrgreen:

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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Eberhard Mueller » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:29 pm

Oh well, many an old timer has said that "aging is not for sissies." There is crippling hurt all over and the brain is often prone to functional freezing. The calendar is busy with doctor/hospital/lab appointments. There hardly is time, because one is also looking in on parents who are 90+. A bout of flu can just about kill you. And, we should worry about practising scales?

I'm in my 70's, relatively young. (I do wonder about the average age on this CG forum.) I suspect, from reading this topic, that there are not a few age 70 and up. Now, playing CG might be less daunting had I started early in life. On the other hand, I could be dead and buried in a CG shaped coffin. In comparison, it is blessed to be 72, hurting badly, and still able to spend some time with the instrument.

I have some frustration with maintaining repertoire, because whatever is hard won is so quickly lost when one is older. Recovery is slow! The answer is not in doubling down on practice. Excessive practice, "excessive" being subject to so much individual difference, can be crippling and force long breaks resulting in loss of competency with one's repertoire. There we have a vicious cycle, as one tries to recover what is lost.

So, what of practising scales and other exercises? I avoid scales and exercises because that just wears one out. At my age, this is reasonable compromise. I do have difficult pieces in my repertoire, but maintaining too many of these can also be painful and limit the enjoyment of just playing music. However, there is simpler music, yet of high quality, which can make playing in older age a pleasure. This is the obverse of playing and learning at a very young age, where the material is also tailored to what the young body/mind can manage. Of course, the young person has greater growth in skill to look forward to.

Julian Bream, as I heard in an interview, figures he is the better musician at 80, then he ever was - even though he had hung up his guitars! I believe he is referring to musical judgment as exercised by his mind, alone. If so, there may be some advantage to old age - but not in the practice of scales!
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Jack Douglas
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Jack Douglas » Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:54 pm

Hi Emueller,
Having recently reached the 70 age, I acquired the guitar listed and started taking lessons with a drill instructor teacher 76 years old. I do practice in one hour to an hour and a half sessions and purposely take short breaks during that time. On weekends I get in extra practice sessions. I'm having a great time.
Enjoy your time!
Jack
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jdart3000
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby jdart3000 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:54 pm

Having reached that golden age of 71, and having studied guitar seriously for over 10 years, I find that scales and exercises more necessary now than ever. Daily scales (just a few), exercises and Giuliani 120 (only 5 or 6 at a time) with a metronome begun slowly and gradually increasing the tempo gives me more accuracy and confidence. This slow warm-up is even more necessary as we age to avoid injuries (I believe David Russell even mentioned that very thing in one of his writings or interviews). Having a systematic chart or listing of repertoire helps to keep me on track as I steadily review it. The simpler pieces don't need reviewing as frequently as the more challenging ones.

It's always been a little slippery for me to memorize anything throughout my life - poems, dates, musical pieces - so I don't see much of a difference now. I do feel my flexibility going a bit downhill, but that's what the exercises are for - guitar as well as yoga as well as daily walking. At any rate, classical guitar is a beautiful, fascinating and satisfying study and is constantly challenging. Not a bad way to keep the brain limber, I'd say.

John
"Art is not something which you can take or leave. It is a necessity of human life" -- Oscar Wilde

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Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:44 am

nm
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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Eberhard Mueller » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:33 am

jdart3000 wrote:...Daily scales (just a few), exercises and Giuliani 120 (only 5 or 6 at a time) with a metronome begun slowly and gradually increasing the tempo gives me more accuracy and confidence. This slow warm-up is even more necessary as we age to avoid injuries ...
John

I find it is possible to use warm up pieces instead, which works for me just as well as scales or exercises. I don't consider pieces to be exercises, per se and, playing them, less injurious to my practice time. (Time equals wear and tear!) I agree that slow and methodical is a good way to start the practice session. (Metronome? What's that? :) ) Well, sometimes, I remember what that thing is for! :D

Now, I'm not an absolutist and will occasionally play some 2 or 3 octave scales, just to make sure I don't forget them and also to check for fingernail condition.

That said, scales are very important for hand co-ordination and velocity development. I first played CG, and took lessons, in my late 30's and early 40's for approximately 6 years. Then I quit playing entirely for close to 30 years. During this "youthful" period, I did practice rapid scales with the metronome and enjoyed that immensely with no discomfort whatsoever and rewarded with impressive velocity. This just does not work for me anymore.
Jack Douglas wrote:...
Having recently reached the 70 age, I acquired the guitar listed and started taking lessons with a drill instructor teacher 76 years old. ...

Oh, no! A 76 year old drill instructor teacher! This would not work for me. :( I can't find a suitable teacher and lessons are so expensive, so I just soldier onward on my own. However, I did acquire a good foundation with a good teacher, at one time. I think I may now have discovered my inner teacher. He lets me work at a pace which I can handle and enjoy! :D I'm so pleased to hear that three score and ten types are both commencing guitar study and enjoying it!
Neil Douglas 2001 (German Spruce / German Maple)
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simonm
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby simonm » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:34 pm

@Larry.

if you happen to look in again on this lazarus thread it would be interesting to get an "update" from you. :-)

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Larry McDonald » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:35 pm

This IS a derelict thread! I had forgotten about it.
It still takes a bit to to warm up and the hands are still stiff. Not much has changed, although I think I am still improving as a musician. I didn't restart my bi-annual scale practice until Sunday, so I'll let you know how I do.

I found that as a freelance bass player, it took me longer to get into the night and play without memory slips as I got older, 1-2 songs at the most, though. (I always played from memory.) But I recently retired from that circuit; I looked like Professor Dumbledore up there. I had a friend with whom I played for decades in various freelance bands. A great guitarist, but he suddenly started forgetting stuff as he reached his mid 50's, sometimes at some very large venues of over 10,000 people. It became a real issue and the the artist management/agent of the firm I was working for had to let him go. This was a sad day. I was no where near this troubled.

I rarely have memory slips on CG, at least no more than when I was younger. In fact, I might be getting better!
Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Charles Mokotoff » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:21 pm

I've been dragging the music and stand out there when I play solo, something I never did before out of real concern of memory slips. David Russell my inspiration...I've had to refer to it a few times but, honestly, for the last two just recently, I didn't even glance at it. So now I am superstitious: if I don't have the music nearby, I will forget something.

On the good side, I seem to have come to terms with how to phrase and interpret music as never before, the gray hairs count for that I think

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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Jeffrey Armbruster » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:17 pm

Larry by any chance were you also breaking wooden boards with your forehead at the Dojo?
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Larry McDonald
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Re: Practicing scales and aging

Postby Larry McDonald » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:26 pm

Uhhh I can't ...uh....I can't remembulate.....uh...what was the question?
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor


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