dtoh wrote:Suppose though that through correct practice technique, you can get to point A in 1 year instead of 2 years, and to point B in 3 years instead of 6 years, and to point B in 5 years instead of 10 years, wouldn't you then be willing to defer the gratification of playing something beautifully.
I don't know, I can't help thinking I'd be deferring the gratification until after I'm dead. After point C there is a point D, then a point E and so on ad infinitum. If there was a deal with the devil to be done, where I was absolutely guaranteed technical mastery in 5 years, in exchange for a following a very boring practice regimen, then yes I might go for that. But real life is less certain, and come to think of it, Beelzebub is not necessarily to be trusted.
If the point is to defer in order to get more in the long run, you also have to ask how much more enjoyment there is in playing a hard piece well, as compared to an easy piece? So far I have found that the difference is not as much as I would have guessed.
dtoh wrote:I'm in the middle of my second attempt to learn classical guitar, and I'm trying a "defer the pleasure" approach this time. I've noticed a couple of things.
First... If I had attempted to work on any given piece a year ago, it would have taken me a couple of months to play it as well as I am now able to play the same piece with literally only an hour or two of work.
Second.... without having first developed the necessary finger independence needed for a specific piece, trying to perfect a piece results in a lot bad habits. Specifically a) using the LH thumb and other LH fingers in order to lever the LH finger required for a note onto the required fret quickly, b) a lot of dragging and scraping your fingers along the string when releasing rather than cleanly lifting your fingers off the strings, and c) poor RH strokes because you're so busy concentrating on the LH before the RH has become natural and automatic.
Most likely I was nit-picking about it being the sole goal and it is more a question of balancing the need to improve with the need to play for the sake of it, aka when exactly do you leave off a piece. My answer to this is not "when you can play it perfectly", because I know that's never going to happen - even if "perfectly" only means "as well as [insert name of favourite concert guitarist]". I think you do run into specific technical problems - like some of the finger issues you mention - that are not going to improve by going on practising that specific piece. I am happy to let those passages go. I think my answer to the question of when to leave off is "when I can consistently play the passages that are within my technical ability cleanly and with my chosen articulation, dynamics and phrasing". That said, the progress you describe is impressive.
Ultimately I think the inner game is the most important thing, and what keeps that healthy is likely to vary a lot from person to person. I got to where I am now after several months trying to move on as soon as I felt I'd hit the point of diminishing returns, but this meant I was spending all my time battling through pieces and quite possibly destined to do so for the rest of my days. With my new approach, I am less concerned when a piece has to stay in for an extra lesson and enjoy playing pieces we are not looking at in lessons, even though I know that that time could be put towards getting the next one ticked off.
2handband wrote:Especially when you have to learn a whole show in 12 hours because somebody's guitar player got thrown in the drunk tank and they need a stand-in...