Practice Fatigue

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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rogerleec
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Practice Fatigue

Post by rogerleec » Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:06 pm

After practicing steady for a certain length of time, do you find yourself starting to make more mistakes instead of getting better?
For instance, after about an hour and fifteen minuites of practice I start makeing more and more mistakes :x I must put the guitar down and come
back a couple hours later and then do another session of practice.
Roger Christiansen

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Kent
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Kent » Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:53 pm

If you are practicing over an hour without a break, this could be trouble for you if you are noticing more mistakes due to fatigue. Many guitarists practice longer than an hour with no problems, but this could be from using proper technique, age, content of study material etc.

It has been stated over and over on this forum that it is the quality of your study time, not the amount of time that will benefit you the most. Try taking a 10-15 minute break after 30 minutes of practice. It is good that you are aware of your performance related to study time, because you can make changes that will allow you to enjoy classical guitar as you get older, without the possible tragedy of physical handicaps associated with long term stress.

Taking more breaks will reduce your mistakes!

Dave1947

Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Dave1947 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:47 am

I agree with Kent, also when you come back from your breaks try some variation in what you're playing. I start out with scales and spider walking up and down the neck to get the muscles pumped then I'll break for a few minutes and do Bach then another break and Brazilian, etc.
I've also found that if I stay in shape and do an aerobic exercise before I play it'll make the complex parts easier and will improve my endurance as well.

soundknight21

Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by soundknight21 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:14 am

I found that playing for too long caused my arms to burn. My tendons became weak and I lacked the energy to play consistently. Muscle burn is good for exercise but too much can cause damage, such as R S I. Removealists are trained to spread out their work load. Mixing heavy or difficult work with light and easy work over your entire practice regime assist you to go the distance.

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daveto

Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by daveto » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:04 pm

I find I have this problem quite frequently - I'll sort of "peak" during my practice and after that I'll begin to make mistakes. Often, the mistakes are really silly ones, which makes them even more frustrating!

I've started to watch for this and, when it begins to happen, I either put the guitar away for a break or I play something different for a little while. The risk, I find, is that I'll begin to learn the mistake instead of the correct piece (I've done this so many times ...) If I take a break, even a short one, I find I don't get frustrated and I don't "learn" the mistake - when I come back to the piece, I am usually in a clearer frame of mind and better focused.

- Dave

Supperconductor
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Supperconductor » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:47 pm

I've only recently started practicing regularly. The first few evenings of daily practice definitely made me tired, mentally and physically. Three weeks in, the fatigue is less and less of an issue but I also don't practice for more than two hours total and make sure to take breaks every 40 minutes or so. A comfy chair also helps (and sure beats a dagger up the you know what).
- Kam

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Jeffrey.C
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Jeffrey.C » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:30 am

Feeling physically fatigued from practicing is a sign of too much tension in your body. You don't need to tense very much at all when you play, just enough so you can get the sound that you want. Feeling physically fatigued from practice or playing means you are forcing motions and sounds which you shouldn't need to do. Playing an instrument is already hard enough, don't fight the guitar or yourself!
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." - Gustav Mahler

pmiklitz
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by pmiklitz » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:19 am

rogerleec wrote:After practicing steady for a certain length of time, do you find yourself starting to make more mistakes instead of getting better?
For instance, after about an hour and fifteen minuites of practice I start makeing more and more mistakes :x I must put the guitar down and come
back a couple hours later and then do another session of practice.
I think taking regular short breaks (e.g. 15 to 30 minutes every 45 to 60 minutes) is important for avoiding fatigue. Personally, I'm a "slow starter", i.e. it takes me about an hour to warm up before I'm able to produce acceptable results, even when starting with simple pieces, so taking long breaks is not an option for me, because I would have to start warming up all over again. I sometimes practice for four hours a day on the weekend, practicing pieces with increasing difficulty and tend to get better and better during a practice session.

I admire musicians who can just pick up the guitar and play with hardly any warm-up at all, but they may be rare?

Cheers,

Peter
Dringt durch des Aberglaubens Nacht, die Euch zu finstern Köpfen macht. Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715 - 1769)

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vinhngo
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by vinhngo » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:32 am

It's kinda strange but I don't usually put the guitar down during a practice session. Instead, after about 30 to 45 mins, I usually stop practicing the piece I'm working on and play something just for fun for like 5 to 10 mins :) So most of the time people may catch me playing some Roland Dyens while practicing Spanish dance no5. According to me it's still some kind of break to the mind while I don't have to warm up again after the break. Also i think I'm more likely to stop practicing altogether after the "normal" break :oops:
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barry haywood
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by barry haywood » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:31 am

[quote="pmiklitz"]
I admire musicians who can just pick up the guitar and play with hardly any warm-up at all, but they may be rare?


I agree.
I once attended a concert given by my old teacher, the late Robin Pearson. His arrival was delayed by fog but when he did turn up he went immediately on stage, tuned up, and delivered an evening of beautiful music.
In discussion he told me that his usual "warm up" consisted of mainly sight reading.
After my preliminary warm up, I usually warm up further during the first couple of pieces I play :D
If you don't grow up, you'll never grow old.

jkircoff

Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by jkircoff » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:33 pm

I tend to practice for about 20 minutes at a time, then I take a 5 minute break. I find this relaxes the muscles and the mind, and helps keep practice from becoming monotonous.

choctawchas
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by choctawchas » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:33 am

[quote="pmiklitz
I admire musicians who can just pick up the guitar and play with hardly any warm-up at all, but they may be rare?
i can sit down, pickup the guitar,tune quickly and begin playing.

myself and all of the teachers i work with must be able to do this in order to deliver a lesson.

all it takes is making it a regular part of your practice strategy.
Oliver Moore 2012
Miles Henderson Smith 2012

Praeludium
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Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Praeludium » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:41 am

Begin playing what ? A third grade student piece or Carter's Changes ? (:

Pmiklitz, you're maybe just too much tense and you maybe have an awkward posture or way of positioning your arms and your hands ?
I find it strange to need this much time to warm up. Beginning with an easy piece is understandable, but one hour of warm up ? That's the amount of time I practice per session haha, I could never do that.
Cette dernière trahison m'a été également reprochée. Ce que je trouve à répondre, c'est:"merde aux conventions!"

- Ligeti

Neptune

Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Neptune » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:51 pm

jkircoff wrote:I tend to practice for about 20 minutes at a time, then I take a 5 minute break. I find this relaxes the muscles and the mind, and helps keep practice from becoming monotonous.
I myself love this routine too as it keeps me 'in the game'. During my little breaks I like to do stretches. I think stretching cannot be emphasized enough!

Additionally, having specific goals in mind for a total practice day are important too. It's much easier to divide your day into several sessions.
Personally, I am working on an hour and fifteen minute concert. This makes my practice quite structured since I know what pieces I have to play.
Depending on where I am at in my preparation for concert (sightreading, running learned pieces, memorizing, drilling specific technical difficulties, etc),
I prefer to break every 20 to 30 min for a few minutes of stretching, relaxing and so forth. After an hour or so of practice total, I like to take a bigger break. Go get something to eat, read some, kill time, whatever. An ideal practice day to me would be three separate hour sessions. That can usually get me through my concert material, my specific goal. I do not waste time reviewing pieces that I am not using for the concert. Not only does this routine seem to help keep my fatigue at bay, but it has built strength in my playing, much more stamina. Feels good to fall into a routine that works!

Brunot

Re: Practice Fatigue

Post by Brunot » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:02 pm

I always do pauses in my playing, depending on the difficulty of the repertoire I am playing. I make them very brisk, I grab a cup of cool water, relax my muscles then stretch them a bit and jump right back so I do not lose the momentum.

Actually, since I got a bit better in terms of technique, I started to think more of the music and less about the body and I can hear it in my playing. However, I still keep track of things because it is easy to get tense if harder part comes in. I draw a pair of glasses in my scores so I don't forget to check my position, tension or whatever needs something like that. It is actually a great help, especially when I am practicing on the double bass and I am after a harder position shift.

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