Practice time

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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lennarton
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Practice time

Post by lennarton » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:24 pm

When practice I have found that it is better for me to take an interval as soon mistakes is coming - than trying to push it harder. After a short break it is easier for me to practice the "problem" parts again? What is your opinion?
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Julian Ward
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Re: Practice time

Post by Julian Ward » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:39 pm

I think many methods work for different people. Frustration is the biggest killer... any means of avoiding getting to that stage are good!
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Christopher Langley
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Re: Practice time

Post by Christopher Langley » Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:55 pm

Yes!

I give myself 5 minutes to reset and absorb however much I feel I can. These little breaks are essential to me.

If I can still play it after a break, I've got it and I can cross it off.
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RossMoran87
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Re: Practice time

Post by RossMoran87 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:42 pm

Interesting points made. I like the idea that frustration is the biggest killer- it sums me up perfectly!

Intervalic small breaks definitely make sense and are something I will keep in mind!

ronjazz
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Re: Practice time

Post by ronjazz » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:43 am

I have found that 15-25 minutes of practicing a study or technique should be followed by a 5-10 minute break, then do a different study in a similar way. The time goes by more quickly, and in two hours one can work on 6 to 8 different techniques or pieces. For technical exercises, breaking those larger time sections into even smaller ones is also effective: for instance, with a particular scale or arpeggio pattern, start quite slowly and work for 2 minutes, then move the metronome speed up slightly and repeat two minutes, maybe 5 to 7 times before taking a break and changing the exercise. This is the "salami" technique, where we find that smaller, bite-sized pieces are easier to digest than eating the whole thing in one sitting. Again, the time flies by when doing this, and one can be greatly assisted by having a metronome program with a timer attached, as I have in my phone. I also start at a particular tempo, say, 45 bpm, moving up 5 clicks every 2 minutes, ending at, say, 70 bpm, for 2 or 3 days in a row, then I push the start tempo up to 50 and the end to 75, etc. Seems very effective, because it's really easier to maintain focus for 2 minutes than for 10.
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mvisscher
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Re: Practice time

Post by mvisscher » Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:57 pm

Good answer by ronjazz. I've been advised to take breaks in similar intervals but to add a contrasting activity into the break time. Something that also exercises your hand-eye coordination seems to work well, like playing darts, billiards or juggling for instance. If you're still fit enough for it, trampoline jumping can work well.

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Luuttuaja
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Re: Practice time

Post by Luuttuaja » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:37 pm

I usually practice about 20 minutes and then have a 5 minute break. That way I'm able to keep myself focused. For me practicing the same thing for 20 minutes is normally the maximum I would do. Normally my playing is considerably better after the break.

mattwhiteguitar
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Re: Practice time

Post by mattwhiteguitar » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:40 pm

All good recommendations! I would just like to mention a brilliant book which covers much more than its title suggests and is an absorbing read: ‘The Art of Practising’ by Madeline Bruser.

Tim22
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Re: Practice time

Post by Tim22 » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:09 pm

I agree that little and often seems to be the best approach and that yes, once you're getting frustrated, with something, further repetition is largely fruitless. I find that during those breaks, sometimes minutes, sometimes hours or even days, something seems to happen in my brain. I don't know, the muscle memory matures or becomes somehow more embedded and then when I return to the piece I can play it better than when I left off.
Being kind of relaxed and in the right frame of mind to practise is also important. Practice often doesn't go so well if I'm tired. Which is tricky, because I'm usually tired...
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Nikos_Greek
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Re: Practice time

Post by Nikos_Greek » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:48 pm

Another aspect of practicing effectively is to find the right answer to the question how slowly? Often, I find myself practicing at the wrong tempo, too fast. Then I return to very slow, extremely slow and there is when learning from a technical point of view takes place. Scales, pieces, etudes, everything has to be played at super slow motion tempo for most of the study time. When I return to more normal tempos, I see that technique has consolidated and mistakes that persist eliminated.

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Re: Practice time

Post by ronjazz » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:11 pm

I'd also like to add this info: many of the great guitarists warm up for as much as two hours before a performance: Paci de Lucia did, and Pat Metheny does, for example. Philip Hii proposes that you don't really start to feel what the hands can do until the 3rd and 4th hours of practicing! In order to maintain concentration, it's probably wise to do the first hour of your practice with very easy, already learned patterns, and then get into the newer techniques or musical phrases. I've found that the 3rd hour is really most productive, with some diminishing returns after that unless you really do learn how to break and rest both body and mind.
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Tyrobi
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Re: Practice time

Post by Tyrobi » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:17 am

ronjazz wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:11 pm
In order to maintain concentration, it's probably wise to do the first hour of your practice with very easy, already learned patterns, and then get into the newer techniques or musical phrases.
Great point about starting the routine slowly and easily at first. I also find that by starting at a slow tempo, it build the confidence up before dealing with a more challenging pars of the practice time.

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Frank Nordberg
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Re: Practice time

Post by Frank Nordberg » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:02 am

lennarton wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:24 pm
When practice I have found that it is better for me to take an interval as soon mistakes is coming - than trying to push it harder. After a short break it is easier for me to practice the "problem" parts again? What is your opinion?
There's no definite answer to that. It is often a good idea to take a break when you're stuck. It's very often a good idea to take a short break when the going gets tough. Just a few sconds to stand up, stretch out a bit and get the blood flowing again can be enough. Sometimes it's good to take a longer break and give your subconciousness time to process the problem.

But endurance - both mental and physical - and the ability to keep going when the going gets tough are important skills for a musician to develop. So don't do it all the time.

Ceciltguitar
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Re: Practice time

Post by Ceciltguitar » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:57 pm

My experience is similar to the perspective of Phillip Hii, but usually only when the practice / playing sets are of one hour duration or less, with each session separated by at least an hour of NOT playing guitar.

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Practice time

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:29 pm

Studies have apparently shown that interleaved practice not only alleviates the frustration, but also helps with creating and then recall from long term memory. Interleaved practice is practicing one thing for a short time, then practicing something else, then something else. That could be another phrase, another piece, whatever. Then a break and repeat, maybe in a different order.

As soon as I start getting blocked (about 5-10 min) I try to move on to another phrase. Seems to keep me sitting down at practice longer, makes the time go fast, and if we believe the studies, maybe my memory building and recall is more effecient.

http://pianopracticeassistant.com/interleaved-practice/
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