Tag Archives for " practice "
At the start of my organ lesson on June 11, I shared with Michael how depressed I felt after the previous lesson. That lesson felt like rock bottom.
I told him about taking a break. The break was 11 days off. Then I practiced for 3 days and took another 7 days off. This is the longest break I have taken since I started organ lessons in 2009.
I also decided to practice how he has been telling me practice for years. I’d been doing the insanity approach for the past few years: practicing in the same way, hoping for a different result at my lesson.
This meant I needed to make a sound along while playing. Not just in my head. Not just relying on the metronome to make the sound for me.
This is a very interesting question. I have been paying him for advice as my teacher for over six years. At most (if not all) lessons, he encouraged me to make a sound while I played.
* In the past, I was making the sound in my head and thought it would be the same effect.
* The metronome felt like a suitable replacement.
* I would try it for a day or two, and then revert back into my old habits.
* I didn’t want to admit that I needed to make a sound to be able to play on tempo
* I had tried making a sound on my own (without using the metronome at the same time), only to discover at a lesson that my sound making wasn’t reliable.
* Feeling embarrassed to make sounds in front of Michael at my lessons.
* Maybe a part of me didn’t believe it would work for me
I practiced making a sound aloud along with the metronome. I needed the metronome to keep me honest. I also recorded myself much more often, with and without the metronome.
Instead of practicing 6 pieces, I focused on the 3 hymns and the Bach prelude.
Turns out, practicing how Michael said worked! I could play on tempo at my lesson! I played “Angels From the Realms of Glory” very well and it was checked off of my list. I still need to keep working on the other 2 hymns, but I am making progress. Michael could tell a difference.
Given my progress, I had the courage to play “Crown Him With Many Crowns” by memory for Michael. I have been playing this piece for warm up at home. He said it was at 95% and gave me a couple of suggestions for improvement.
Then I shared my goal of remembering how to play the pieces I had learned once but I have forgotten how to play. Back in January, a Facebook Memory reminded me of Nun Bitten Wir by Buxtehude.
I have been slowly relearning this piece. I played it for Michael. He said I should work towards polishing and memorizing it.
That way if I am ever at a church or somewhere with an organ, I’d be able to sit down and be able to play something without having music with me.
Michael was also very kind. When I got home I check Nun Bitten Wir with the metronome and I was way off!!!
If you are doing something and it’s not working, change it up! Resit the insanity method and you also do not need to wait for rock bottom.
I am still struggling with syncopation. On April 30, I met Michael for another organ lesson. I haven’t played the organ since then. Tomorrow, I will get back on the bench.
My expectations going into the lesson were very high. I had been working on my mindset for a few weeks. I had practiced every day in the week leading up to my lesson.
I knew the classical pieces would need to be repeated as they were not strong enough yet. And I had underestimated the complexity of “Herr; num selbst den Wagen halt”. It looked easy!
I’ve been working on “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending” for over a year. I felt like crying during my lesson, but I managed to hold back the tears. It was better than my previous lesson, so that is a positive, but the syncopation still needs work. Michael gave me a suggestion for a different way to practice. I am hoping this will help me to get it right!
I decided to take a break after my lesson. I was going to have a busy week working on my book and we had a trip planned to visit the Mammoth Caves. This seemed like a good time for a break.
My hope is that taking a break will help me to change some of my practice habits more easily. I need to stay committed to different practice techniques for more than a few days.
I need to make a habit of recording myself even when I think it sounds okay when I play it. I will need to rely on the metronome to help me learn to feel the beat. We noticed that if I made an audible sound for sub-dividing, my tempo was better than when I just did sub-dividing in my head. I will practice making an audible sound along with the metronome.
I am also reading The Power of Neuorplasticity now. I will learn how I can reprogram the “programs” in my brain. Perhaps choosing different thoughts will lead to better organ playing. Time will tell.
Even with the current hardship of syncopation, I still believe that I can learn to play pieces in tempo. I am not giving up!
I haven’t thought of a good question to go along with this post, so I will just thank you for your support!
At the end of last year, I discovered that I am not able to easily play most of the pieces I have learned.
My brother’s family came for about 4 and a half hours away to visit family in the area on New Year’s weekend. Knowing that they were coming, I wanted to be prepared if they asked to come over and hear me play something.
I have been taking lessons for six years so I should be able to put on a mini-concert at my home on demand. Usually, only my cats are around when I am practicing and they do not seem to mind hearing the same assigned pieces over and over again.
I attempted to play the Christmas hymns that I learned in prior years. The next piece I tried was “Oh Love, How Deep”, which I once knew well enough to put on YouTube. The muscle memory was not as strong as it once was! I struggled to play them through.
I have developed a habit of not playing pieces after they get approved at a lesson. I am usually ready to move on to the next newly assigned piece.
Since I’m not performing anywhere on a regular basis, I hadn’t really considered what would happen if I stopped playing what I’ve learned. Well, I found out the hard way!
My goal new is to form a new habit where I play already learned pieces on a regular basis, at least once a week. As a result, I will be able to play more than what I am currently learning if someone stops by and wants to hear me play.
I am currently reading “Better Than Before” about forming habits. One suggestion from the book is to giving new habit a rhyme:
An idea expressed in rhyme, seems more convincing that the same idea paraphrased in a non-rhyme, which is why “Haste makes waste”, is more compelling than “Haste fosters error”.
So far, the rhyme I have come up with is “Stay Fresh Refresh”. However, that sounds like it could be a tag line for a deodorant commercial!
What suggestions do you have for the rhyme that will help my new practice habit stick?