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  • #3503 Reply

    GerriH
    Participant

    Hi Michael,
    Some days practice goes well and some days, not so much! Today was one of those not so good days…my tone sounded terrible, the violin sounded scratchy, no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to make anything sound okay. Does anyone else have days like that? I was wondering if you have any tricks for moving from that kind of day into a more productive one? Should I just walk away and come back later, or might you have some helpful hints! 🙂

    #3504 Reply

    Tracye
    Keymaster

    Oh yes…definitely. My only trick is to continue to practice.

    #3506 Reply

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster

    The biggest thing to understand is that it wouldn’t be normal if this didn’t happen. 🙂 The way that I explain it is that you will have one bad day for every two good days playing the violin. So 1/3 of the time you will feel like you can’t get anything done, and you are not playing as well as you know you can. This still happens to me after playing for 26 years. I just hope that it doesn’t happen on a day when I have to perform. As you get more advanced, I would say your standards get higher and your mistakes will become less noticeable to the average ear. But you will never avoid the two steps forward one step backwards philosophy. If you keep moving forward though, you will always make progress!

    One tip is to not look at progress day-to-day or even week-to-week. The best thing you can do to truly rate yourself is to look back 3-6 months to see how you have improved. Do you feel you are a lot better today compared to then? Does the piece that was very hard for you to play then a lot easier now? That is what you should always do, and looking anything short-term can be dangerous. 🙂

    Do you guys out there feel you are a lot better now compared to 3-6 months ago? Share your thoughts!

    #3511 Reply

    GerriH
    Participant

    Excellent point!!! I DEFINITELY think I play a lot better than I did 6 months ago!! Thanks, that really helps put it into perspective!

    #3642 Reply

    jodi
    Participant

    oh yes! great advice michael! a piece i started a few months ago i didn’t even know what to do with! it was overwhelming!-in fact i think i messaged you on fb about it lol. but i can play the whole thing now and it even goes up to eleventh position in the end! in fact, when i first started again back in about march i really didn’t think i’d remember anything i was taught a while ago. it came back to me and now i have also progressed. i usually do take short breaks though if i feel like i am not getting anywhere at that moment. i come back later. that usually works.

    #3654 Reply

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster

    Coming back later when you get frustrated is a really good habit to get into. Sometimes you will find later in the day you play way better than you did earlier!

    #4730 Reply

    Mackenzie Alldrin
    Participant

    When I get frustrated, I typically put the irritating piece away and play something really easy and fun for a while, until I calm down. Or, if I’m super upset, I’ll just take a break and walk away until I feel like I can face my instrument. 🙂 I always drink a glass of water when this happens. I don’t know why, it just makes me feel better somehow.

    Here’s a good article on making practice less boring, though some of the tips would work for frustration, too!

    http://violintutorpro.com/practice-tips/

    #11895 Reply

    William Bickerstaff
    Participant

    I walk away for a while then I come back and try again… that usually fixes the problem.

    #12851 Reply

    Christie Nicklay
    Participant

    If I’m having a bad practice session, I stop whatever I’m working and pull out my scales. Doing scales forces me to slow down and helps with my intonation and finger patterns. It’s like a reset switch. After 5 minutes or so of scales, I return to the piece that was causing me such grief. Usually, I’m able to get through it much easier…simply because my fingers and muscle memory have been tuned up. Other times, if I’m really frustrated, I do like Michael mentioned. I look back 6-8 months to what I was working on back then. I realize then that I’ve come a long way in every facet. Playing older, easier pieces also helps me realize how far I’ve come. Bad days are a given. Use them to your advantage by reflecting on the progress you’ve made and it will turn into a good day.

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