HomeForumsProgress ReviewI havent been playing.. whats up with that?

This topic contains 23 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  safetyblitz 6 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #21701

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Progress? What progress? I somehow hit an empty patch. Today’s 5/11 and the last day I played was 4/20. (No it wasn’t because of 4/20. lol) So big deal right? But why did it happen? It’s like a timewarp worm hole. How did 3 weeks go by, basically without playing? My amp has remained on.. my guitar has remained out, although it has probably been sad, maybe furious. Well, I took a trip to Mexico but that was only for a week. maybe my song list just got super boring, it got stale, so that’s it? I’m guessing the ‘non-playing twilight zone’ has happened to you guys as well. Anyways I’m going to play right now. And get my notebook out again to log stuff. And turn off my internet. Do you guys notice anything particular when entering this non-playing twilight-zone? It’s kind of silly really.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21702

    Sarah Spisak
    Keymaster

    Um- you left your amp on while you went to Mexico and 4/20 had nothing to do with any of this???  😉

  • #21703

    j dogg39
    Participant

    Good call, Sarah. I was going to bring up that same point 😆.

  • #21704

    safetyblitz
    Participant

    Progress? What progress? I somehow hit an empty patch. Today’s 5/11 and the last day I played was 4/20. (No it wasn’t because of 4/20. lol) So big deal right? But why did it happen? It’s like a timewarp worm hole. How did 3 weeks go by, basically without playing?

    It’s because you don’t have a smartphone programmed with a scheduled daily reminder to pick up your guitar.

  • #21706

    JL8112
    Participant

    I go thru the non playing twilight zone too. Sometimes its boredom playing the same thing all the time…boring…lol. Try chaning the routine, try challenging yourself. Sometimes its good to step away from the guitar when you come back your enthusiasim will be greater.

  • #21712

    grondak
    Participant

    See how good your rudiments are… go with some scales, go with some simple boxes. Improve them a bit by observing the difference between yourself and ideal.  Put on some Metallica because their tour recently started with a BANG in Baltimore.

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #21713

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    LOL very funny you guys 😀 😛

    It’s because you don’t have a smartphone programmed with a scheduled daily reminder to pick up your guitar.

    I’d have to start with: I dont have a smartphone, so..

    Those reminder habits dont really work for me though. It must be a personality thing. They never have. I’ve had reminder apps or string-around-the-finger-whatevers for various things “buy bread on the way home” and I just disregard them. If I make lists of todos I just ignore the list, this could go on for years and mostly keep bumping things down the list. I have a popup on my mac Reminder app that says “Practice blah blah” and it sends a notification to the desktop every morning at 7 am but I just click close on it because it annoys me when it pops up and I dont want to interrupt what I’m doing that moment. These reminder style fixes don’t seem to work for me. I bet if I set up Siri to remind me based on geolocation I still wouldn’t do things. I get stuff done, but not from these types of motivators.. I’m rarely late for deadlines (doesn’t imply I cram to get stuff done either).. in contrast I’ve had girlfriends who make lists, do the things on the lists, cross items off, and it seems to work great for them, so I don’t know, maybe it either just works or doesn’t work. Hmm I don’t remember if I’ve had coworkers do this type of habit successfully either but I have seen managers do the reminder/checklist thing seemingly successfully. Does that imply it’s an innate personality thing?

    The problem isnt that I dont have guitar stuff to work on, just that somehow I entered … bee do bee do … the Non Practice Zone … bee do bee do, bee do bee do..

    The one thing that works great for me is the progress log, if I keep that out all the time, see what I’ve listed down for the past several days and weeks, then I’m eager to put in the hours and add to the log. I’ll just make sure to keep it out all the time. Sounds bizarre, a bit crazy.

    Hmm. A while back Doug had a great youtube lesson about fear, that might have more to do with it, than I probably realize.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21715

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Here’s a snip from an email one of my vocal mates sent me on Wednesday. His practice discipline is much worse than mine and so, as he again suggested we could go perform somewhere, I put my foot down and insisted that if he wanted to go for it again, he’d have to put in “at least 40 minutes of practice a day no excuses”.. plus review our previous recordings which I sent out.. part of the reply:

    I would have loved to have been at that open mic bar with you and two more! What a great opportunity, and much FUN! I hope we can make that happen sometime in the future. I also would find value in reviewing some of your previous recordings and honestly critiquing them….a good way to stimulate improvement. I doubt however that I will ever spend 40 minutes/day, EVERY day practicing. I just am not that disciplined! I sometimes spend 90 minutes or more practicing when I HAVE TIME, but then skip a day or two. I always spend at least an hour on Monday or Tuesday to be sure I am prepared for Tuesday night. I too want to produce the best product I can, but I want it to be fun….not forced drudgery! But I certainly agree that we have much room to improve, and that it takes dedicated practicing to do that!

    Its an important type of excuse, this idea of practice being forced drudgery.

    I have in my progress log regarding our previous performance, logged every day for multiple weeks, notes like: “vocal setlist. 240 mins” Meaning I practiced for that long, in a straight run, for consecutive days, to get ready..

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21716

    grondak
    Participant

    Here’s an entry from my practice log:

    Day #55, 8 May
    When I start/end: 9:46PM-11PM
    Pomodoros?: YES
    Today’s goals: Demons’ Waltz, more Bendy Bits
    Accomplished goals: Demons’ Waltz C and D, more Bendy Bits from Go Your Own Way’s Solo, Livin’ After Midnight Solo, pull-offs
    Quality of Playing:7 approaching 8. Lots of experimentation and repetition tonight
    Quality of Practice: 8
    Tomorrow’s Goals: Demons’ Waltz, more GYOW Bendy Bits

    It’s always fun to practice, for me.  I set simple goals and can meet them.  I never look at practice as drudgery but as an opportunity to learn a song or improve a capability.  It’s okay that we’re different. I have real sympathy for you because I spent ~20 years “not practicing.”  Please don’t let that happen to you. That’s be a waste of a perfectly good superblonde
    Tony

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #21717

    Sarah Spisak
    Keymaster

    I love to practice.  It’s always fun and relaxing, and I would do it more if I had the time.  I just try to do it every chance I get!

    I don’t keep a log or have any goals.  Different things work for different people!  🙂

  • #21718

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Doug explained briefly to me about his golf practicing. Its crazy. 😮 No wonder he’s also good at guitar.

    I bet that comparing and contrasting methods of guitar practice, to other things that people do (like golf) would be very insightful.

    If I work on a design problem for work (well, if I am working), it is also crazy. Once I get into it, I will literally not get up from a chair for 10 hrs maybe more. (Except quick bathroom breaks) I won’t even eat, if I get really focused. This continues for an entire week.. (well, eventually I stop skipping food and start chowing) I dont think this work style is a benefit for guitar. It seems, more ADHD type “short time blocks and switch to different thing” is a benefit for guitar. But I’m just guessing.

    With vocals it might be different I noticed that I only really made good gains after I started working for >1 hour nonstop. Because it seems those muscles need to really get warmed up at least for a beginner. After 3 hrs of practice then the results seemed to be much better for whatever I was working on. Maybe that’s because it takes longer to isolate what’s wrong with vocals, whereas with guitar it’s easier to see immediately “geez my pinky is flying too far” etc. Also with remembering lyrics it seems critical to practice every day no matter what, to get the memory going. Which is why I was insisting to my vocal mates, 40 minutes per day no excuses.. remembering words while trying to sing properly is just actually very difficult somehow..

    I also like the timer. If I’m using my progress log it assumes I’m using a timer to log the amount of time I spend on each topic. Grondak it’s interesting that you rate quality as you go along. I’m not sure I could do that with myself.

    My current goal has been open mic again. There’s a local bass player who also runs a new open mic nite at a small bar. He’s a former tech company guy who finally went into music full time after retiring, local cover bands and a small originals band with a recent local EP out. It seems he has been steadily becoming more productive in music and he has a really professional attitude. He’s just one of the guys I’ve made friends with from hanging out at open mic’s regularly… it’s hard to keep making excuses “nah not tonight I didn’t bring my guitar” when guys like this regularly ask “so you playing tonight?” ahh, 😀 umm.. gotta get myself in shape.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21721

    grondak
    Participant

    Pomodoro Technique : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique  25 min on, 5 min off, repeat 4 times, then take an extended break. Repeat.

    Small goals: I work about 10 min on each idea within a Pomodoro. Next Pomodoro, I vary the order but stick to the goal.

    I practice 2-3 pomodoros nightly and 1 pomodoro in the morning for neuroplasticity’s sake.

    I drive towards goals but if I wander, I wander for fun. The goals are a target for tonight but not a necessity.  I’m midway between “I’m going to play that dang song before I go to bed!” and Sarah’s approach.

    Other sample quality comments:

    Quality of Playing: 7 (still inconsistent 16ths that I didn’t address fully)
    Quality of Playing: 7, improving. Probably the other 8 playings were 6s now that I know what a 7 feels like
    Quality of Playing: 7 (relative to where I could be, because all other focus was on rhythm but this was on clean articulation)

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #21724

    Igglepud
    Participant

    When I get that way it generally has nothing to do with guitar. My life gets out of balance and my playing suffers as a result.

    Next time, take your guitar to Mexico.

    MY ROCK IS FIERCE!!!

  • #21726

    grondak
    Participant

    Yeah, iggy, I think I have had similar problems when something’s been out of whack in life, too.  I cast aside those things that are important to me and get in a rut.  I notice it a bit too late.  I break out of it by taking a deep breath and getting something going. The rest follows afterwards.

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #21727

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Our group studies the processes of motor skill learning in the context of music performance. We’re particularly interested in how the brain encodes, modifies, and retrieves procedural memories in music and in related skills. Most recently we have focused on the behavioral effects of sleep and interference in the processes of memory consolidation under varying learning conditions. https://cml.music.utexas.edu/research-programs-in-the-center/skill-learning-and-procedural-memory/

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21728

    grondak
    Participant

    http://guitarlessonforum.com/guitar-forums/reply/5482 mentioned The Bulletproof Musician and thus Dr Noa Kagayama. He’s done a few articles on neuroplasticity.  I have greatly benefited from sleep-based consolidation.  The studies at the site you pointed out are pretty darn keen. Thanks!

     

    Tony

    Metal Method is helping me across the board!

  • #21729

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    sleep-based consolidation

    That means take naps 😀 😀 who can argue with that advice? LOL

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21733

    safetyblitz
    Participant

    Further to my earlier reply (note, I hope my tone isn’t off here, my intention is to help, not to scold):

    People find the time to do the things they feel like doing. Years ago, I took a study skills course that was summarized “The key to academic success is to ability to do things you don’t want to do, when you don’t want to do them, and do them well.”

    When you decline to commit to performing an activity within a particular timeframe, you are de facto giving yourself permission not to do it, and delegating the decision about whether or not it will get done to the whims and attention of your future self.

    “Progress? What progress? I somehow hit an empty patch.” There’s no “somehow” about it. During every waking moment during that patch, you either didn’t have the resources available to work on guitar, or you valued other uses of your time more than working on guitar. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. If you are OK with the lack of progress during that time, no biggie. But the fact that it happened during that timespan means that it can happen again in any given future timespan. Again, you may be OK with that. If you’re not OK with that, then you need to take action to influence “future you” make the choices that “today you” wants him to make. One of the best ways to do that is to habituate yourself into some kind of simple daily ritual that forces you to conciously decide what you’re going to do that day. It’s not specifically about calendars, or to-do lists, or smartphones, or charts, or whiteboards: it’s about developing a daily habit to perform one crucial task every day: sanity-checking your plan for the day against your long-term goals. It could involve a written list of goals, or it could involve just the one simple question: “what is the best use of my time today?”. The more goals you have, the harder it is to keep track of them if they aren’t written down.

    Things like “work projects” are less likely to get overlooked because we know there are external forces that will eventually hold us accountable (boss, or customers). For personal goals, the only person who will hold you accountable is yourself. It is easier for “future you” to keep his commitments to “today you” if “today you” writes those commitments down. Without a written commitment (and better yet, a concrete *plan*), it is much more likely that long-term personal goals will be continually put off, or forgotten.

    This time, you held yourself accountable to your past self 3 weeks later. Next time maybe it will be 1 week. Or six months. Or a year. Or 10 years.

    Of course, “make progress on guitar” is a far less crucial goal than something like “show my kids I love them” or “quit smoking”. And all of those goals need further clarification: What are some specific things are you going to do to show your kids you love them? When? How often? How will you remind yourself to do those things? When are you going to be done with smoking? How are you going to quit? Are you going to talk to your Doctor about it? Do you need to make an appointment?

    People struggle with following through on those kinds of goals for the same reason most people don’t stick to their New Year’s Resolutions: no matter how good your intentions are at the beginning, humans are creatures of habit. If you don’t like your current habits, you need to make a conscious effort to create new habits, and you can’t trust “future you” to stick to the new routine intuitively. Declining to make a plan to hold “future you” accountable for his choices is a recipe for falling back into old habits. If “daily” review doesn’t work for you, trying making just a ONCE PER WEEK fifteen minute appointment with yourself to review your personal goals and give yourself an informal progress report. And pick out an ACTUAL DATE AND TIME for that fifteen minute appointment, and actually keep it. Maybe schedule it to immediately follow or precede some other activity that you already know you will do every week: that will help make the “fifteen minute appointment” itself become more habitual.

  • #21740

    Sean
    Participant

    WOW!

    Safetyblitz this was fantastic! I myself have felt similar to Superblonde lately. I was moved by your post and read it to my wife. Her intuitive comment was simply it’s Awesome! but do YOU believe it? That is the million dollar question isn’t it?
    The answer is yes I do and I will try to use these techniques not just for guitar but projects that have started the spiral out of control for me.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    Tell me and I will forget ,show me and I'll remember, involve me and I'll understand

  • #21741

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    That’s the spirit. Good summary. In my case it seems my trip threw off my normal schedule and I didnt notice for an extra week, my normal ‘get up make oatmeal grab the guitar’ habit. Two ways to try to keep on track would be, when tidying up before a trip still keep my progress log out, and when coming back, do a few mins of practice that same day. I think just those basic things would cover it. My progress log seems to fit a lot of those goal-making and review-yourself type aims, since I look back at it to see where I’ve been and where I’m going.

    One part about motivation though, my recent playing goal has been to play with better finger efficiency / better form (with the end result of faster playing speed), that just seems hard to measure and so it is a bit frustrating and unsatisfying. It is definitely much harder to remain motivated with those types of exercises for me. Even if I try to spice them up, like, do them over a cool backing track etc.

    When I get that way it generally has nothing to do with guitar. My life gets out of balance and my playing suffers as a result.

    Next time, take your guitar to Mexico.

    I had pondered how to bring a guitar but I was on a race to Mexico (literally not figuratively 😀 ). Hah, yes, I was racing to mexico after 4/20 but it had nothing to do with 4/20 😛 Hah. Anyways, first it would be impossible to play during the race (we were on 4 hr sleep shifts since racing never stops) and the prep/post race days it would have been like trying to play while on a roller coaster (not to mention it’s bad form to bring excess gear weight on a race). This particular race was a bit brutal, the first time I heard others making real emergency distress calls, some other team had someone get a broken arm, many teams had to drop out, etc. Quite the wild ride.

    But I did think about bringing a guitar.. an important strategy I think. And anyway it would have been fun to do a bit of playing pre/post race if a guitar were around. Most of the guys on race teams are boring as hell. Seriously all they do is sit around and drink beer. They don’t even talk about interesting things while doing so. So a way to entertain myself would have been groovy.

    There is that one brand of guitar where the neck detaches so it “folds” up. A guitar’s dimensions get really small and packable if it folds.

    So far I’ve had success practicing on a car long road trip (sitting in the back seat doing scales), and on a long train trip (seat next to me being empty). On a plane I dont think it could be done these days unless it was a tiny plane also with empty next seat. On a small boat it would be somewhat possible as long as it were a cheap guitar because of the humidity. On a big boat it would also be easy to play. So playing while traveling is definitely possible.

    One more thing is the point Doug made in one of his recent youtube videos. Something like, “if you’re not moving ahead every day, you’re actually moving backwards” … 🙁

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21746

    Sean
    Participant

    Superblonde,
    Do you think you may simply have to much on your plate right now? Or maybe look for inspiration from a different style of music? You seem to be a very motivated guy.

    Tell me and I will forget ,show me and I'll remember, involve me and I'll understand

  • #21748

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Yea I didnt mention the hrs per day Ive been putting on vocals (often 6 hrs or more in a day). So my hours are in practice just not guitar practice. I sent an official break-up email to the vocal group on Monday. One of the reasons being, that having to make my own study materials is just waay too time consuming, and I thought they would be providing that stuff. (They dont, and the other guys dont properly learn their parts.. is there a connection? Yes.) Each song we were singing, I’d spend hours transcribing into MIDI to practice singing along with piano. A few weeks ago I even looked into software which would OCR sheet music directly into music notation software.. to eliminate the busywork of me transcribing stuff.. all the while thinking, “geez, I shouldnt have to be spending time on this.” I’m correct.. I shouldnt have to spend the time. Now I have more time 😀 cause I won’t be doing it anymore. 😛 A great learning process but definitely not a good continual long-term way to work. Those who provide sheet music now, especially in the educational realm, should provide MIDI, there’s no excuse not to. The vocal group provided an audio track ‘most of the time’ and some of those tracks were not that useful (bad quality) or the vocal instructor decided “we’re going to do it a different way..” Kind of back to the same old ‘bad instructor’ gambit: change something, not provide a written version or recording of the change, then expect it to be memorized on the spot.. it can be done but just adds a ton more busy work clock time, to what should be a simple update in a MIDI editor then send out the new accurate MIDI track. They use the excuse: “vocals are not Equal temperament.” (Did I use the right term?) Well, singing correct notes that are slightly off in pitch because they are piano tunings rather than vocal harmony, is still light years better, than singing wrong notes. (in fact I think the pitch deviation is only off by 25% worst case between the worst piano note in the farthest-off key, and the correct vocal harmony.. something like that..) Hah, you got me started on this whole topic of vocal peeps not acting pro. 😛 The deadline was for a vocal performance coming up on 5/22, I was scrambling to get the material down.. now, I won’t have to.

    Needless to say I’m rocking out on guitar again 😀 I made a big breakthru when restarting practice in fact. I started singing over top of 2 hrs of backing tracks (mostly blues style) — making up ad hoc lyrics like a blues jam — while simultaneously attempting to solo using the pentatonic patterns. Not great but I impressed myself 😀 I’m almost convinced that I might actually pull it off someday. Wow, that will be cool. I just got to remember not to start every song with “well so my baby left me” LOL

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #21749

    PaulWolfe
    Participant

    When I get that way it generally has nothing to do with guitar. My life gets out of balance and my playing suffers as a result.

    That’s me, 100%

  • #21757

    safetyblitz
    Participant

    The answer is yes I do and I will try to use these techniques not just for guitar but projects that have started the spiral out of control for me. Thanks for sharing this.

    Cool to hear. Good luck!

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