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  #16  
Old 07-15-2019, 05:25 PM
nolegsfngrpickn nolegsfngrpickn is offline
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Muscle memory, for sure.

There's no such thing as a perfect performance, just like there's no such thing as a perfectly good airplane. But being able to immediately snap back and transition into the right place makes any mistakes nearly invisible to the audience. Only you know that one hammer on you missed or picking pattern you slightly mixed up was "wrong." But I've got to the point where I try and throw my own take of the songs into the mix, to make it "my own" as much as possible.

I've read that the beginning and end of the piece is what audiences remember the most.

It's me playing the only instrument up there and singing, and a girl next to me singing. There will be a big mess up sometime, haven't had a really bad one yet but I feel like we're pretty prepared when we go up.
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  #17  
Old 07-16-2019, 08:54 PM
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“Perfection is how we manage imperfection.”
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  #18  
Old 07-17-2019, 05:36 AM
trion12 trion12 is offline
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[QUOTE=Doug Young;6111851

Another suggestion is something I heard from Michael Chapdelaine - who advocates practicing away from the guitar.

[/QUOTE]
I heard the same thing years ago from Don Thompson at a clinic he ran when I was a music student. Don plays a lot of instruments (bass, piano, vibes, percussion, drums, that I know of.) Someone asked him how he found time to practise all those instruments and his answer was that he didn't in the usual sense - that he made use of dead time to practise in his head while doing other things like riding a train or standing in a line - hearing the music in his head while visualizing his fingers playing the notes.
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  #19  
Old 07-22-2019, 10:54 AM
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My biggest tip for note-perfect performance is to absolutely under NO circumstances have ANY sort of audio or video recording going on. I don't care how well I know a song, if I try to record it, the train goes right off the tracks!!

Seriously though (and there is some seriousness to that statement) I find that my biggest enemies are knowing a song too well and distractions. Songs I know like the back of my hand that I can play in my sleep means it's easy for my mind to wander. And I'll be cruising on auto-pilot and then see a pretty girl or a cool car go by and all of the sudden I have no idea where I am in a song! Sometimes I can recover, sometimes not.

Fortunately, I don't worry too much about being perfect. I don't even want to be perfect. Live music is not perfect. I like to change things up. We had a song at our last gig where I got lost on a very well known song and I just stopped playing and we sang together a Capella for a chorus and it ended up sound kind of cool and people loved it.
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  #20  
Old 07-22-2019, 04:19 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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My apologies to the real musicians here but I have a wondering mind problem at times also. Many a time I was on stage watching the floor show. Like the fight about to happen back at the restrooms. Or the guys girlfriend paying allot of attention to another guy at a different table. Then you catch yourself and immediately screw up the minute you start thinking.
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  #21  
Old 07-23-2019, 05:59 PM
62&climbing 62&climbing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
Learn to play through your mistakes. Don't stop. Don't bring attention to it. Act like everything is right on and correct.
There are different ways to cover, sort of. Know how to BS in the keys you are playing. While practicing take it as a learning experience when you screw up to learn how to keep going and hopefully cover it. I'd practice whole sets strait through. When I screwed up, not if, I kept going. It's adlibbing and sometimes it works out well. The more you plan for it and incorporate it into your performance the better you will get at it. Sometimes you can just deaden the strings with your fretting hand and keep the beat for a second with the pick until you find your place. I always face the inevitable strait on and to do that with performing means planning for things like mistakes. Chance and luck always favor the prepared. Learn and plan for mistakes. It takes it out of the equation.
Best advice I ever heard on this topic.
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  #22  
Old 07-25-2019, 06:20 AM
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The 'playing through your mistakes' post is great.

If you really want to dig into the psychology - read The Inner Game of Music. Thank Bryan Sutton.
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  #23  
Old 07-25-2019, 07:58 AM
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This is why I play jazz and bluegrass etc -it's supposed to be different every time

What I always tell students for memorization, that works for me, is to sing as you play the tune. So if I'm trying to memorize, say, a few fiddle tune, which typically have a LOT of notes, I break it down into two bar phases and just sing the melody as I pay it over and over. When I have that off the paper, I add the next two bar phrase. Sometimes if I'm really focused I can nail a whole new tune to memory inside an hour, permanently. This is after wasting years of practicing tunes from start to finish over and over trying to memorize them, which of course took months. I'll also memorize long fingerstyle arrangements this way.

To be clear, I can't sing very well at all. I'm not trying to sound good vocally, or even get the notes exactly. The big picture for me is that I am just filing away the tune in my brain primarily as an audio file. Other people learn differently, but for me, trying to remember the note names and or fret locations of an entire tune would be like memorizing a two thousand numeral phone number. I mean, there's a little of that going on, and guitar is very visual, so some things I remember what they look like (which singing reinforces)... But again, I mostly remember what the tune sounds like, having processes it though singing, and then I mostly just "trust the hands," which is a big mantra for me.

All that said. Playing note perfect -which I'm sure I never do- in live performance is mostly about being relaxed and confident. So over-prepare for sure.

One thing that works really well for me performing is my other mantra; "focus on the foot." In zen meditation the basic idea is that every time a new thought looms up -which they will never stop doing- you come back to focusing on your breath. The breath is a good fulcrum because it's just always there. So if you start thinking, "this is stupid," or "my back hurts" or "I'm hungry...." you just train yourself not get taken away for a ride with each new thought as they pop up, by acknowledging them but then just coming back to the breath. Well in music, the breath is the groove, and my foot is my connection to it -it the fulcrum. If I’m playing solo in front of a large pin-drop quiet audience or on live radio or something, and my monkey mind kicks in, tempting me with a conveyor belt of random thoughts about, say, the sound system, trying to remember chord names, self-doubt, etc, I just think “back to the foot,” and bring my attention back to the foot and groove and just trust the hands, and stay in the moment of piece that I’m playing. It’s a really a mental game to try to master playing like it doesn’t matter when it does. Hope that wasn’t TMI
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  #24  
Old 07-25-2019, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
This is why I play jazz and bluegrass etc -it's supposed to be different every time

What I always tell students for memorization, that works for me, is to sing as you play the tune. So if I'm trying to memorize, say, a few fiddle tune, which typically have a LOT of notes, I break it down into two bar phases and just sing the melody as I pay it over and over. When I have that off the paper, I add the next two bar phrase. Sometimes if I'm really focused I can nail a whole new tune to memory inside an hour, permanently. This is after wasting years of practicing tunes from start to finish over and over trying to memorize them, which of course took months. I'll also memorize long fingerstyle arrangements this way.

To be clear, I can't sing very well at all. I'm not trying to sound good vocally, or even get the notes exactly. The big picture for me is that I am just filing away the tune in my brain primarily as an audio file. Other people learn differently, but for me, trying to remember the note names and or fret locations of an entire tune would be like memorizing a two thousand numeral phone number. I mean, there's a little of that going on, and guitar is very visual, so some things I remember what they look like (which singing reinforces)... But again, I mostly remember what the tune sounds like, having processes it though singing, and then I mostly just "trust the hands," which is a big mantra for me.

All that said. Playing note perfect -which I'm sure I never do- in live performance is mostly about being relaxed and confident. So over-prepare for sure.

One thing that works really well for me performing is my other mantra; "focus on the foot." In zen meditation the basic idea is that every time a new thought looms up -which they will never stop doing- you come back to focusing on your breath. The breath is a good fulcrum because it's just always there. So if you start thinking, "this is stupid," or "my back hurts" or "I'm hungry...." you just train yourself not get taken away for a ride with each new thought as they pop up, by acknowledging them but then just coming back to the breath. Well in music, the breath is the groove, and my foot is my connection to it -it the fulcrum. If I’m playing solo in front of a large pin-drop quiet audience or on live radio or something, and my monkey mind kicks in, tempting me with a conveyor belt of random thoughts about, say, the sound system, trying to remember chord names, self-doubt, etc, I just think “back to the foot,” and bring my attention back to the foot and groove and just trust the hands, and stay in the moment of piece that I’m playing. It’s a really a mental game to try to master playing like it doesn’t matter when it does. Hope that wasn’t TMI
That was perfect advice and to use another analogy (especially for any adrenaline junkies), what Eric refers to as singing or humming along to the tune as you play it is similar to the mindset of a downhill skier or mountain bike rider, F1 driver, or better still a Moto GP racer in that they are always projecting themselves ahead of where they are on the race course to where they need to go. IME, when I use the discipline to follow Eric’s advice, humming along leads me along and helps me focus and relax better.
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  #25  
Old 07-25-2019, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
One thing that works really well for me performing is my other mantra; "focus on the foot." In zen meditation the basic idea is that every time a new thought looms up -which they will never stop doing- you come back to focusing on your breath. The breath is a good fulcrum because it's just always there. So if you start thinking, "this is stupid," or "my back hurts" or "I'm hungry...." you just train yourself not get taken away for a ride with each new thought as they pop up, by acknowledging them but then just coming back to the breath.... If I’m playing solo in front of a large pin-drop quiet audience or on live radio or something, and my monkey mind kicks in, tempting me with a conveyor belt of random thoughts about, say, the sound system, trying to remember chord names, self-doubt, etc, I just think “back to the foot,” ...
Not TMI, pefect, and exactly what I am discovering after reading everyone's thoughts in this thread. The random thoughts are what get you. You need to be able to go on "autopilot" but not so much that your mind wanders. Think ahead a bit, but not so far ahead you lose track of where you are at the moment. Definitely a zen thing, but something that can be practiced!

In fact, I've noticed it's not even the random thoughts so much as the transition back. I'll be playing, my mind drifts, hands go on auto... but when I try to bring my attention back to my hands, that's when I lose it. Almost like coming in in the middle of a conversation. With myself. And I didn't know what I was saying. Maybe therapy will help?
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