14 Tips To Maximize FOCUS & EFFICIENCY When PracticingJun 17, 2021
The following video is a sample of the VIP Masterclass series. If you would like to learn more about the VIP Masterclass Series. I have provided links in the description below. I hope you enjoyed today's video. Welcome to the VIP Masterclass series. I'm Josh, right? Today's episode is dedicated to a new member, Cynthia, and she asks this: this is a great request and it can definitely help any of you, no matter what level you are at: beginner or pro. I had a lot of fun thinking about solutions that I personally have used in my life to answer her question, she said full disclosure.
In fact, she played the pedal harp, but I have learned a lot from the VIP videos and the other videos of her. I really appreciate what she does, thank you. I played the piano
whenI was young. of the harp are similar to the white keys of the piano the seven petals one for each note of the musical scale changed the pitch between natural flat and sharp
whenspecific harp music titles were not available i worked from piano music that's mind boggling for me, i have a lot of respect for you because you are able to apply all these themes from piano to harp, that's great, so she said my VIP question, i have a very difficult time. staying
focused when repeatedly
practicingthe same music in sections my mind wanders i seem to have a pattern of learning a piece about 70 percent and then ready for another challenge any ideas on how to stay
focused thank you very much and all the best to you and your family Cynthia so thank you Cynthia I really appreciate your request and like I said I had a great time putting together this list so the first thing is I want you to set long term goals very short term like this What I want you to say I want to finish this piece in four months, okay if I have to finish it in four months, maybe we'll say the last three weeks of that fourth month will just be polishing, okay, or you can set one more goal long.
It doesn't matter what your goal is but be realistic but stretch yourself f a little don't try too hard so you're always failing you want to set goals that are realistic but push yourself a little ok and I would work backwards to this day and say ok if i'm going to do this i have to have this section in this section in this section for these dates it's ok to do that i need to be doing four measures a day and let's call it 16 measures a week even if i'm
practicingseven days a week i don't want to spread myself too.
I'm going to do four bars a day or maybe it's four pages a day if you're a really fast learner and it's a big concert. I don't care what it is, but set long-term goals. Come back shortly. A lot of people just set short term goals for the day and say I just want to beat this today and then they're wandering for months and months because every day they set a new goal and the goals don't stick. together and then they don't take into account how much we're going to review that they're going to need and it can become a big mess okay number two I want you to imagine the difference between me and my wife when we're making dinner and it makes it call for lemon juice ok so he just cuts the lemon in half and then puts it in the little lemon squeezer. immediately and I throw the lemon being OCD I take it and quarter it precisely I can't have the peel upright like this it has to be it has to be almost like a little pyramid like I quarter it and then put it upside down on the juicer i squeeze it as hard as i can adjust it a little she squeezes it again and then i take it out and hand squeeze it and i can get twice as much juice and she says oh you're such an idiot but anyway the second way is how i want you to treat your music the reason i bring that up is a lot of us some of me included a lot of us just get the juice out of the passage so if you're playing a very expressive piece like i was demonstrating the same weak brute for Rafael with Opus 27 number two don't steal think how this means to me and it's that as nice as it can be I don't want to get sappy and cheesy with the way I'm explaining this but this really makes a big difference nce and you might think, oh I'm a beginner, I don't need to go into that much detail.
I tell you trust me, the more you get into this the faster your progress will be. number 3 of 14 what i came up with here is take frequent breaks now a break doesn't have to be far from the piano you absolutely can you can go get a drink of water you can go to the bathroom you can lift some weights you can do whatever it takes to reset your mind most of the time. I'm just taking a break with another piece that's much easier than the one I'm actually tackling, so if I'm working on a very difficult gig, I might play Rachmaninoff's fly two arrangement. cello sonata just the first two pages because I've got it pretty good it's a really difficult piece but It's just very relaxing music something that calms me down and rewires me and I'm ready to start again so taking frequent breaks there's no science on how frequent your breaks should be, I'm sure they will.
I've done experiments, but for me, every 20 to 30 minutes, a short break makes a big difference, especially when I'm teaching. I've found that if I take a little 15 minute break every hour or two, I'm much more focused as a teacher on my lessons instead of piling on three or four hours at a time, just that little 15 minute break every hour or two. , I'm ready to start again so I only take short breaks like that to space out your practice if possible, I think you said in one of the paragraphs I didn't read that you were retired living in a beautiful place which I won't mention just to keep you in the loop anonymity but anyway you know go look at the beach or something and just breathe the fresh air what a thing this is totally unexpected but i just remembered i remember i was listening to this podcast and a guy said one thing i do to reset my mind it's just looking outside I tried to look at a distant thing and I started doing that and what it does is it gives you an awareness of how small you are in the world and therefore it broadens your perspective and this is going to come into Another point here in a minute, but when you really reset your mind by creating an awareness of your surroundings, it actually helps you reset and refocus because we can go so deep down these little rabbit holes that it goes on forever and ever and we can't get out. of them and then we get frustrated.
I remember when I couldn't get the double thirds a couple of years ago. I was like I was a complete failure. I suck at the piano and my wife says stop. This is so annoying. Why are you doing this? She is a great pianist. She thinks of everything you can't touch. I was like I don't care if I just played Rock 3 I want to p put in the double third study and I can't do it with the fingering I want to do it with I can do it with this other fingering she's like you're crazy but it's so easy getting sucked into those states of mind where you're totally lost is fine number four use part of your practice sessions to listen to professional recordings which is a great way to gather ideas and try to listen to as many as you can number five record yourself and don't have to fear or use your practice time to listen again.
You are yourself playing a lot of people. I remember when I was younger I said that I couldn't record myself. I have so much to do in these two and a half hours. I can't justify taking you half my practice session. to be listening and I'll tell you what I invested when I was like 12 years old. I think I saved like 500 bucks just mowing the lawn and stuff, and I bought a really nice recording setup back then. Today would be total garbage but and I just wore that thing out and if I can think of one thing that helped me get better at piano I was recording myself today you can use your iPhone and it's as good as that recording I used to have you can buy a little external mic for your mic for your iphone or you can get something if if funds is not an issue get something like this this is an akg 414 version two mike i think its like c4 14 version two and then its running via a duo of apollo twins i think apollo just came out with an updated version and just run that on your computer in garageband if you have a mac or whatever recording software you'd like to use and this gives amazing than our album Christmas is recording with this mic and another mic and that can be so much fun to listen to yourself it can also be downright humiliating for the most part it's humiliating so be prepared but it makes you better more It's fast because it gives you an awareness of what you need to work on faster than any other form of mental practice. e on the piano, so what I mean by that is how I learned the second movement of rock, or rock three rock, not a third concerto.
I would stare at a passage, try to play it in my mind, and then play it on the piano. muscle memory helps more than we know, so many times we may have it here in the muscles, but it's not here in the brain. If you can play it in your brain and then play it back with your muscle memory it works great and you can listen to that rock recording 3. I worked really hard on that piece and the second movement was solid so I know it works, mental practice away from the piano with your music and then alternate with and without recording so what I mean by that is go sit at your kitchen table bring your sheet music and just mentally sing like you're playing that music in your mind which will help you a lot and then listen to his recording and then go back and try to imagine yourself playing that in your mind as beautifully as that person really helped number eight thank you so much for watching.
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