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» The Importance Of Practice

Just Jim   


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Post #121

QUOTE(Gerard @ Feb 16 2012, 06:32 AM) *
It seems to be a problem of what to call things.
Sometimes I just play for myself. Which of course is practicing in a way. When I talk about practicing, I mean I am conciously trying to improve my playing - for example breathing technique, fingering, finding out how to play some song in the best way. I think most of us practice from time to time in that sense. Whatever we call it.
Improving without practicing would be difficult I think.
One of the things I learned through practicing is even improvising. Few years ago I did not think I could improvise music.



I think more than anything it's just a persons's way of looking at it.

For instance, a person might pick up a flute and say to themself: "Today I'm gonna nail that half-hole note... I'm gonna work all day if I have to, but I'm gonna get it..."
OK, I would definitly classify this as practicing....

But I different person might pick up a flute and think, "I'm gonna go play in the backyard... maybe I'll even get crazy and experiment with that half hole note some more and see what happens..."
And this I would not really consider practicing...

But both people are doing the exact same thing, with pretty much the same goal... it's just they're coming at it from a different frame of mind. I suppose more than anything it depends on how disciplined you want to be in any given playing session... Are you working on something specific, like a half-hole note, or nailing a particular melody or song? Or are you just playing around with no real goal in mind other than to make music and have some fun??? I think that's the only real difference between playing and practicing...

This post has been edited by Just Jim: Feb 16 2012, 06:55 AM


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Razor Sharp   


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Post #122

Jim, you wisely nailed it, at least for me.
Thanks for your perspective.

Don Sharp


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Jon Sherman   


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Post #123

QUOTE(Just Jim @ Feb 16 2012, 06:55 AM) *
I think more than anything it's just a persons's way of looking at it.

For instance, a person might pick up a flute and say to themself: "Today I'm gonna nail that half-hole note... I'm gonna work all day if I have to, but I'm gonna get it..."
OK, I would definitly classify this as practicing....

But I different person might pick up a flute and think, "I'm gonna go play in the backyard... maybe I'll even get crazy and experiment with that half hole note some more and see what happens..."
And this I would not really consider practicing...

But both people are doing the exact same thing, with pretty much the same goal... it's just they're coming at it from a different frame of mind. I suppose more than anything it depends on how disciplined you want to be in any given playing session... Are you working on something specific, like a half-hole note, or nailing a particular melody or song? Or are you just playing around with no real goal in mind other than to make music and have some fun??? I think that's the only real difference between playing and practicing...



Jim, I can assure you there are some very good players out there, of the Native American flute, who do no practice it, but do play it in many locations other than their backyard. Even professionally.
~ Jon


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Just Jim   


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Post #124

QUOTE(Jon Sherman @ Feb 16 2012, 12:14 PM) *
Jim, I can assure you there are some very good players out there, of the Native American flute, who do no practice it, but do play it in many locations other than their backyard. Even professionally.
~ Jon


That's not exactly what I meant... lol... but I'm also not trying to argue... I totally understand what you mean...

I'm just saying whether you want to practice to some sort of routine or schedule... or just play somewhere; anywhere, backyard or large audience, either way, as long as you're making music everyday your gonna continually get better... so what someone wants to call it doesn't seem so important to me, so long as they're doing something with the flute. Everyone is different, and no two people are gonna play the same, or think the same, or approach their own individual music the same way... that's the beauty of the flutes... so I just don't really understand what the big deal is???

Play it or practice with it... in the end does it really matter??? Just don't let it sit around collecting dust. If your gonna do that, then send it to me, I'll give it some playing time... lol... wink.gif


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Sunbow   


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Post #125

Practicing Improv makes sense to me. More than being in a specific scale, you have a melodic motif that you are working off of, as well as a rhythmic motif. It takes a great deal of concentration and at the same time a letting go. I think the Zen people understand this. You really can have both, but it takes years of playing with it.

I have seen bands of very accomplished musicians playing very precise, accurate, and complex music, who were not having fun and the energy is just not there. I have seen very basic modern music, where the musicians are not struggling with the riffs, but are having a lot of fun and connecting to the crowd, and everyone is passing around energy and there is a resonate feel that pervades the room and everyone is grooving.

Once when I was in a studying Jazz mode (with a well known excellent player), I was in a coffee house playing my silver alto flute. I was just jamming on a minor pentatonic. Everyone there had become quiet and absorbed in listening. The whole crowd was with me. I then proceeded to play some wonderful complex jazz riffs: I lost them! The changing keys and more advanced movements were beyond their untrained ability to follow. Question to remember: are you playing for other musicians or for the common people.


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Jon Sherman   


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Post #126

QUOTE(Just Jim @ Feb 16 2012, 09:50 AM) *
That's not exactly what I meant... lol... but I'm also not trying to argue... I totally understand what you mean...

I'm just saying whether you want to practice to some sort of routine or schedule... or just play somewhere; anywhere, backyard or large audience, either way, as long as you're making music everyday your gonna continually get better... so what someone wants to call it doesn't seem so important to me, so long as they're doing something with the flute. Everyone is different, and no two people are gonna play the same, or think the same, or approach their own individual music the same way... that's the beauty of the flutes... so I just don't really understand what the big deal is???

Play it or practice with it... in the end does it really matter??? Just don't let it sit around collecting dust. If your gonna do that, then send it to me, I'll give it some playing time... lol... wink.gif



Jim, if you look at the number of my posts since I became a member here, compared to others with thousands of posts, I'm obviously not trying to make a big deal out of anything on this Portal. But this subject is near to my heart and one in which I thought I had something to contribute. Otherwise I'd have been content to let it all rest in peace. Playing is naturally inclusive of learning and skill development. But I have heard time and again over the years how practice was not inclusive of play, from folks who had giving up on their childhood musical expression because they were taught to "practice, practice, practice" and were turned off by the boredom and rote of all that. Or trained musicians who had lost touch with, or never really developed their ability to improvise or let loose of the reins on their instrument due to years of playing sheet music. So it's not just a matter of semantics here. I am in agreement with you about just giving the flute playing time. That's what I was taught when I was given the flute. Beyond any "why" or "how" there is simply doing. Thoughts about doing seem to just get in the way, most of the time.

In Peace,
Jon

This post has been edited by Jon Sherman: Feb 16 2012, 06:21 PM


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Ronald Roybal   


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Post #127

Only in the NAF world is practice even a subject of controversy...sigh...


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Jon Sherman   


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Post #128

QUOTE(Ronald Roybal @ Feb 16 2012, 12:37 PM) *
Only in the NAF world is practice even a subject of controversy...sigh...



Not the only "controversy" in the NAF world, from what I've read in the past on this forum. But I'm grateful for differing perspectives. Not so much for those wanting to stifle them. ~ Jon


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Jon Sherman   


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Post #129

If the stop button is going to be pressed here,
let it stop on Hawk Littlejohn's voice, not mine.
I posted this earlier, but some may have missed it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF5AM3JJ8g0


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Ronald Roybal   


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Post #130

Some people love to practice. Some people don't.


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Jeff G   


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Post #131

QUOTE(Ronald Roybal @ Feb 20 2012, 03:40 PM) *
Some people love to practice. Some people don't.


When ever a flute is in my hands I am happy. I don't think of it as practice. i think of it as part of me.


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Little Digger   


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Post #132

QUOTE(Ronald Roybal @ Feb 20 2012, 12:40 PM) *
Some people love to practice. Some people don't.


If I may, I'd like to add my two cents. There's a time to "play with a purpose" and a time to simply play improvisationally and let come what may. After playing the guitar and banjo for many years, there are dozens and dozens of techniques, licks, finger picking styles, etc., for which there is no substitute for practice. The techniques must be practiced until they are effortless and performed without thinking. Then improvisation (and fun) will come. However, to me, being challenged to learn a new technique and conquering it IS fun, not labor, nor boring. It's very satisfying to keep building on your skills. I have heard it said somewhere that "talent" is nothing more than the ability of a person to have the patience and perseverence to practice. The flute is no different. My daily playing is a mix if "playing with a purpose", that is, playing a phrase or technique in a song until it's effortless; playing and enjoying songs I already know effortlessly and improving on them; and then pure improvisation in order to discover new things and enjoy whatever comes (not necessarily in this order, and not necessarily every time).
Enjoy,
Mark


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kingfisher   


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Post #133

I haven't taken the time to read all of the posts under this topic, so I'm not sure that this newbie is contributing anything whatsoever, but I have been simply practicing random
playing. Not even trying to play anything that I've heard, or even thought about till it's time to choose a note, or hold a note, or pick it up, or slow it down...I just play.
Tonight, I added a little blessing to the mix. I picked up an impedance converter so I could hook up my cheap mic to my Fender Princeton Chorus amp and crank up the reverb!
What a difference that makes!


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KenToFue   


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Post #134

this post is beneficial to me as i usually used to play piano and get really good. Then I run out of songs or can't improv (on the piano i can't improv to save my life. Like seriously.) Then I stopped playing altogether and now I can barely play piano anymore. But I am determined not to do this once i recieve my shakuhachi from the mail. I will definantly keep up the practice. Then WHEN I am better than anyone in this world who ever played shakuhachi, I will be glad I kept up the practice.

Thats right. I will pwn you guys at the shakuhachi! And I probably won't be able to get a teacher (unless i can muster money for online classes). So you better practice hard or else I'll be steam rollin' all over you guys! biggrin.gif

EDIT: I know this thread is old, but i mean it!

This post has been edited by KenToFue: Aug 29 2012, 08:27 AM


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jackeyj   


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Post #135

QUOTE(Ronald Roybal @ Jul 21 2011, 08:41 AM) *
Something I've noticed on the boards is how little the discipline of diligent practice is mentioned. When I used to frequent music stores as a youth, I would hear guitarists playing sections of their favorite songs but never actually playing a whole song. One day, a guy came in and proceeded to play Hendrix's 'Little Wing' on an acoustic guitar. I was amazed! Even though the shop had a number of guys in it, I found myself to be the only one who talked with him. During our conversation, he revealed to me that he knew lots of songs and that the only way to learn them is to PRACTICE them diligently and intelligently. He said that most players know bits and pieces of songs and tend to practice those parts but they never go all the way and learn the whole song because they hit a brick wall whenever a difficult part or technique is required. They take the lazy way. He also gave me credit for talking with him because his experience was that most 'music store players' were intimidated by his chops and would never talk to him!

I took to heart what this player told me and it has informed my study all these years. Now I will tell you something I told a flute player in my friend's music store here in Santa Fe last year. The player was talking about all the great flutes by famous makers that he had collected. I asked him to play me a song. He said he didn't know any songs but he would improv for me. I listened and when he was done I asked him to play another improv for me. He looked at me kind of funny but proceeded to do another improv. Low and behold, it shortly turned into the prior improv! I told him that I just wanted to be helpful but I wanted to know if he knew what had just happened. He admitted that his improvs tended to favor one another but he figured that was the nature of the NAF because of the limitations of the pentatonic scale of a five hole flute. I proceeded to show him some things that would be possible with his improv by applying technique and what song ideas could present themselves with some thoughtful practice. He wrote me a couple of months ago and told me that our visit inspired him and that his flute had turned into a butterfly when it used to be a caterpillar!

I mention this because I have met dozens of flute players over the years who were treating their flute playing like a caterpillar when there is a butterfly waiting to get out. These instruments do not play themselves. Like any other fine instrument, they require diligent, intelligent practice to allow their true nature to be manifested. Of course, if a person is just playing for their own kicks, they are free to do whatever they want. However, if the person is seeking to elevate the art form, diligent practice is the ONLY way!



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jackeyj   


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Post #136

Ronald, great piece of advice it hit home to me also, i got my first flute about a year ago practice on it a lot playing from the heart mostly, its so true about getting stuck in a rut! dont know if i will ever master it fully? gona enjoy tryin, im going on 68 years young an my mind cant remember like it once could, haha folks that i play for on occasion say they really like the sound so i guess thats a good thing lol You got me to try breaking out of the rut, really enjoy your playing, much thanks Jack


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