Losing Your Music Technique


in Music Technique

I can't recall how many times I've sit down to play my piano and felt totally inept. I start to play and there I am so out of practice and mentally unprepared that I walk get up and walk away.

So why am I talking about this today? It's to bring up a point that unless you maintain your perspective, mindset, and put in practice time you're going to regress.

Here's What Really Happened

I've been incredibly busy lately and focused on several projects and obligations and therefore I haven't thought, written, played, practiced or studied music in several weeks. It showed up yesterday when I sat down to play and improvise on a few chords.

As I started out, I was flailing around the keyboard, I couldn't zero in on a bass note area I wanted to play, my fingers were stiff from yard work, and I was only in the mood to kill some time. As I settled down a bit I was able to play and create some progressions and melodic lines, but it was rigid and didn't flow well.

After a couple of different experiments with choosing a couple of key signatures I got up and walked away.


So on reflection I have to ask myself what happened. As it turns out it's fairly easy to determine that I've broken my own rules for keeping up on the music.

I haven't put in any time with music like keeping the bare essentials working. My fingers feel like they have no dexterity. A condition that might have been prevented had I put in 10 or 15 minutes of practice exercises like a scale or broken chord every day or even every other day.

I haven't pulled out any songs that I been working to improve and engaging my mind on any music theory elements. I haven't played any song that I know either. That sure let's the cobwebs blur your thinking.

My lack of keeping my skills up has truly effected my playing abilities.

What to do?

It's pretty simple to figure out what I need to do. But time is short and as I go back into some travel time again I'll need to decide how I'm going to get those skills back up to speed.

So for me it's going to be finding just 20 minutes a day when I'm home to  practice. That will start with playing a major and a minor scale, broken chord, arpeggio at least every other day.

On days with a little more time I'll break out the Hannon exercises and play for 10 minutes. I'll play at least one song I know, and work on one I want to learn.

I'll get my mind back in the game and start experimenting again with improvisation only after I've put some practice time in. 

There's my general outline, next I'll probably grab a spreadsheet or at least a piece of paper and create a detailed progress sheet to accomplish my goals.

Your Turn to Focus

We all go through some down time on our goals, every once in a while we need to step back and say what do I need to do to move forward.

Write out a few goals and then decide to schedule in the practice or study time to get there. Don't make it unachievable, do exactly the opposite.

If you only can find 10 or 15 minutes, be specific about what you want to accomplish in that precious time. Then simple do it.

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