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How to trick your mind into thinking positive



 
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jazzmcazz
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Joined: 25 May 2003
Posts: 32
Location: Louisville, KY

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How can you trick your mind into thinking its going great, or you sound good in order to counteract the negative effects of poor practicing. I find that reverse psychology works the best for me and I want to hear about peoples experiences with teachers and what they have said to help students stop thinking and start PLAYING! THANKS!!!!

[ This Message was edited by: jazzmcazz on 2004-01-26 15:12 ]
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Tal Katz
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Joined: 11 Oct 2002
Posts: 731
Location: Israel

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... I wonder about it too sometimes and the answer is only the power of will.
Forget about everything, just clear your mind from thoughts...
Don't think about anything... just tell yourself to relax and count on your unconcious mind to do what you ask it to do.
Don't try too hard... if you want it hard enough you'll get it.
Too much thinking will tense you more and more.
If you feel it's just too much tension for you... so just don't practice that day.
If it happens too much that you are tensed so just go do something that relaxes you... and then go practice.
In any case I would suggest you to get a book by Timothy Gallwey - The Inner Game of Tennis
It inspired me and lots others

Good Luck,
Tal Katz,
Young Israel Philharmonic,
Israel
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Ash
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Joined: 24 Dec 2003
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Location: California

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try reading "Effortless Mastery" By Kenny Werner. It's got alot of helpful practice tips, for any instrument, and meditations to help you focus. It's published by Jamey Aebersold.
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MaynardProdigy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tal Katz
[Too much thinking will tense you more and more.
If you feel it's just too much tension for you... so just don't practice that day.
If it happens too much that you are tensed so just go do something that relaxes you... and then go practice.]

This is exactly what I do. It really works great for me.
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PH
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Joined: 26 Nov 2001
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Location: Bloomington Indiana

PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't think positive. Don't think negative. There's no time to think at all...at least not in words. There's no time to evaluate at all. There is only time to think in terms of sound.
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Miles58
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday when I started to get frustrated at repeated 'mistakes,' I interrupted my practice to play and then sing a little chant.

No Judge-ments, no com-par-i-sons, de-lete the need to un-der-stand.
G E D G G E E D G G G A A B A G
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_swthiel
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Joined: 24 Jan 2003
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Location: Porkopolis, USA (Cincinnati, OH)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A philosophical thought or two ...

One of the ways that music performance differs from some of the other arts is that music happens in the present. The painter paints, good or bad the work endures. A sculptor sculpts, good or bad the work endures. An author writes, good or bad the work endures. In contrast, music performance always happens in the present. When I play a note on my trumpet, the note stops when I stop. It doesn't matter whether it was the worst note I've ever played or the sweetest sound imaginable. Once played, the note is in the past.

When I play something well, I usually find that I've enjoyed doing it. If I'm in a reflective mood, I'll think about it for a little bit, but then it's time to move on.

So, I don't stress a lot about bad notes when I practice. I'll go back and replay a passage until I can play it correctly, or with the sound I want, or with the feeling I want. I just try to be mindful that I can't "un-play" a mistake, so I can either let it go or I can try to carry it with me. If I carry it with me, I usually make more mistakes. When I let them go, I usually make fewer mistakes.

My suggestion is, don't try to trick yourself into making yourself feel good about your playing. Your playing is what it is, you can't make it better if you can't evaluate it objectively. But, evaluation is both positive and negative. Revel in what you do well, or what you're doing better than you used to. Don't beat yourself up over practice mistakes, acknowledge them, solve the problem, and then revel in something else you can do well.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you should be devoting significant practice time to things you don't do well. Your mission is to find the parts of your playing that need to improve and get to work!

Last night I was practicing some technical studies in Dorian mode. I was getting "finger-tied" and my upper register sound was starting to get thin. Once I realized I was getting angry about my performance, I was able to laugh a little -- "Wow, that was pretty bad!" -- then I slowed the metronome down until I could play them correctly with decent sound. (I'm shooting for great sound tonight, on fresh chops!) A session that was getting really frustrating ended up being quite rewarding.

On the other hand, I do have occasional nights where nothing seems to be working for me and I can't seem to solve the problem. I figure that's why I have lots of nights to practice and a case to store my horn in in the meantime. Once in a while, it's just not there, and I don't try to force it.

Hope this makes sense ...

Steve

PS -- I'm no monster player by any means, and I'm certainly not qualified to be teaching trumpet. I'm just a guy who likes to play his trumpet and wants to do it well. This is what works for me, your mileage may vary!

PPS -- I'd also like to hear comments from some of the pros on the board who haven't contributed to this thread yet.
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robert_white
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryan,

You've been putting up some interesting threads lately! Hope all is well with you.

Anyway, I'd agree with PH that when you're playing, there's no room to really think if you're doing it right!

However, if you're talking about building confidence over the long term, or developing a "big picture" regarding where your abilities lie, probably the best thing to do is take time when you're not actually playing to reflect on the occasions where you've played your best.
You could even do this following the next time you have a great practice session or a great performance. Anyway, notice how effortless everything seemed and how in command you were. Over time, this becomes the "default" setting when you pick up your horn.

The objective isn't to trick yourself into believing something that isn't happening actually is, but rather to realize that YOU are the one who decides where your mind is going to be and what your attitude will be like. This openness, coupled with a realistic understanding of what you need to work on, seems to really aid continuous improvement.

Best of luck,
Bob

[ This Message was edited by: robert_white on 2004-01-29 21:31 ]
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BrassArranger
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One useful mind tip that my teacher gave me was for helping to control nerves.

He said: The actual physical feelings of being nervous and of being excited are identical. It is just your mind interpreting them differently because of the situation. So if you feel nervous before a solo gig, just try to turn that around in your head and think to yourself that you are feeling excited, not nervous.

Probably not explained it well, but it always worked for me. Thinking that going on stage was to be an exciting experience rather than a nerve-racking experience always gave me more of a rush which helped the performance no end.
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Umyoguy
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Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryan,

Interesting post, and I agree with Bob in that what you're talking about involves no trickery - It really has to do with repeated, concious efforts to put your brain in the right place, to envision a quiet, serene mind from which to create music so much that it eventually happens of its own accord.

The problem is, what is "the right place?" It's an intensely personal battle for some of us - To others, it can come very easily - This discussion might as well not exist for those musicians who just "pick it up and play." I'm definitely NOT in that category, and I've had to do some serious soul searching with regards to where my musicianship comes from, what my motivations for playing are, and what I want to accomplish. What I REALLY want to accomplish...And I don't mean "Play really high and fast" but really, deep down, what my motivations are for engaging in music making.

It's a daily battle for myself, and I'm sure for others, but I think one thing to keep in mind is that the more you know, the more equipped you'll be to handle your (what sounds like an) overly analytical mind. Join the club. The best musicians really are the ones who just hear it and play, and forget about all the things they "should" be doing, or the things their teachers told them, or what other people might think. As for how to get over the hurdle, there are far more qualified people to talk about these things than me. The Don Greene method works for some, and the Gallaway book "The Inner Game of Tennis," as someone already mentioned, is quite good (better than the Inner game of Music, IMHO). These are good starting points.

What you're talking about is going to take some real soul searching, but it's WELL worth it, and can improve your playing, not to mention the quality of your life, dramatically if you find ways to succeed.

Good luck.
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