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Days like this...
Frustration, funk, progress
Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 (1 votes) 
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coolpinkone
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May 28, 2013 - 8:00 pm
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So as a musician do you all have days where you can't seem to think you will progress? Like the real blues... and disappointment in where you are currently  regard to progress? (

Sometimes I feel that I am playing the same songs..same mistakes... and this is after trying new bow hold, new pressure, rosin, no rosin... and still it is the same old "ugh." And I try to remember all the joys and on days like this there is that voice in my head saying... "what were you so thrilled about? NO, you don't need a better violin, You are far behind, WHY CAN'T you grasp the violin positions?"

Is there anything you all do to pass up the funk.  I know sinking into a pity party is not a way to progress.  Neither is negative talk.

Just curious if anyone feels this way.  I mean I wouldn't give it up for anything?  But I want more and I seem to be making less progress.  So much that my brain can't comprehend still and it shows in my lack luster playing. 

At 47 years old... I just look for more.... I just want to play pretty music and pretty damned good music.   I have put more into it in the last 3 months than ever, I have given myself over to it...

Today's solution was to watch 25 of FM's videos...yep...over 25!!!!.. but I don't feel confident about picking up the violin... same dull sound...same lack of confidence.. same NO Vibrato..mundane playing...

( I did practice this morning with the Vibrato for Dummies Video) My head gets it but my fingers have not.  And I feel like an oafy dork trying it.  (there is a stretch in the Last of the Mohicans/The Kiss,  that seems to cry out for it.... the slow part... otherwise it is just a LONG LONG note). All the tips..use a book... use the wall, slide your hand up and down the neck, relax, don't hold the violin..  GAH~!!!!!!!!!

And as far as other stuff....

I can read music, but it is likely if I don't know the song, I won't be able to play it as written very well.  Just a lot of funk.. after over a year playing.  So I still feel Lacking?  Do I start back in my Essentials book and just humble myself into slow steady consistent lessons... and quit all this joyriding by playing songs? (yes.. I know...that is true) 

Curious to see if anyone has days like this.....

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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KindaScratchy
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May 28, 2013 - 8:22 pm
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I am so with you on this, Toni. Yes, there have been days when I feel like I'm never gonna get any good on this instrument. Then there are days when I feel like "hey, I think I'm getting the hang of this."

I think we all go through growth spurts and plateaus.

I know that I'm never gonna be a concert violinist or an award winning fiddler, but I think it helps to have some semi-lofty goals to which to aspire. For me it's to some day be able to join in a jam or session and not embarrass myself (or annoy other people).

My observation is that trying new, harder things helps me progress. If I just keep trying to get perfect on what I'm currently learning before trying to go to the next level, it's never gonna happen. Taking a stab at the next level is what makes the current level seem easier. Not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me.

Just stick with it...you'll get there.

thumbs-up

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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StoneDog
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May 28, 2013 - 9:46 pm
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You are shedding CP > its a good thing. It hurts a little, but it is a good thing. It is happening cause you have been trying to express yourself though your instrument with such inner passion cause you want it so bad. > Once you shed you will feel good about it again > and then the process will start all over again but on a higher level.

I watched you play, I have read your post > You are a Musician. Its part of it.

The moments that it all comes together are few and SWEET but it keeps me going.

The moments get longer the more I push. > Why do I push > cause > I NEED IT!!

Sounds like you NEED IT too. >> SWEET!!!!!!!!

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DanielB
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May 28, 2013 - 10:28 pm
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Absolutely. 

Some days, not just violin, but music in general.  Too old, not enough talent, didn't get/make the breaks, too stupid too.. well, the list can go on and on, but yup.  Probably not all that different.

Such times happen, Coolpink.  I know I get them.  And I have known some excellent musicians over the years, a few of them ones most people might consider "successful", who still have days like that.  So, logically, it isn't actually due to lack of ability or anything like that.

Knowing such days come along is why I set up my practice routine the way I did.  It's all fundamentals, and it starts with stuff I know I can't mess up and doesn't go any further than stuff that is currently pretty easy to do fairly well.  It is a realistic amount of time and broken down into pieces/sections so no matter how many interruptions, I can probably still get through it.  Then, after I get through it, then I play!

I've sabotaged myself enough times over the years to know how I do it, and to make plans to try to avoid it.  Keeping what I actually practice "idiot simple" may not be much ego gratification, but it works for "default" or "minimum" setting.  I also know from past experience that it is not really possible to practise too much of the basics, and that every improvement on the basics improves all the rest of my playing. 

I have a view on practise/play that some people maybe find a bit odd.  Practice is work and exercises I do so that when I go to play, I can play better.  I don't see them as the same thing.  One thing I figured out years ago, is that all the practice in the world won't make someone into a good player.  If you want to play good, you have to play.  And just like anything else, at first it will not likely always go great.  LOL

But I have known people who put in insane amounts of practice and study, and never made it out of their own bedroom with music.  They were "serious".  Some of them "started young" enough, some had great gear.  And still, they didn't take the step, they just expected practice to somehow turn into good playing.  Sadly, for some of them, it never really did.  Practice is like education in a way.  It is preparation for an activity, but not the activity itself.  Somebody can go through college and get a degree in whatever and still not do well in the workplace or even get a job in their field.  To repeat, practice, like education is preparation for an activity.  A necessary step and continuing need, but not something that just automatically turns into the activity itself.

Now when you have gotten together with your jam partner, then you are mostly playing.  Sure, you may learn a lot, but the exercises and thinking and effort you put into your practice sessions can start to pay off a little then.  Instead of just "paying dues", you get to collect on those dues a bit. 

So anyway, my advice on practice is to keep it basic and keep it what you are sure you can do so far as time and goals.  "Shoot the fish in the barrel."  And then you'll be warmed up and have some skills that gradually build that you can see what you can do with when you pick up the violin to "just" play songs and make some fun music.  But only "officially" practice for a short enough time that you know you will be likely to do it, and practice basics like open string bowing, string changes, metronome work against the simplest and most basic beats, intonation.. Things where even getting a tiny bit better can make everything you do better when you pick up the violin to actually play songs or play with or for someone or do a recording.  After that is taken care of, "chores" are over and then you try any song you feel like, and just play for the fun and joy of it.  See what you can do. 

Back to the original point though, that is how I get through it.  On bad days, I "shoot fish in a barrel".  On good days I can manage some better.  And each day has its little bit of progress and experience, and those will add up over time.

So far as the thoughts of it being a waste of time and money.. Well, I can sure think of things that will kill you quicker and get you into more trouble than music and a few instruments.  Music is a sensible choice, comparatively.   LOL

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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coolpinkone
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May 28, 2013 - 10:57 pm
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@KindaScratchy - Thank you.  What you said makes a lot of sense.  It is good to know I am not alone.  And I don't have too grand of dreams...but someday I'd like to be playing more than most other things in my life. :) Whew today.. with no tapes and well my mood.  I couldn't play anything right...and it sounded like ...t! :) thanks for listening and posting.

 

@StoneDog Thank you.. Boy you know how to motivate. Shedding eh?  I like that.. Today was one of regret.. regretting having no tapes... trying to make up for it by playing scales...switching bows... not being able to remember Sad Romance... everything sounding bad... to make matters worse then I tried some practice with a song on the E string... the dog left the room and moaned.. IT was Ugly.

 

@DanielB Thank you thank you.  What  you say makes sense.  As a person who has never officially played an instrument... studied music... I guess I loose my path ... I was progressing with  my teacher..but I just didn't know if I was progressing enough.  You made a lot of good points...sensible.  You have so  much experience with it all...and you make a lot of joy and a life out of your music.  That is to be commended. Not everyone can be happy with the music and the instrument and play for themselves.  And you are so wonderful to share with anyone that comes around.   

You know what haunts me.. is all this 2nd and 3rd position and the mental block I have with it.  I was able to "get" FM's videos... and I am able to do what he said on the video and come up with the right fingerings.. but I can't seem to comprehend knowing those notes also... when half the time I am iffy about knowing exactly where I am in First position.  Also the lack of tapes has been a set back and I am too stubborn and proud to put them on..but they were a security blanket for me. 

Thanks Friends....nice to talk out a slump and get good perspective. :)

xo

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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May 29, 2013 - 12:57 am
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@StoneDog: Shedding..  I *like* that symbology!   Good one, StoneDog!

1st-place

 

@coolpinkone:  And you'd think, that after as many years as I've put in and the assorted instruments, I'd at least have "how to learn" figured out better by now.. But nope!  LOL

The first several months of my first year on violin were spent trying to learn a bunch of songs and rushing into practising "more advanced" scales instead of basics.  There's actually nothing wrong with those things, but you can get more out of them with some basics. LOL

I lucked out and got reminded to take it back to basics.  Several months into the first year, right after I got my Hoffmann, somebody told me that for the first few weeks I should go off in a woods or lock myself in a closet or whatever, but play just open strings on it as LOUD as I could for a few minutes avery day for the first couple of weeks.  That it would help the instrument settle in and begin to develop it's "forte voice".  Some guitarists (myself included) feel that is a good thing to do with new guitars, so it made sense, and I was doing that.  

Then I was talking with another acquaintance (who knows considerably more about playing violin/fiddle than I do) and I was griping about my sound/playing.  They asked me to explain what I felt the problem was, much like we all do with anybody new who wanders into the chat and is complaining about sounding like Skrat scud.  I had to think about it for a couple days and then told them that, as I would say it in guitar terms, it lacked "authority".  Not an official term, but just what I've always used for how a beginner sounds different than someone who has been playing a while.  There is a certain hesitancy or weakness to their sound.  They sound more like they are trying to not mess up than really trying to say something with the instrument.  So I got told that the issue was probably "tone", maybe some articulation.  And to just focus on those for a while when doing my open bowing.   

I had been finding open bowing to be pretty dull and was kind of glad to think I was almost done with it.  So that wasn't really what I wanted to hear.  So I did what any musician does when a more experienced player tells them what they need.  I argued and complained, like an idiot.  LOL

They kept focusing on how easy open bowing is, since you don't have to worry about the left hand fingers or intonation and the left hand can practise "staying loose".  I argued that is is boring, even for 15 min.  "Break it down into three sessions of 5 minutes then, if that's more comfortable at first."  I said that it was a the boredom that would be the problem, not it being too complex.  Wouldn't maybe some etude or exercise that had some fingering involved be better?   It's 4 frackin' notes.  A baby could play 4 notes.   "Perhaps.  But could a baby make them sound good?" 

Uhh.. umm.. ok.  I finally got the point.  I'd been working on learning more songs and more "advanced" scales, but not really working on making them sound good as the priority.  If  somebody pro played that one open string note, even on my violin and bow, they'd make it sound like singing.. "LAAAAAAAAAAAaaa", whereas I was sounding a bit more like the bleat of a rather anaemic and not overly enthusiastic sheep.. "baaaahhh."  But something as simple as bowing on an open string, I should be able to sound as good at that at least.  Right?  Well, no.  LOL  But now I had a problem/challenge where I had a way to work on it and where I could hear the difference.  So I did the exercises for a week.  There was maybe a little difference.  Another week and I could definitely hear a difference and see where it was kicking up my sound up a notch when playing.  After I was sure of that, well, then open bowing exercises became a daily necessity instead of a bother. LOL

I've probably gone too far into this, but I think it is a good example.  Like when I was saying that practice alone will not make you a better player.. Neither will exercises alone.  The exercises are tools you can use to work on different parts of your playing.  Once you realize that, and start to hear them make a difference when you go to play a song later, then they stop being boring.   You might start with open string bowing and for the first 5 minutes, you try to make the notes sound very smooth and steady.. The next 5, you might work on making them very strong/powerful/loud.  Then the last 5, you might just try to incorporate the things you figured out in the first two sessions and just try to see how good you can make it sound.  Other times you might focus on your bow hold or using your elbow and wrist better or whatever.  That's the sort of thing that makes it get better, not just "doing repetitions". 

And anything basic like that will help with everything you play when you just go to pick up the violin at any time and have some fun playing. 

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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UtahRoadbase
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May 29, 2013 - 1:26 am
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I'm a little late to this one but I want you to know that I feel your pain. In fact, I think anyone who has every been invested in something they want to do has felt what you're feeling. Whether it be sports, music, painting, woodwork -- some days when we're learning to do something well are just more difficult than others. And we're ALWAYS learning, right?

 

First of all, I think you are progressing VERY quickly. The things you're talking about wanting to have mastered in just a year or two are things that people practice for many, MANY years to learn. Vibrato wasn't something I "got" until I'd be playing for five years. And that was with weekly private instruction and an hour of practice a day! Watching you and others on the forum play the things you play after only several months of having ever played the violin is simply astonishing to me. I know how hard it is and I am so inspired by all of you!

 

Also, I have had tearful days since I started and probably won't ever stop having them. When I was a child, I argued with my mother to let me quit and now, as an adult, I beg MYSELF to quit. In the end, we just have to stick with it and, like athletes, push through the pain. I would do as others have suggested and keep it simple on rough days. Just keep practicing. You may not realize it but I bet you're getting better and better with each passing practice session. And if you feel like bagging a formal practice one day in exchange for something more relaxed and "fun" I say, DO IT!

 

Out of curiosity, have you posted a recording lately? I haven't seen one of your videos and I'd love to hear/see your version of The Kiss. Even WITHOUT vibrato! Maybe if you put it out in the world, you'll see that you are much better-sounding than you give yourself credit for. Aren't we usually more critical of ourselves than others are?

Anyways, hang in there and keep up the good work. Remember that we're all there struggling beside you!

bunny-headbang

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DanielB
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May 29, 2013 - 2:01 am
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UtahRoadbase said
Also, I have had tearful days since I started and probably won't ever stop having them. When I was a child, I argued with my mother to let me quit and now, as an adult, I beg MYSELF to quit.

I hear that, URB.  Like I tell people.. "I've given up on music a few times over the years.  It has never stuck though, because music doesn't seem to have given up on me, yet. "

 

roflol

 

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
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May 29, 2013 - 7:57 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I'm really glad you made this post Toni. So many feel the same way.

Everyone has those days, moments.....
This is one of the reasons I love it when you all record and sometimes even dare post your progress on video.
To see how much you have progressed Toni, check out some of your first videos. :-) I think you will be proud.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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May 29, 2013 - 6:39 pm
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@UtahRoadbase thank you for your reply. You have been down this road a lot longer than I... and have special insight.

I can't come close to playing Promentory  (sp?)/ The Kiss... barley can roll out the first notes.  I started working on the slow part of it.. and that is pretty... but there are some long notes... I need to break them up or learn vibrato IMHO... luckily for me I have a jam partner that can make up for that if I ever get with her to jam or record.

I am glad we are talking about this.  It is nice to hear everyone's opinion.

I have never pictured myself quitting.  I love it too much...and the joy and the need for it far surpasses "days like that.."  But it did stimulate a lot of conversation here and in the chatbox... so I feel happy about that.

Thank you and  Happy Fiddling..

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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coolpinkone
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@DanielB ...LOL.. Music has a reason for sticking with you.  You obviously have music in  your heart, soul and blood.  It calls to you.  I can feel that.

:)

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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coolpinkone
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violin-1267@Fiddlerman thank you!  I was hoping it didn't sound like a whine. I like the conversation that we are having here.  

 

Thank you.... I have looked at some of my beginning videos... facepalm But it has been the best of times, I know this to be true.

 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
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May 30, 2013 - 8:46 am
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Your input on the forum has been fantastic Toni. Thanks

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Mad_Wed
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Hahaha! I have those days too.

First i was upset when it happened (mostly first 6 months).

Now i love those bad days. Because i HAVE TO be concentrated much more on EVERYTHING! And it pays off later! Consider it as an advantage for your progress, and not as a reason to feel bad. If You can take it and use properly - it will be a good part of learning soon.

Cheer up, Toni, our smiling Pink Lady! =)birthday_balloonbirthday_balloonbirthday_balloondancinbunnydancinbunnydancinbunny

bunny_pole_dancer

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Ferret
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@coolpinkone 

Hi Toni

Yeah. It happens to all of us. To help get through it you have to keep thinking, "Its only a short term thing and will go away." And you will probably find that when start moving forward again you will make some 'real' progress. 

I know this because it's happened to me a few times. In fact I've even had times that I have regresses. Also while you must push yourself a bit to progress, it's important that        you don't try to push too hard. It can be destructive.

And the most important thing of all, enjoy your self. blink

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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coolpinkone
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@Fiddlerman thank you.

 

@Mad_Wed -  good point...take these kind of days and live with it..or make a little lemonade with the lemons.. get feisty and try harder.  Good point. Thank you Sweets!

@Ferret - good advice.  Thank you.  It is about fun. :)   I have had times where I regressed or felt that I regressed also... seem to spurt ahead after...

:)

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Mark Duin
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I agree. It happens if you're a musician. We must not let that negative thought come in our mind before it will only stop you from what you are suppose to do. Try to improve in composition. You can do lot better. There's always a room for improvement for everyone.b Keep up the spirit my friend.

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coolpinkone
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Thank you Mark. You are correct negativity is a killer.  We have to shun it and play positively through our lessons.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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The best way to sound great is play with someone who hasn't been playing as long as you. LOL Then you can see how much you've really progressed. Everyone started somewhere.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Reverie
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From my experience, I have found to embrace mistakes and frustration. I expect myself to have shortcomings and when I have enough I walk away to do something I am good at (sketching!). Then I return, not surprised at my failure; just keep playing, even through the rough spots, in time you will overcome, you will succeed, you've come this far already!

Give No Mercy To Fear.

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