Fan of the layoff! (Full Version)

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Graeme -> Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 11:55:50)

It's happened time and time again. After a layoff from normal practice routine, usually due to other activities overflowing into my natural playing slots and lasting a few weeks, I come back feeling really guilty but find that the last thing I was working on has matured in my abscence.

It has just happened with a Seguiriyas rasgueado e-a-m-i-e-a-m-i (Juan Martin) which had been two distinct e-a-m-i s but is now, four weeks later, almost one. And when I try my continuous ras in the same pattern, that is much improved too.

So, am I fooling myself (psychological), or is the layoff allowing some muscular development (physiological) to occur in the rest period? If the latter then should we not be planning these rests into our practice? I'm familiar with the general caution not to over-practice but I really wouldn't call my usual routine over-practicing!

Any thoughts out there.......?


Florian -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 11:59:33)

yes i find when i rest sometimes for 2 days and come back i my hands feel fresh..

most of the time my hands muscles are always tense from trying different things all the time, and i only notice it when a girl massages my hand (wich is not often enough)

it dosent hurt but theres always muscle aiche there

fevictor -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 12:40:15)


I come back feeling really guilty

Its funny you mentioned that Graeme. If I don't pick up the guitar after only two days I feel like somehow I've let it down!! As if its saying to me "see! thats why you can't play me well yet!"

Jim9guitars -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 12:51:54)

I've had this happen several times in my life, I think sometimes we get too close to what we're working on and don't realize our bodies(hands) need time to absorb things. It's never a planned thing when it happens, I don't know if I could purposely stop for a while to prove it, I suspect it would be counter-productive.


Thomas Whiteley -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 16:27:34)


Any thoughts out there.......?

I think that it is a persons mental state. If you become too absorbed in something you can stress yourself out and loose focus. Also if you are stressed for other reasons that makes playing or learning difficult and not fun.

It often helps to go on to something different at times and come back later refreshed and with your mind open to new possibilities.

bahen -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 17:01:59)


Any thoughts out there.......?

The life sciences call it 'sensorimotor intelligence', where your body does actually absorb and utilise information in the same way your brain does.

People who go to the gym for a long time, e.g., one year, and then stop for three or four months lose most of the muscle mass that they had gained. Then, when they return to the gym, their 'muscle memory' allows them to regain the muscle mass that was gained over a year in just a few weeks. It's 'muscle memory' / 'sensorimotor intelligence'. It's a related phenomenon to your improvement, so I wouldn't just forego the idea that it is, as you put it, a physiological improvement catalysed by the two day latency.


Doitsujin -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 17:19:04)


Any thoughts out there.......?

Really interesting. Espacially the muscle thing.
When I make holiday or when I have much to do in the university that I have no time to practice I get slow and worser. Jus one week is enough to feel that. And just around 2-3 days and my picado is crap again. Its right, the time to get on the same level as before or even a bit better is years shorter tan beor my holiday. But if I wouldnt stop and play every day.. I think I could get much faster much better than with pauses.
Overpracticeing is a bad thing, too. Sometimes I need one day pause. hmmm There is potential for a diploma, no?

Ron.M -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 20:20:10)

I experience the same sort of thing.
I'm not so sure that it's completely physical though..

If you get to the end of a really good practise session when things are really coming together and you're happy with the bit you've'll notice that your mood is considerably altered from day to day life.
A lot calmer and more easily focussed.
In fact, when you put the guitar back in it's case, you still feel moderately "high".

So picking up the guitar next day for a quick 20 minute strum during a lunch break doesn't really feel the same.

BTW...This "Thumb Only" technique I'm using just now is really paying off.
My hand feels much more relaxed and I can quickly and suddenly change what I had intended doing in a falseta according to my instantaneous mood.
I can go much easier with the music now.

Listening to some early Sabicas...I really think that guy had some rough sketches of new stuff he was going to do in the studio and when the mic was on he just made a lot of it up on the wing.

Not regarding his "new" falseta structures or general outline.
But I think the guy just went with the flow of the moment, calling up things and ideas and remates he'd done in the past, just as he felt it at the moment.

I don't think folk record studio albums like that now.
Not that that's a "bad" thing or anything, but studio time is expensive and when you are working with other musicians, you've more or less got to stick to the script.

Try the freedom of this...
Just put on a loop or metronome and just play...or not play...or just add in little fills here and there, just as the mood takes you.

IMO it's much more enjoyable than sitting in front of tabs or worrying about if your fingers are in the right position etc.

These are my thoughts anyway..



koella -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 20:47:17)

Good thoughts Ron ! It's actually about playing of course.

This is what a communication expert of the Utrecht university told me:

When you are busy learning new things ( technique's, pieces) you are actually stimulating your brain to make changes, connections etc. ( you know the neurotransmitter thing blabla).

But the ACTUAL changes are made when you are in rest. So when you are sleeping or on holiday.

I bet everyone has had the experience of practising all day, and then the next day everything comes together. You can do that "new thing" all of a sudden.
Well that's it (I think).

Of course this doesn't apply to the normal muscle condition ( speed, force).
Because that will only stay at a certain level by practising everyday.

So how about that ? When you are asleep or enjoying your holiday, you are actually working your **** off[:D]

Graeme -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 23 2006 21:44:13)

Some really provoking stuff here and, of course, no answers because everyone is different! But that makes it all the more interesting.

Koella's spooky night-time maintenance probably comes closest to describing what I feel happens to me (but over a much longer period). There are echoes of the film "Westworld" here so I may have to sleep with one eye open tonight to see what goes on.

And bahen's "sensorimotor intelligence" seems to be a variation on this theme.

But I'm sure stress has a part to play also. Not sure if I can mention Jamey Andreas here(???).......I followed his hyper-active thought processes for a time and feel there is some good stuff in there. He is a BIG believer in subconscious stress being the root of most of the guitar player's evils and offers various exercises to check and relieve it. Of course I don't do the exercises......well, you don't do you.


Ricardo -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 24 2006 15:59:46)

I personally find myself improving when I just LISTEN to flamenco, or maybe watch a video. The more I start to understand, the better my playing gets without even touching the instrument. I know technical things are a little different, but it is really mostly mental. If something inspires me, my playing goes way up on all levels. If I am not in the mood, I suck.


Doitsujin -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 24 2006 16:49:05)

Yes I heared about mental training. For example F1 pilots do the race in the head with every bend and speed. I heared that some of them are able to do a round in the head and they are just some seconds away from the reality round time.
And I learned in the university that you can regenerate your brain cells by using them. In past they made many tests with special birds. And they found, that the brain growed in spring, when they sing much. That sounds funny but its the truth. So you can get better only if you imagine very consequent and often the technik which you wanna do better. How much better it will get, is unclear. Maybe it doesnt work for many people. But its seriously possible.
They made also mouse-research and some mice got more brain mass but it was only mass and not useable... So.. good luck. hehe

Ron.M -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 24 2006 19:54:18)


but it is really mostly mental.

I agree totally Ricardo.
Sometimes listening to recordings I've suddenly heard a falseta I play and have been listening to for years...played the "correct" way.
It's like a bunch of bricks have been dropped on your head and a light bulb appears!
You can't believe you never saw it's so damn obvious.
The falseta now really makes "sense", rather than just a nice passage...
The notes are exactly the same..but there is just a very slight difference to the phrasing that makes it perfect and "right".

Technique is great to have, but it's not the be all and end all of Flamenco...
Can you imagine how PdL would sound if his technique was still the same, but his compás, phrasing and sense of rhythm was a bit shaky?

If you can't hear it right, you can't play it right, IMO...

Regardless if the "tabs" back you up as being perfectly "correct".



Miguel de Maria -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 26 2006 21:04:09)

Supposedly, learning and improvement happens in the spaces between practice. Also, I heard that the LAST repetition has the most "weight" in your learning.

So, most people end up playing scales over and over again, really grinding. Getting frustrated as the speed increases because it is not happening. By the end, they are going too fast, are sloppy. The last repetition is probably the 16th notes at 180 or whatever, and is the worst one.

So then they stop, their hands hurt, they have put in some good information, and put in a lot of bad information, and the last, most important repetition, is total trash.

Oh, you mean I'm the only one who has done that?! :)

koella -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 26 2006 21:50:37)

You are right Miguel.
Clear, easy repetition of certain "acts" will stimulate our brains to convince them of the fact that the acts are necessary to survive. ( it's a primitive thing[:D])
But when the acts are too chaotic ( read: too fast, sloppy) they will only be translated as....stress.
And they will be put away in the deepest caverns of our subconsciousness.

Now how do I say that as a Dutchman.[8D]

Guest -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 27 2006 1:55:42)

I think having breathers from repetitive practise has to be a good thing. Sometimes i just dont feel like playing the guitar and the more i try and force myself to play when im in this mood the worse i think i sound and its not good phycologically. I hate that feeling when u go to put the guitar back in the case and your thinking, why do i bother? So now if i dont feel like playing i dont play, otherwise i end up hating the intrument which is something i dont want to happen. Also what u guys r saying about you muscles remembering and all thatr stuff makes sense, also your brain digesting everything and making new pathways for the new stuff u may be learning has to take time as well.

seanm -> RE: Fan of the layoff! (Apr. 27 2006 2:54:50)

The neuro pathway stuff is interesting. I believe that it is mostly mental in that your brain is often fried after focusing on new material and you stop concentrating fully. After leaving it alone for a while you are forced to concentrate once again and often this focused concentration allows you to play better. This is supported by the fact that 1 hour of practice 5 times a week is way better that one 5 hour session a week because with each new session you have to re-focus and basically re-learn. Everytime you "relearn" you are reenforcing the pathways (as previously mentioned). After a period of practice on the same material, you start to rely on muscle memory and your brain checks out. So again, it is good to switch to something new every half hour or so or alternate new material with technique and repetoire maintenance. Finally, taking this one step futher, try practicing without your guitar (visualization) and then see how much your daily pratice improves.


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