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how fast do skills deteriorate when one ceases to practice?   You are logged in as Guest
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Jurriaan

 

Posts: 48
Joined: Dec. 14 2011
From: Netherlands

how fast do skills deteriorate when ... 

Hey guys I was wondering what you think about this. I'm a medium skilled player and practice for an hour every day including drilling of basic technique. In two weeks time I'm going backpacking for about a month with probably no opportunity to play (very remote) - I'm a bit afraid that I will lose technique. Have you guys got experience with this? How fast would flamenco skills decay over time? Best, Jurriaan
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 8:24:16
 
tele

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

This was discussed couple months ago here, try search

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 8:45:48
 
Ruphus

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

Maybe it depends onthe individual case.

Segovia, a classical guitarist, claimed skipping one day would already be detrimental.

I have just had a break of over two months, as I didn´t feel like music after my old cat passed in early April.
Two days ago I grabbed the guitar first time again, and eventhough I was clearly set back to a degree, it was a very inspired session with lots of good new clues.
It felt as if catching up on former level could be done easily while the new clues bad been of great learning value.

In competitive sports it is long known that a little break before competition only helps. Also I remember feeling great / doing well when returning from holidays during my years of intensive physcial training.

One things for sure, besides, is your way of exercising an hour daily. That is of good efficiency. Unlike say sporadic sessions of 5 or more hours, the way I used to practise in the first decades.
Thats was no good.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 9:43:26
 
mark indigo

 

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From: UK

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

quote:

I'm a bit afraid that I will lose technique.


i think Julian Lloyd Webber said "if I miss a day's practice I notice, if I miss two days practice the critics notice, if I miss three day's practice the audience notice."

you will probaby lose it a bit, but it will probably come back pretty quick,
especially if you assume it will be all gone and start from the beginning/basics, then you will be surprised how quick it comes back

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 10:20:02
 
guitarbuddha

 

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

I'm a bit afraid that I will lose technique.


i think Julian Lloyd Webber said "if I miss a day's practice I notice, if I miss two days practice the critics notice, if I miss three day's practice the audience notice."

you will probaby lose it a bit, but it will probably come back pretty quick,
especially if you assume it will be all gone and start from the beginning/basics, then you will be surprised how quick it comes back


Hey Mark you read my mind. But in my case a Tai Chi saying.

'Miss a day your teacher knows, miss two you know, miss a week everyone knows.'

The trick seems always to start back slow and methodical and with strong and clear objectives.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 10:36:53
 
Jurriaan

 

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From: Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

Haha, I like that saying about days of not practicing and people noticing. I would also guess the degree of decay depends on your level; advanced players, with more automatized skills, would probably experience less decay of skill. For instance, your skill of driving a car/bicycle is also very robust to decay because the behaviors are very automatized. Thanks for your replies guys I guess I will have to just increase practice to 1.5 hours when I get back. Best wishes, Jurriaan
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 10:59:44
 
guitarbuddha

 

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jurriaan

I would also guess the degree of decay depends on your level; advanced players, with more automatized skills, would probably experience less decay of skill. For instance, your skill of driving a car/bicycle is also very robust to decay because the behaviors are very automatized.


If only it were that easy. The muscles powering your fingers in your hands take only a day or so to atrophy (lose firmness). That is why it is vital to start with short sessions after a period of rest.

Even guys who have played at a high level can suffer badly if they rest completely due to injury. Their brain forces their hands to do things that they have not been prepared for. And a cycle of stain and inflammation can be set up. More like running than driving unfortunately. But don't worry too much the hands respond really quickly if you start with short sessions and regular breaks.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 11:15:49
 
Jurriaan

 

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From: Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

Hmm, ok so I gather from your posts that it is better to pick up your skills by starting with shorter and more focused sessions, rather than increasing session length. That does make sense within the analogy Ruphus made with competitive sports - you could injure yourself when you start at the same intensity level after a long break. Another interesting thing Ruphus mentioned - improvement in skills after not practicing for a day. I have noticed with arpeggio training that sometimes I improved while for some reason I did not practice for a day. On possible explanation I could give for this effect is that the nervous system gets time to ' digest' the practice without interference from a new practice session and hence the skill can improve without practice.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 11:38:06
 
davidheis_24

 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 11:42:19
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 12:50:12
 
Erik van Goch

 

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From: Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

In my best days as soon as i skipped a single day i would notice a lack of control for a couple of days. I also had to shorten my nails on a daily base because the overnight grow would disturb my refined technique. However, even when you can't bring a guitar you can still train your fingers and mind (as long as you have time and energy). One of my better performances was after i didn't play for 3 days... but i trained my fingers on my arm/leg whenever possible and on top i played the complete song in my mind over and over again on a daily base (imagining the left and right hand finger management, finger/guitar interaction, string vibration, dynamics etc, everything as real as real can be). That turned out to be even more effective then playing the guitar for real. Obviously it took me a of training before i was able to train like that.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 12:54:42
 
estebanana

 

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

There was this Gitano in Sevilla who lost his guitar because he had a heroin problem. He would take a piece of card board box about half the size of a guitar face and hold it over his stomach and do rasgueado on it and sing with it while he played tapado por buleria or tangos. He roved around tables in open air cafes' playing for tips. He was annoying and other gypsies thought he gave them a bad name. But he could make flamenco happen on that swatch of cardboard whether you liked him or not.

If you're worried about your technique you could always cancel your back pack trip and get a card board box.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 13:14:44
 
Jurriaan

 

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From: Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

Yes, a friend of mine who is a professional guitarist also says he uses mental practice when he has no guitar.

@estebanana, thank you for the advice, I will take your suggestion into consideration (maybe it would also be beneficial to start using heroin);-)

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Playing music is not difficult - you just have to play the right note at the right time (J.S. Bach)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 13:35:48
 
Ruphus

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik van Goch

That turned out to be even more effective then playing the guitar for real.


Makes sense, absolutely.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 15:28:16
 
Paul Magnussen

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From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

i think Julian Lloyd Webber said "if I miss a day's practice I notice, if I miss two days practice the critics notice, if I miss three day's practice the audience notice."


I believe that’s Paderewski. At least, that seems to be the consensus; but the number of people credited with it appears to run into double figures.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 15:36:23
 
Paul Magnussen

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From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Guest

quote:

I could swear I read an interview with Paco where he stated he doesn't practice anymore.


Depends what you mean by practice:

If it’s the interview I’m thinking of, the interviewer asked him how much he practised, and he said he just played whatever occurred to him (lo que me sale). If nothing occurred to him, he didn’t play.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 15:40:19
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

If you had it once, you can get it back so to speak. Here is the thing for me, as I said last time this topic came up. It's about INSPIRATION. If you have it, you will play your best and get better. If you just practice to practice you are not really achieving anything IMO. I only practice when inspired and sometimes I can't put the guitar down for hours. but when I force myself to work I don't notice much improvement and in worst cases playing guitar suddenly feels like driving a truck. I just put it away and do other things until I get the inspiration again.

Inspiration can come from MANY different sources by the way.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 16:17:38
 
rickm

 

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

after four major surgeries to my right hand I find that things I practiced very well before as tremolo and rasqueado I can do fairly well, if not for long. there is no way I can get all the way thru Recuerdos any more. things that I didn't practice very well are more difficult.
There does seem to be some adaption going on, in other words if I really concentrate on doing a particular passage and the index finger isn't working, some other finger or the thumb jumps up and finds the right spot.
going without playing for a couple months wont inadvertently affect you a great deal. you might finds yourself a bit sloppy at first, but it will soon go away. the key of course is that while you have healthy hands to put in the right amount of concentrated practice to build up that muscle memory and intellectual memory of where you are going.
I had one old flamenco who gave me a lot of exercises to do without the guitar so I do those when not playing.
but I am old and have bad hands and a lot of arthritis and years of abuse to my hands. Youth can overcome a lot. But as the years take their toll that is what will eventually affect yr playing.
Practice as you can and make it good practice even rudimentary movements will benefit you hands and try not to do a lot of shock things to your hands. Like lifting heavy weights or splitting firewood. Shock, more than repition will damage your hands.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 16:31:14
 
rickm

 

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

p.s. I think Ricardo hit it very well don't think of practice as practice. think of it as playing.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 16:32:49
 
Erik van Goch

 

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Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

If you had it once, you can get it back so to speak. Here is the thing for me, as I said last time this topic came up. It's about INSPIRATION. If you have it, you will play your best and get better. If you just practice to practice you are not really achieving anything IMO. I only practice when inspired and sometimes I can't put the guitar down for hours. but when I force myself to work I don't notice much improvement and in worst cases playing guitar suddenly feels like driving a truck. I just put it away and do other things until I get the inspiration again.

Inspiration can come from MANY different sources by the way.

Ricardo


SPOT ON :-)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 16:33:24
 
Ruphus

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to rickm

quote:

ORIGINAL: rickm

Shock, more than repition will damage your hands.


You make me think.
Sometimes I wonder whether what I attribute to focal dystonia could have to do with intense break testing ( or how do you call breaking woods, tiles or stones with hands ) that I used to do.
The nuckles, specially of m and i had expanded to at least three times original size, mostly covered with thick callus.

My m-finger extends convulsively, and the base of that finger used to take the main hit when the fist was engaged during my budo years. Yet, after ten years, with WT the technique changed with all four knuckles from then on hitting evenly. By then however harm might have done already, only increasing further from there maybe.

I have been wondering before whether a piece of cartilage might have split off and slipped between the limbs, or something alike.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 17:32:38
 
Erik van Goch

 

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From: Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan



A funny thing i share with both Paco de Lucia and Astor Piazzolla is our love for the oceans. The prime reason i picked up guitar playing was not the fact my father was a professional player, nor the fact it was the first language i ever learned... it was because i wanted to become a crew member of Jacques Cousteaus Calypso, and for one reason or the other believed playing the guitar would fit the corresponding job description.

I happen to love the creatures of the deep, Astor Piazzolla was a shark man (using fishing lines to catch them) and Paco de Lucia (like Couseau) is into diving. He frequently escapes his hectic life to recharge batteries on the bottom of the ocean, with no mobile or guitar within miles. Above recording was made right after he spend a couple of mounts on the ocean without his guitar. For Expo '92 he returned the day before the concert, intending to spend a couple of hours of quality time with his guitar to re-find his fingers. As it turned out this was easier said then done because the long departure had resulted in a substantial loss of callosity on his finger tips, causing blisters in the process.

Speaking about detoriation: the very expensive facilities build for the expo were only shortly used.. when i visited the place a couple of years later it was in very poor condition and the huge parking facilities were only visited by nocturnal couples with obvious intends.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 17:35:44
 
BarkellWH

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From: Washington, DC

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

If you had it once, you can get it back so to speak. Here is the thing for me, as I said last time this topic came up. It's about INSPIRATION. If you have it, you will play your best and get better. If you just practice to practice you are not really achieving anything IMO. I only practice when inspired and sometimes I can't put the guitar down for hours. but when I force myself to work I don't notice much improvement and in worst cases playing guitar suddenly feels like driving a truck. I just put it away and do other things until I get the inspiration again.

Inspiration can come from MANY different sources by the way.


Ricardo, you have hit on something that is key to advancing in any endeavor, whether it be music, writing, art, or just about anything else. Inspiration is key: with it one can accomplish more than one might think; without it, the effort is just work and leads to mediocrity. Hemingway once said that he considered his day a success if he was inspired to write just one true sentence. (Sounds Hemingwayesque, no?!) The point being, inspired to write one true sentence, and then going to El Floridita on Calle Obispo in Havana to drink frozen daiquiris and talk to the local whores was more of an accomplishment than spending the day writing mediocre paragraphs.

Cheers,

Bill

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With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 19:02:28
 
FredGuitarraOle

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Joined: Dec. 6 2012
From: Lisboa, Portugal

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

but when I force myself to work I don't notice much improvement and in worst cases playing guitar suddenly feels like driving a truck. I just put it away and do other things until I get the inspiration again.

Same with me. It's vital to know when to put the guitar down and give it a break. Doing otherwise is counter-productive and can only lead to frustration.
It's just like women, it's no use getting in an argument. You will lose whether you are right or not and get upset with each other. There's no point in persisting when things start to go wrong, guitar and women always prevail... some time is all they need.


quote:

it was because i wanted to become a crew member of Jacques Cousteaus Calypso, and for one reason or the other believed playing the guitar would fit the corresponding job description.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 20:03:10
 
aeolus

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From: Mier

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

If you only practice an hour a day I wouldn't worry about it. You don't have that much to lose and you will gain what you had back quickly.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 20:11:05
 
Miguel de Maria

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From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to BarkellWH

I don't like this talk of inspiration. We have to work. Rest makes rust. If I miss a day or two, it's no big deal, but it adds up over weeks and months. The months I am playing a lot, I am a lot better than if it's been busy and I've been missing a lot of time. Of course, you don't want to pick it up like it's a shovel or something. If you have to talk about inspiration, talk about how to find that inspiration, not as an excuse for not putting in the necessary time on the instrument. Most of us need a lot of consistent time to play at any kind of level.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 20:34:38
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2829
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

I don't like this talk of inspiration. We have to work. Rest makes rust.


I heartily agree, Miguel. There is an old saying that success consists of ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. I do think, however, that the ten percent inspiration is absolutely necessary in order for the ninety percent perspiration to result in success.

Cheers,

Bill

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And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 20:47:52
 
rickm

 

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RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

as far as inspiration and mechanical skills of playing is concerned doesn't it take both? I don't think ricardo meant you need to dedicate yourself 100 percent and not make time for work etc. I think what he meant is tht art is a both a mechanical journey of tools and physical dexterity and a mental one of visualization. Michealangelo as he painted the Sistine chapel had to have the physical means to paint well, but the mental synopsis of where to go. Practice, and that is a pedestrian term, has to bring both into focus.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 21:17:30
 
Ruphus

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Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

Right, the relevance with inspiration lies in the vision.

The more concrete and detailed your vision the less execution will be needed to reach to the goal.
Vice versa, all the dedication and exercising in the world will not help, if you are envisioning way off from effcient practice.

Thus playing in one´s mind as Erik described stands for very high efficiency.
- Provided you envision ergonomical technique, naturally.

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 21:46:25
 
Flamencito

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From: The Netherlands

RE: how fast do skills deteriorate w... (in reply to Jurriaan

These kind of topics are very helpfull to me

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 15 2013 21:54:35
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