Are you having slow progress in your apprenticeship? It has been observed that self-teaching can be slower and frustrating or both depending on the circumstances. Though, having a tutor may make the process easier and faster, finding a good tutor that is hourly available is one of the difficult tasks ever as far as learning skills and developing them is concerned.
The importance of constant practice and rehearsals cannot be overemphasized. But one fact everyone can testify to is that we hardly ever get all the time we need for practice. And for certain periods, we may even totally miss out on rehearsals spanning up to months maybe.
I’m going to give you practical ways to keep up the progress even when you are not constantly practicing physically.
Now let’s go…
Practising In Your Head
This sounds awkward, right? But truth be told, this holds one of the greatest secrets of great minds. The laboratory of the mind is the only one no one can destroy or take away from except they get to you first. You can take it anywhere and start working once the moment is “quiet enough for meditation”.
This has a historical perspective too. You will soon find out.
In 1958, the year Van Cliburn won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, a lean 6 feet 1 inch, 19-year-old Chinese pianist named Liu Shih-Kun came in second. Young Liu became one of China’s top concert performers until 1966 when the country was shaken by the Cultural Revolution and the notorious “Gang of Four” (which included Mao Tsetung’s wife, Chiang Ching). Western music was totally banned and along with thousands of other artists and intellectuals, Liu was sent to prison where he languished for six years without a piano. Unconfirmed Soviet press reports indicated that Liu’s hands or wrists had been broken by Red Guards.
After his release at age 40, he was picked as one of the two soloists in the orchestra organized by conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony in their wildly successful concert tour of Shanghai and Peking.
After few hours of rehearsals before the concert, he made quite another debut after the show. Making it look as if the lost 10 years in prison doesn’t really matter much.
In another narration of Alex Kotlowitz, he talked about how he made a soundless cardboard piano in the prison cell and learn to play professionally with no prior piano experience. Before he was sent to the prison, his only piano experience was slamming all the keys on his grandmother’s old upright piano. He learned how to play the saxophone in his sixth grade, however. But facing the reality of the prison and his newfound desire to learn the piano, the best he could do was make a 76 keys cardboard piano and asking his mother to send him some chord charts from home.
It’s such a coincidence that I used the piano as a representation in both stories. However, it may also represent my love for the instrument for which I have also represented myself over the years. I am a pianist/keyboardist too and I have found this truly helpful even before I found them out.
For whatever skills that require your hands and imaginations, two things are necessarily important; your hand on the skill and your imagination. Whereas both are important, one way by which you can learn faster or stay up to date especially when you are not found practising the skill is by keeping your imagination alive all the time. And this is what I call “Practicing in your Head”.
Understanding Patterns Rather Than Just Memorizing
Creativity is the bedrock of being professional in your skill or handwork or other pursuits. But fortunately, creativity is a product of “understanding”. It is simply your ability to create something new from an existing repertoire of knowledge. But this comes in only if you truly understand the concept you are dealing with. Understanding patterns gives you a broad view of how they were invented and with that, you are on the track to invent one yourself. Professionalism utilizes your long term experience, as enough training to give you an adequate understanding of the subject matter, turning you into an embodiment of free expression rather than a piece of a hard-wired memory box. In other words, you do what you desire to do at a given time and not what you are obliged to do according to some set instructions.
There are a lot of things to know about how the pros did it without long hours of practice but there is yet one I must talk about next and that is consistency.
Be Consistent, Though Small
According to a scholarly research article published at Sagepub.com, “experiments demonstrate that subjects can develop performance indicative of automatic processing if the relationships among stimuli remain consistent”. In this study, relationships among the stimuli were also referred to as ‘higher-level consistency’ and furthermore denoting the similarity or consistency among the stimuli presented.
By extension, it, therefore, means that performance is related to the frequency of contacts with it. Results have also shown that little consistent efforts amounts in overwhelming results over time, then greater efforts with very long gaps in-between. The pros simply apply the big things they have been practising in their heads within those short hours of practice and achieve amazing results. Therefore, I see no reason why you can’t be one of them. After all, I don’t think there is something extraordinary being done here!
I am a seasoned writer, not because I am some genius but thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I curate the most content on this website; all geared towards making you a better and happier audience.