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When Is It Time To "Move On" With What You're Practicing?

TheRedMageGuitarist

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Nov 6, 2021
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Hey there Synners!

I'd like to hear everyone's feedback about "when it's time to move on." I've been researching and on another school I learned "When you start getting bored, it's time to move on." But I'm not necessarily getting BORED, but I'm practicing a really difficult solo that's well beyond my ability. And I'm caught between "moving on" means "quitting" and "moving on" means "it's no longer really fun."

I've been practicing this for almost a month now. And it's one spot that's about 2 measures long. There's a LOT of fast sixlets in the solo (it's not Scream), and I can play about 90% of the solo up to speed but I really want to be able to do this. But it seems like I'll be stuck on this for years and it'll consume a lot of my practice time. Is it time to move on and do something different? Thanks in advance!
 
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Radu-Cristian Perde

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    I would personally say that maybe it's not as much time to move on as it is time to take a break from practising it. From my own personal experience, what helped me is to try to get as fast as possible and make my muscle and fingers learn the pattern as much as possible. First step is memorizing it so you don't have to think about it which I feel like you obviously have already done.

    Then you raise up the speed to be as high as you possibly can and when you start feeling like its blocking and not advancing and that no matter how much you practice, you just don't see progress, then that's when time comes to move on from that specific pattern (in this case solo) and make your muscles work on something else. Why? Because that way they will have time to assimilate what you try to do and will be better prepared. It's a bit more spacey concept because it deals with subconscious, reflexes and muscle memory but what I find is that once you come back to it after, let's say in my case it's generally 2-3 weeks, you sort of have forgotten it a bit and you have to relearn it and so you go back to a smaller speed but then you start to raise it back up again and then often I come to realize that the part I was struggling with has become easier and then I can go faster.

    I am not a doctor obviously but I really went and looked up the link between the nervous system and music and it's relationship with the brain and it helped me optimized my practice a lot because what happens is that the muscles (in this case fingers) will already know what they have to do and will get faster because they just know it. How many time have you been playing fast and then you start looking at your fretboard and think about what you are doing and suddenly you fumbled? That's what happens when you conscioucsly go and interrupt the finger's own ''intelligence''

    It's sort of the same behaviour as your brain when studying. How many time did it happen that you sat down and started studying something and then you take information in for 30, 40, 50 min and then your brain starts to feel like it can't take anything anymore and that nothing goes in. That's often because it needs time to assimilate what you just fed him. And so it's why a lot of people advise to study for 45 min and take 15 min break doing something that will make you think about anything else. In that 15 min frame time, if I understood correctly, your brain will then start to assimilate the concepts and won't be overwhelmed by you constantly trying to feed him information. And then when you get back to studying, you will feel fresher and more open to assimilate new information!

    Obviously muscles work in a different manner and more often, slower than the brain. Then again, it really depends from one individual to the other as people's body are different and it also depends on how you generally stimulate your muscles. So while I can't tell you exactly what will work for you, I am just sharing my trick and the method to my madness of learning 6 instruments at the same time and still progressing!

    I hope this somewhat makes sense!
     
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    TheRedMageGuitarist

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    that actually was a really SUPER helpful response! I love how you said it's more of "take a break from it" rather than "move on from it." And the whole talk about spending x amount of time and then taking a break, I definitely don't do that enough. I do this damn thing every freaking day, for hours on end. I really appreciate this Radu!! Thank you!!!
     
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    Kat the metalhead

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  • Jan 20, 2020
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    I’m pretty sure I have a good answer to this!! So it’s almost been a year of working on the bat country solo and I’m still on the 2 beginning bars which is like nothing haha that solo means the world to me so I have to learn it!

    at times it got boring and other times I had fun practising but when I got bored I’d find a song or 2 at my playing level to learn in between or just take a break from what I’m struggling with

    me personally I make more improvements if I take breaks because when I come back I feel more confident and ready and usually do improve. I also tend to over think to the point I get tense and can’t loosen up so I know that means its time to leave it alone for a bit and come back in with a fresh mind set

    our bodies tell us a lot of things so if you feel tense or just keep screwing up a ton just take a rest and come back the next day or even week

    I hope what I said helps even just a little bit lol
     
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    Chris Johnston

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    This is something I struggle with all the time, but with experience I feel like if there's a thing that you're trying to do that's really technically proficient, it's worth asking yourself - How long did it take the person who actually wrote/performed this solo- to be able to play it? A month, a year? A few years? Their whole life? If you've been practicing it for a month and you feel like you're hitting a wall, it's totally cool to give yourself a break to give your technique time to catch up and regroup. Remember a month is a very short time 😊

    You will 100% be able to play it eventually, but you can't rush the muscle memory/experience needed to do what you're trying to do, so enjoy the chase and know that anything else you try to split up the time with will serve what you're trying to do in the long run 🤟

    The whole 'quitting' mindset can turn the playing/exploration of your instrument into a sport and It's easy as a lover of the Metal genre to get sucked into a certain expectation of your playing - I need all the chops etc. The only advice is can give is to take any decision you make as a positive one, as long as you're enjoying playing your instrument and learning, even if you're not nailing that 1 particular solo, you're improving another aspect of your playing 🤟

    Hopefully this wasn't too much of a ramble, but I can relate to the dilemma 👌
     
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    Jamie London

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    For me, if I’m close to something but don’t quite have it down after a few months i add it into to the first few minutes of my practice regime but take the focus off it a bit. That way it’s not totally out of mind but it’s still being worked on.
     
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    Forgetabull

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    I tend to park songs and pick them up again a long time later.. it's worked with a few songs where it's sort of dawned on me what the player was trying to do or why they do it a certain way and then makes it easier for me to remember. However, I'm not remotely planning on being a note perfect person, I'm trying to get the gist of what the song/lick is.

    I think for your specific query, I guess is it the chunk of the song holding you back or your top speed holding you back.. if it's your top speed, I guess you'd focus on that instead of the specific song. That's the method I ended up doing to try and get my trem picking up to speed, granted it was for something basic like Miserlou..
     
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    Matt Wildcat

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    I agree with many of the above responses! It's not about giving up and moving on, it's just putting it to the side for the moment to try something else that will keep you engaged and excited about guitar. I admit, I don't know how to do this, because boy have I burnt myself out by just throwing my efforts at a wall constantly, not being able to achieve the result I wanted, and throwing the whole thing down because I got so frustrated about it. If I had instead just put that aside and gone for something else that still interested me and still meant I could progress, I'd probably still be playing rn, and hell, I probably would've gone back to that piece and made progress!

    I love Jamie's idea of adding it to the practice schedule and not focusing on it so much. There's a good chance that you'll accidentally figure it out while just warming up, I know it's happened to me before!

    As my fav villain Vaas once said, "Insanity is doing the exact same fuckin thing, over and over again, expecting shit to change. That. Is. Crazy." so if you're stuck doing the exact same thing with no progress for now, give something else a go, give your brain and fingers a break from that particular piece, and come back to it refreshed and revitalised! That way, you'll have much more chance of getting it because you'll enjoy it more!

    You're not quitting, you're taking a tactical break.
    🤘😎🤘
     
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    Jeremy Healey

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    I know there’s a lot of responses like this already but this is also my two cents to it!

    Taking a break from playing one thing is important sometimes I find because it keeps the general interest in playing / learning there without it feeling more like a chore.

    And I personally find that when I take a small break from something, when I do decided to go back to it, I feel like it comes a bit more naturally as my brain has had time to digest all the information from practicing! Also just coming back to something with fresh eyes / mind can also be a great help. Can also be applied to just about everything in life lol
     
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