Getting through the tough times.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Thirteen Ball, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Is it just me or does this happen to everyone?

    I’m currently in a period where I just can’t seem to play a note right, my brain refuses to recognise key and time signatures, I can’t count and every other note I play is a split/mispitch or a wrong-un. It’s starting to get really demoralising, and I’ve found myself bluffing/dropping off bits I’m concerned I’ll mess up, rather than having a go at getting it right and possibly pulling it off. It's been going on for a couple of months now and I just can't seem to get any form back.

    If someone gave me little F and G march to play I’d flippin’ split half of it at the moment and probably play the wrong key. It’s really doing my head in & not doing my confidence wonders either. Last night I was so annoyed with myself that I honestly considered chucking it all in and giving up playing.

    How do I get through it? I don’t know what to do. :cry:
  2. paddo

    paddo Member

    Hi Fella,

    hard work thats how! start at home by going back to basics, long notes, different intervalsand just stick at it mate.

    Just before I left knottingley I was very p***** off, went to play with a few other bands and left knottingley and went to the shat band!

    did the trick, really enjoying it now for a change.

    stick at it mate, but don't nock off bits or it will get worse..... trust me1 i'm a BB player!!
  3. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Just stop worrying about it and it may just come back....Alternatively, take a couple of weeks holiday from playing (don't touch the instrument at all) and come back to it fresh. Probably no more than a couple of weeks though otherwise it brings a whole set of new problems....

    I think your biggest problem sounds like you are concentrating more on not making a mess of it than you are about the music. You just need to break out of that frame of mind and then it will all come back to you.

    Does that make sense? I know what I'm trying to say, so hopefully you do too..... :)
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2006
  4. Rambo Chick

    Rambo Chick Member

    All right andi lad. Getting through the tough times..hmm... well you heard me at practice last night!!! Or not as the case was since i couldnt play a flippin' note!

    Seriously, I think all you may be suffering from is snowball syndrome where you have convinced yourself you cant play and so you panic at the first little thing that youre not quite sure about. What I do is try my best at it and if it aint working then I have a practice. Its finding the time to do it which can be a pain but even if you only get your bass out for 10 mins one eve while your teas cooking it can make a world of difference. One year at uni, we were all back from summer hols and i had slacked on my playing - majorly! And i found that i couldnt play a thing - not even above a middle D!!!!it was from lack of practice. If you can find some time just to iron out some of the trickier bits or even just have a quick blow it can do so much good. So i shouldnt worry that youre no good, but instead you just need some one to one time with your BB bass - they get lonely you know!
  5. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Chin up, you will get through!
    Practice practice practice and try not to worry, you'll make it worse by worying. Youve gotta believe in yourself, you havnt suddenly lost your playin ability, its still there,somewhere! You need to beleive in yourself and it will come back.
    I have bad spells every couple of months, cant play for tofee times, times when i feel like chucking it all in. So i practice practice practice and remind myself I can do it. The hard bit is believing in your self. It is very frustrating knowing you can play something, but just now you cant seem to play anything at all.
    A positive mentality is whats required, if you believe you can, then you will!!!
  6. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Interesting that there are already two opposing camps in this thread - the practice practice practice brigade and me holding up the entirely opposite view!

    I always remember my piano teacher when I was doing my degree telling me not to over-practice when things start to go wrong - once that happens it is very difficult to break out of! Good luck!
  7. persins

    persins Member

    I see your point Dave!
    Both have their merits. I can see that leaving it for a while may freshen up the mind and give you a chance to remember how to play again. However, I would tend to go with the middle ground.

    When I'm practicing a difficult bit, I normally end up getting into a mini (and sometimes major strop) when I can't play it properly. At this point, I either launch the cornet accross the room in disgust (not actually done that for 10 years now) or just put it down (gently) and walk away for a while.
    (This is after the mute kicking, before you comment, Roy!!)

    When I come back to it, invariably I get further than before!

    I think short breaks are good but perhaps not total ones as the practice should still tick over! I see what you're saying though DaveR.

  8. Sam Atherton

    Sam Atherton Member

    Got to agree with this. I can turn a couple of off rehearsals into a real bad patch by worrying about being rubbish. Offering "try to relax" type of advice is probably not helpful, but do you you have some music you can play for fun? Not for band, or to improve your playing, just for the sheer hell of it? Playing rather than rehearsing, that sort of thing. I find that ignoring the band stuff for a while and playing daft stuff seems to sort my head out pretty quickly.
  9. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Get ratted and then try playing the thing, you will suddenly sound fantastic and then the next time you pick it up there will be no problems.

    More seriously, just relax and enjoy playing (be it lots of practice or very little) rather than try and analyse why every note seems to be going wrong (I am pretty sure its not every note!!!). The brains biggest problem is over complicating things that it knows it should be able to do but is struggling with. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
  10. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I know the problem you mean just had 1 hours practise utter useless boiled down to trying to hard, nothing was going right with Voyage Of Discovery,so i just played some hymn tunes for 15 mins in the end:biggrin:
    It just takes your mind off what you are trying to get right.
    I found the more i practised a certain bar the worse it got and then tried something else in the part the same so the old trusty RED BOOK was put on the stand.:clap:
  11. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    No problem squire! you sound like just the kind of player we are looking for at Barnstonworth. You will fit in very well with my lot, no one likes a smart **** at Barnstonworth and we take the view that any fool can play well by practising, its much more rewarding to get it right by sheer fluke every now and again. Personally I cant think of anything more boring than being able to play your part properly. For me you cant beat the thrill of turning out for a contest not knowing what the **** you are doing, its the nearest I will ever get to bungee jumping or white water rafting.

    "...and in last place...the band that played number 7...Barnstonworth Silver Temperance!!"

    Yes!!! thats the real spirit of banding to me!!
  12. Mister 4x4

    Mister 4x4 Member

    Stepping away for a bit seems to work for me. If you have the time, I'd say take a week (or maybe two) off - period - and do something else... almost completely different if you can. It sounds like a left-brain/right-brain thing to me, and whichever side caters to the muses needs a little time off.

    By the same token, throw in some "away from the horn" excercises to keep from going totally flax.

    Chances are, when you pick it back up again, you'll be fresh and relaxed enough to take it on again without the 'blahs' holding you down.

    My experience: I was going through typing instruction as part of my station-qualification training while in the Air Force at my first base. I had to master typing at least 35 wpm (with no previous training) before I could attain my qualification skill award and move out of the 'trainee' status. I hovered around 29-31 wpm for what seemed like 2 months, which bugged the living tar out of me... I couldn't push past it. Finally, my supervisor told me to go on holiday for a couple of weeks. So I did... went home to Utah and hung out with my buds for the time, and went back to the Air Base 2 weeks later. After a few minutes warm-up, my first typing test came it at 44 wpm. The next day I took the one that counts and cranked 48 wpm. Then my supervisor wanted me to take one more for verification and I pulled 46 wpm.

    Everybody's wired differently, taking some time away from what's bugging you can give your brain the rest it needs to hit with with fresh motivation. And often enough, you'll do better with new perspective.

    Good luck.
  13. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    You don't say if there is anything else bothering you. ie are you on the committee, do you have any other responsibilities within the band? I ask this because last year I found my playing turning atrosious! But I realised all through rehearsals and concerts, being then the secretary, my mind was wandering all the time. "Have I done this", "I need to sort this out"! I just could not concentrate on the thing that I enjoyed most, playing! Now I have resigned as secretry, I just go to band and play, and the difference is amazing! I'm not suggesting that no-one should take on responsibility, just for some, the responsibility and playing side may, at some point, get in the way.

    Good Luck anyway, and don't give up playing.
  14. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    For what it's worth I can't count even when I'm in form, which is why brass band is much better for me than a wind band (all those ****** rests!!)

    I have recently been foreced to switch horns (A proper Besson EEb bass compensating to a Wilson 5 trigger non- compensating).

    It's totally messed me up. I think my tone is ****, I can't pick notes out of the air like I used to, my tuning is way off and I've lost some confidence as a result of the above.

    I finally sat down and just worked on some of the old basics, lip slurs, easy Arbans, etc... and it's starting to come back. I think sometimes our body just digresses and we need to revise a bit.
  15. vonny

    vonny Member

    I can empathise with you... A few weeks ago i was in a similar position...
    At the time i was going through some difficulties and i found myself becoming negative about myself. I remember going to band rehearsals and not being able to play anything right, even the simpliest of pieces i was messing up. I even thought about 'chucking' it all in, but there was still an element of positivety in my thinking especially when i reflected on the times i was proud of myself....
    I feel it is important to recognise our true potential, which can be hampered at the times we are feeling negative. There are many ways in which we can change a situation, but it is important to reflect on how we think about issues, as this can often influence how we feel...
  16. IS there an echo in here?
  17. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    IS there an echo in here?

    .........................................sorry Laura!! ;)
  18. flower girl

    flower girl Member

    awwwwwwww andy, just give it a go, ur probably so that concerned that ur gonna mess it up that u end up panicking. just give it a go. XXX :)
  19. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Andy mate i know exactly how you feel.
    After my lung operation i had a period of 2 and a half years where my confidence was absolutely shot to pieces, partly because i just couldnt play anything like how i could before (its only in the last few months i think i'm back to where i was), and i literally just couldnt play a thing.
    Its mainly frustration that then makes the problem a whole lot worse...and it all comes down to one thing...confidence, the thing that makes you play amazing when you have it but when its gone, everyone knows about it and it can take forever to recover.
    It can get very demoralizing but i know that your a quality player Andy, your band knows your a quality player and most of all you should realise that your a quality player.
    Sit down, tell yourself that and just go for it 100%.:tup

    I'm a personal believer in the practice prctice practice club to try and get your playing back to its normal standard but unfortunately no amount of home practice can make up for some confidence in the bandroom. Its like 2 different worlds, and for me its taken 2 and a half years to realise again what confidence can really do for your playing.

    I know for a fact you'll be back to your very best in no time. All the best to you and the rest of co-op.
  20. SteveDunster

    SteveDunster New Member


    It sounds like your problem is emotional rather than technical. This happens from time to time to musicians and sportsmen and can happen at any level. It is known as "learned helplessness."

    You are focussing on your mistakes - and guess what, you're getting more of them!

    ...and if you are not careful it will become a habbit.

    Racing drivers are taught that if they find themselves in a skid heading towards a wall - THEY MUST NOT LOOK AT THE WALL, otherwise they'll hit it, instead they must look at where they want to go. It feels unnatural, but it is the way it works. Concentrate on what you want - not what you don't want.

    There are many books that might be helpful but you may find THE INNER GAME OF MUSIC particularly relevant. It is written by a professional bass (string) player and gives lots of techniques on how to "get out of your own way."

    e.g. watching the tele whilst playing, if you're splitting 30% of your notes try and split 50% then 30% then 10%, imagine yourself playing a piece perfectly and how it feels whilst pressing your finger and thumb together then pressing your finger and thumb together before you actually play it

    It might sound a bit like hocus-pokus, but don't underestimate the effectiveness of it for emtionally-related issues.

    If you want more references to other texts and other authors then drop me a line.

    Hope this has been of some help, and I wish you a speedy fix with your temporary problem

    MD Woodfalls Concert Brass

Share This Page