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Left vs. Right Brain and mistakes....

Tom

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So, as you know, I've been playing in various bands and duos once or twice a month for the last several years but now that I am blissfully retired, have decided to venture forth as a solo accordionist.  

This leads me to make mistakes in front of people, rather than merely in the privacy of my own home.  Therefore it occurs to me that I play some tunes from the left brain (you could say muscle memory) and some from the right brain (especially when playing from music, and I could have the brain sides reversed).

So, some tunes seem to be in front of me, like riding that horse which knows the way to the barn, while others are behind me, like needing direction at every fork.  This doesn't mean that the left brain tunes are playing themselves, there are still variations, chords, different basses, etc.  

Now, I don't have 100 songs in my left brain to break out, although I may over time.  And it's most fun to play that new song that you just discovered on the accordion forum.  

I know it's like that old joke about getting to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.  But how to get the tune quicker from right to left brain is the ticket.  For now I have downloaded a bunch of easy tunes as filler, but, hey, what do you think?
 

jozz

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asking for shortcuts? you know the answer... :D

I make mistakes all the time, if that is any comfort

anyway in my opinion the only thing that will decrease your mistakes is to aim your practice for playing by heart asap

if that is not realistic then it's just all about repetition
 

donn

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You did swap them - right brain is the art side, left is the logic side. They're hooked up with a cross-over, though, so the confusion is natural - your left visual field for example goes to the right side. For any purpose other than drilling directly into the hemisphere, they're effectively on the other side.

Anyway, it's a matter of some interest to me, as I have the impression that my right hemisphere has some promise as a musician, but my left hemisphere is terrible, and a large part of my trouble comes from that left hemisphere intruding. So it's all about putting the right hemisphere in the driver's seat (which would be on the left side of the vehicle, by the way, it appears there's some confusion about this as well.)

The right side faculty we're talking about seems kind of like a "black box", not a process that you can review and be aware of how it connects things. It just does connect things, a lot of things in a very short time, and of course it isn't really "black" or outside our experience, it's right there. What I try to do lately is just be aware - aware of the buttons under my fingers, of the accordion in my hands, the music I'm playing and its content and style.

I don't read music, for the accordion, but I read with other instruments, just not this one. I'm not sure how much left hemisphere there is in that - people learn it differently, so maybe it depends on the individual. It might be interesting to review the tricks for better sight reading, and see if many of them seem to be about harnessing right side faculties, like scanning ahead of time for example looks to be in that category.
 

Tom

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Thanks for the info and tips guys.  Being more consciously aware of the music and instrument makes a lot of sense, as does having a core of songs to play by heart, and of course, practicing more, which I wish I had the time for..... Being aware of playing from the different "sides" of he brain is very interesting.   I'm thinking of playing my core tunes in my dreams too, as well as trying to remember the new songs my dreaming mind comes up with, and trying to remember them.  If all this seems too new agey, well I suppose it is, but what is music anyway?
 

TomBR

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It's much the same thing, but I like the "concrete" analogy. When concrete is made it seems to go hard quite quickly, but it actually needs lots more time to cure and become strong. Learning musical skills is like that, if you've only just learned something, it will break as soon as it comes under pressure, as in public performance.

Things won't break if they don't come under too much pressure - you can do a brand new item quickly if it's well within your skills.

Practice practice practice, but that's laying the concrete foundations that you'll be able to build on some time in the future, not right away.
I don't know of a short cut but I think your easy tunes are the key for now. Build up your solo performance time on the easy stuff and enjoy it.
 

Tom

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Thanks Tom, good analogy, I haven't heard that one.
 

TomBR

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Thanks Tom!

This is my favourite page on the subject of practicing.
https://bulletproofmusician.com/8-things-top-practicers-do-differently/

Something I think is interesting is the question of do we really know what we are doing? If theres a tricky bit, that we stumble over, do we really really really know what were trying to do, or are we fudging it.

Theres always the risk of practicing doing it wrong! I think most of us do that sometimes. Playing it wrong, then putting it right is absolutely no good. It needs to be right first time. If something is just too hard to do at performance speed, we need to change it, or play something different.

Getting something right nine times out of ten isnt good enough. It means playing the piece is like rolling dice and hoping one never gets a six!
 

Tom

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Thanks Tom, grest article.  But I think your link didnt work well for me. Here it is:

https://bulletproofmusician.com/8-things-top-practicers-do-differently/

You make good points as usual, and the importance of conscious, systematic practice cannot be overstressed.  Im going to try this approach with learning and perfecting new material (and material that I know).  Im also checking this blog for other tips.  It occurs to me that Ive always relied on the other player(s) to cover our respective mistakes.  Playing solo is a whole other issue and new approaches are necessary.
 

george garside

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Don't worry about left and right brain as they will sort themselves out automatically  - your brain wont worry if you don't!       Also, as a competent player, don't worry  about making a 'mistake' when playing solo in public  as the more you worry the more likely it is to happen.

Many or indeed most tunes  have been arranged and rearranged  in minor detail over a period of time  and  the key  is to play your so called 'mistake' with aplomb  and its unlikely the punters will even notice.    It was sid about a very famous  box player that if he made a 'mistake' whilst playing a tune first time through he deliberately repeated the mistake next time through so the punters wouldn't realise it was a mistake - or something like that.

The only 'mistake' the punters are likely to spot  is if the music is slowed down  during the mistake,.  If all else fails mistakes can be hidden by a quick diversion on the bass!

george
 

Tom

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True enough Jozz, it's good to play correctly but if you're not pushing yourself sometimes what fun is it?

Actually, the real takeaway from the "concrete analogy" is that it's time to get going on those Christmas songs, even though the events aren't till December.   I, for one, have not played them since last year......


Thanks George!
 

Eddy Yates

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You’re probably already doing this, but practice hands separately, and make sure you spend more time playing hands together. Hands together very slow is also helpful. I try and make practice fun, so I have all kinds of ways to trick myself.
Play for small groups of friends.
Have fun! Sounds like you’re already doing that.
 

Tom

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Thanks for the tip, Eddy!

Been reading the bulletproof blog, it's very interesting.   Busy weekend here, next week I'll get to try it out when I can get back to practicing.
 

colinm

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You think you have a problem getting a few notes wrong, many would be solo players including me have problems with shaking hands, hyperventilating and getting completely lost on tunes that we can breeze through at home, I think its mostly dottists but the only solution I have found is to play as part of a group of two or more.
Anyone found a solution ? I have read the bulletproof musician but it has not helped.
 

losthobos

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Colinm.... Try betablockers... I jest you not... I know a few pro musos who use to settle nerves...
 

colinm

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Losthobos
Good idea but i think i am already on betablockers for blood pressure so I have probably become immune to any calming effect
 

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