PDA

View Full Version : The Power of Focus


Reid
18-07-07, 04:59 AM
This probably sounds stupid what what do you guys do to stay focused while playing??? My mind is always going / wandering. I'll be in the third part of my march thinging "wow that was a great marinade for the steak that I had for dinner." Am I alone here or is it just me?

Tonight I was really trying to focus on opening things up as I played each part and that seemed to help. I'm just wondering what goes thruogh everone else's mind as they are practicing / competing???

Thanks,

Reid

KatieMc
18-07-07, 05:05 AM
Good question, Reid... I have the same problem!! Maybe that's why I keep getting lost in the middle of Brown Haired Maiden. My fingers are moving, but my brain is saying, "Did I pay the house payment?", "Geez, I forgot to buy milk today.", or "Ugh, how did that table get so dusty?"

I need help!!!

Reid
18-07-07, 05:07 AM
Good question, Reid... I have the same problem!! Maybe that's why I keep getting lost in the middle of Brown Haired Maiden. My fingers are moving, but my brain is saying, "Did I pay the house payment?", "Geez, I forgot to buy milk today.", or "Ugh, how did that table get so dusty?"

I need help!!!

lol, so I'm not alone then.

KatieMc
18-07-07, 05:08 AM
Not at ALL!!

Reid
18-07-07, 05:11 AM
I was thinking of wearing my sunglasses more often and writting "keep focused" on the inside of the lens, the only problem I always loose my sunglasses.

PowerBoozer007
18-07-07, 05:11 AM
To keep on track, learn to tune out the surrounding environment to eliminate distractions and immerse yourself in the expression of the tune.

Chances are if you are just playing on auto pilot, the playing sounds like it too!

Reid
18-07-07, 05:16 AM
To keep on track, learn to tune out the surrounding environment to eliminate distractions and immerse yourself in the expression of the tune.

Chances are if you are just playing on auto pilot, the playing sounds like it too!

Well I'm captain quto pilot. I'm going to have to work on that. Be one with the music.

KatieMc
18-07-07, 05:17 AM
I want to "tune out" and "be one", but I don't know how!

janelleTG
18-07-07, 05:48 AM
I'm going to risk being pounced on here, a drummer commenting on a piping problem, but here goes anyway.
PB said to eliminate distraction, to focus.
Here's an easy way to learn to concentrate on one thing. May sound a bit crazy but it works.
When you get into bed of a night, clear your mind of all thoughts, not easy right, something keeps creeping in. So think about nothing but your breathing, saying to your self "in...out", when the car payment creeps in tell yourself firmly NO and start again. "in...out" It is actually a relaxation exercise that has the added benefit of controlling the mayhem we collect in our brains over the course of the day. After a few nights, when you're getting the hang of it, transfer the process to the practice table. As thoughts creep in Say NO and start again.

As a drummer I count the tune, singing in my head. I know pipers who accompany themselves playing, by singing the tune in their head, there by eliminating other distractions. Whether this is a good practice or not, I don't know, but it does work for them.

Scottie100270
18-07-07, 06:20 AM
the only thing thats in my head every night for the past 2 months is the bloody tunes i'm trying to learn or the little video clips of bands i watch on youtube before i go to bed , i used to be a very peaceful sleeper, but's it all gone to pot now....i think i have a disease or something.....:gah:

Piper06
18-07-07, 09:58 AM
the only thing thats in my head every night for the past 2 months is the bloody tunes i'm trying to learn or the little video clips of bands i watch on youtube before i go to bed , i used to be a very peaceful sleeper, but's it all gone to pot now....i think i have a disease or something.....:gah:

I think it is called pipesitus. :rotf:

I too have this problem. I will get rolling along in a tune, hit a part that gave me trouble, do it well and start thinking wow that went right, too bad the PM wasn't here to right now, or I am glad he is next to me to hear it, Then I realize I haven't a clue as to where I am at in the tune etc. Once I start to get the tune down to where I am increasing the speed the best I play it is when I have just bumped the speed because I am totally focused on playing at that level.

I will be eagerly reading this one too. :Ceith:

Dai Robb
18-07-07, 11:51 AM
I will be as brave as Janelle here, a drummer commenting on a Pipers problem(normally their problems are drummers I know??LOL) I am a great believer in relaxation tricks such as she mentioned. I used to have terrible trouble getting to sleep for instance, I would lie awake for hours, until I tried a similar exercise to the one Janelle mentions, shutting everything out. It is very easy to allow the mind to wander when you are doing something that is basically repetitive.
I would do the same thing that again has been mentioned, more or less sing the song in my mind as I played, It will be interesting hearing other peoples methods.

Reid
18-07-07, 01:33 PM
I'm going to risk being pounced on here, a drummer commenting on a piping problem, but here goes anyway.
PB said to eliminate distraction, to focus.
Here's an easy way to learn to concentrate on one thing. May sound a bit crazy but it works.
When you get into bed of a night, clear your mind of all thoughts, not easy right, something keeps creeping in. So think about nothing but your breathing, saying to your self "in...out", when the car payment creeps in tell yourself firmly NO and start again. "in...out" It is actually a relaxation exercise that has the added benefit of controlling the mayhem we collect in our brains over the course of the day. After a few nights, when you're getting the hang of it, transfer the process to the practice table. As thoughts creep in Say NO and start again.

As a drummer I count the tune, singing in my head. I know pipers who accompany themselves playing, by singing the tune in their head, there by eliminating other distractions. Whether this is a good practice or not, I don't know, but it does work for them.

I'm gonna give this a try. Great suggestion.

3DronesorNoTone
18-07-07, 02:50 PM
The description earlier sounds like a form of meditation. The more you practice meditation and control of your mind the easier it becomes. Then when you are on the field, your focus is stronger because you have trained your mind to do so. There is a book called the Inner Games of Tennis, that was applied to music and called The inner game of music. It talks about performance issues, concentration and focus. It does have some good suggestions. Check it out.

Reid
18-07-07, 02:54 PM
The description earlier sounds like a form of meditation. The more you practice meditation and control of your mind the easier it becomes. Then when you are on the field, your focus is stronger because you have trained your mind to do so. There is a book called the Inner Games of Tennis, that was applied to music and called The inner game of music. It talks about performance issues, concentration and focus. It does have some good suggestions. Check it out.

I'll have to check this book out.

PowerBoozer007
18-07-07, 04:38 PM
Reid, you don't have to get a book to learn how to tune things out, we've been doing it all our lives. They used to call it day dreaming in school, now they call it ADD. I just used to think I was ignoring the teachers while they babbled on about something that wasn't pertaining to pipe bands. LOL

You do the same thing at the line or infront of a solo judge, you don't see or hear anything but the first phrase of the tune you are about to play.

You should know each part of a tune by the first note it starts with and target a few key notes that will trigger your memory cells to play a whole phrase. If you are not playing by phrases, you'll get lost if yrou just trying to process individual notes.

Just keep thinking of the notes you want to hold so the tune gets maximum expression.

http://poweruser007.bravehost.com/Medley-monterey2007.wav

Here's our medley from last weekend which is performed by 3 senior citizens and 2 adult students in their 40's.

I have one experienced gr4 player and you can hear him doing things his own way! :gah:

Reid
18-07-07, 04:46 PM
Reid, you don't have to get a book to learn how to tune things out, we've been doing it all our lives. They used to call it day dreaming in school, now they call it ADD. I just used to think I was ignoring the teachers while they babbled on about something that wasn't pertaining to pipe bands. LOL
.

Actually I was thinking instead of getting a book I should get a bottle of Scotch.

Good point. When I'm learning a tune. I am quite focused. It actually seems that after I've played a tune for a while is when I really hit the auto pilot.

Stormy
18-07-07, 10:33 PM
Chances are if you are just playing on auto pilot, the playing sounds like it too!

Depends on how you define "autopilot".
If an aircraft is on autopilot it is not all over the place but flies on an exact course. When you play in the circle with the band and your mind wanders then you are obviously not concentrating and it may be better if you step out of the circle.

"Auto Pilot" as I remember it.
It does not mean that you do not concentrate and everything will come together!!
It does mean you have put in so much practice that the tunes have become second nature to you and yet not forget......
When you STILL concentrate on these tunes;
When you can listen to the drum corp and hear a particular beating;
When you are listening to your drones and chanter;
When you are listening to the piper next to you - on BOTH sides;
When you are watching the PM;
When you are watching the Bass drummer;
When you are watching the other players;
When you are concentrating on the breaks;
When you are aware of what is coming up next;
When you are aware that you are losing it and your concentration is going;
When you are able to "lock in" again and get back on track;
When you are aware of where the adjudicators are standing;
When you are VERY AWARE of the long legs in the mini skirt standing in the crowd and still hold it together;
When you can relax in the circle and enjoy yourself;
When you can do ALL of these things, second by second, for 7 minutes..................
THEN YOU are on "auto pilot"..... and hopefully another 16 - 20 players are in the same frame of mind.
Only then will you be able to say your band is playing on "Auto Pilot".
Don't get too downhearted, it's easy!!!
If I was able to do it - SO CAN YOU!!!!!

:stormy:

Terrance
18-07-07, 10:35 PM
:stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy: :stormy:

Reid
19-07-07, 05:42 AM
Depends on how you define "autopilot".
If an aircraft is on autopilot it is not all over the place but flies on an exact course. When you play in the circle with the band and your mind wanders then you are obviously not concentrating and it may be better if you step out of the circle.

"Auto Pilot" as I remember it.
It does not mean that you do not concentrate and everything will come together!!
It does mean you have put in so much practice that the tunes have become second nature to you and yet not forget......
When you STILL concentrate on these tunes;
When you can listen to the drum corp and hear a particular beating;
When you are listening to your drones and chanter;
When you are listening to the piper next to you - on BOTH sides;
When you are watching the PM;
When you are watching the Bass drummer;
When you are watching the other players;
When you are concentrating on the breaks;
When you are aware of what is coming up next;
When you are aware that you are losing it and your concentration is going;
When you are able to "lock in" again and get back on track;
When you are aware of where the adjudicators are standing;
When you are VERY AWARE of the long legs in the mini skirt standing in the crowd and still hold it together;
When you can relax in the circle and enjoy yourself;
When you can do ALL of these things, second by second, for 7 minutes..................
THEN YOU are on "auto pilot"..... and hopefully another 16 - 20 players are in the same frame of mind.
Only then will you be able to say your band is playing on "Auto Pilot".
Don't get too downhearted, it's easy!!!
If I was able to do it - SO CAN YOU!!!!!

:stormy:

I really didn't look at it that way. Thanks Stormy.

janelleTG
19-07-07, 06:00 AM
the only thing thats in my head every night for the past 2 months is the bloody tunes i'm trying to learn or the little video clips of bands i watch on youtube before i go to bed , i used to be a very peaceful sleeper, but's it all gone to pot now....i think i have a disease or something.....:gah:

:rotf: I allow myself the two competition sets and one other tune. Then it's time for relaxation exercises to push the tunes out of my head.:rotf: I also had to learn to play the drum beats (in bed) by flexing my muscles and not actually moving me feet, which is another practice trick that I use, otherwise I drive my husband nuts.

Terrance
26-07-07, 06:54 PM
:rotf: I allow myself the two competition sets and one other tune. Then it's time for relaxation exercises to push the tunes out of my head.:rotf: I also had to learn to play the drum beats (in bed) by flexing my muscles and not actually moving me feet, which is another practice trick that I use, otherwise I drive my husband nuts.

Confessions of a drumming goddess.:rotf: :rotf:

wjjagfan
27-07-07, 10:41 PM
I really like Stormy's response. Practice, practice, practice. But I still find if my mind wanders I can mess up a tune I can usually play well. Maybe as I get a few more years under my belt I can relax a bit more.

When I practice I try to concentrate on technique, timing and tone. I try to pick out "landmark" notes in a tune that are keys to how well I'm keeping the beat and timing the phrases. When I play that tune I'm focused on hitting those landmarks just right.

When I compete solo I also like to focus on the judge's foot. I want to see it start to tap out the beat and keep it going. I'm still listening to my playing, but the foot keeps me from being distracted.

When I compete with the band I'm focused on the PM's foot or the bass drum beat if I can't see the PM. Same thing, I hear the tune, but I'm focused on the foot.

With performances I still try to find someone in the audience to focus on; usually someone who is tapping or moving to the music.

Parades are a bit harder to stay focused, but I usually concentrate on whoever is marching in front of me. :beag:

Stormy
27-07-07, 10:47 PM
With performances I still try to find someone in the audience to focus on......

The mini skirt in the front row is a good start!!!!!!
:goodidea: :goodidea:
Now I'm being sexist!!!!

Terrance
27-07-07, 10:49 PM
Wow I didn't realize how many people have a problem with concentrating while they are playing and not letting their minds wander.

I've never had this problem with playing and it is one of the few times I can say that I am truly in the moment. I was surprised when Reid was started talking about it and thought it was an isolated incident. Now I'm not so sure.

Oh well...I'm sure he will get it all sorted out.

Serial Kilter
27-07-07, 11:03 PM
You know you have the tune down solid when you are able to think about other stuff while you are playing BUT until that time, its focus focus focus. I find to help me concentrate when I am working on a tricky tune or just a new tune I am learning is just to stand there, play and march in place. I will often exaggerate my right foot with a stomp. This will help me emphasize the expression, beats and timing. When learning a tune, this is almost a must do but not many people do it. Let your legs do the thinking for you and you just concentrate on memorizing the music and nailing the expressions. I guess for me itís kind of easy because I picked up the pipes many years ago so that when I play them, I donít have to think of anything else stressful in my life.

dharron
27-07-07, 11:08 PM
The mini skirt in the front row is a good start!!!!!!
:goodidea: :goodidea:
Now I'm being sexist!!!!
Not such a great idea, Stormy. I was playing at a pub one night and did exactly that. It worked fine til she turned half around to talk to a friend, but one leg didn't move and I suddenly lost ALL musical concentration.

Stormy
27-07-07, 11:29 PM
Not such a great idea, Stormy. I was playing at a pub one night and did exactly that. It worked fine til she turned half around to talk to a friend, but one leg didn't move and I suddenly lost ALL musical concentration.

:rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
I notice that you lost "MUSICAL" concentration!!!!!
At least you were still concentrating........but on what?????? :flirt:

dharron
27-07-07, 11:36 PM
:rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
I notice that you lost "MUSICAL" concentration!!!!!
At least you were still concentrating........but on what?????? :flirt:
I think it was a thong sorta like the one you're waiting for.:rotf:

Stormy
27-07-07, 11:48 PM
Jealousy will get you nowhere!!!
:sassjane:

dharron
28-07-07, 12:18 AM
:rotf::rotf::rotf:

GwaiiEagle
04-08-07, 05:46 PM
For me since I play in the same place almost all the time and usually by myself. Anywhere or anyone new throws me off.

I have to force myself to relax, and when people show up, in the middle of bloody nowhere, to learn not so much to ignore them as accept them and understand that they like me love the sound of the pipes.

janelleTG
05-08-07, 05:32 AM
Wow I didn't realize how many people have a problem with concentrating while they are playing and not letting their minds wander.

I've never had this problem with playing and it is one of the few times I can say that I am truly in the moment. I was surprised when Reid was started talking about it and thought it was an isolated incident. Now I'm not so sure.

Oh well...I'm sure he will get it all sorted out.

Terry, when playing in the competition circle I am so focused I go into, what my husband calls, 'the zone'. I see nothing but the LD's drum head and I hear the drum corps first then the pipes as a secondary sound. I believe it stems from the training I was given as a young dancer, on how to pretend the adjudicator wasn't there.
What I need to do, is learn to relax in the comp circle, the same as I would during a cabaret performance. I'm still focused, yet I can feel I am more relaxed and I am more aware of what's happening around me.