Posted by Jay Bertolet on February 10, 1999 at 22:16:57:
In Reply to: Manic practice syndrome posted by Sean Chisham on February 10, 1999 at 17:10:10:
I would address your observations in 2 ways:
1) I think such swings of perception are fairly natural and not really cause for concern. If they really bother you then maybe you need to examine your practice routine with an eye toward consistency. Let's assume you are playing brilliantly some days, and not so on others. I used to go through this until I made a conscious effort to warm up the same way everyday. I know many folks are saying to vary your practice sessions regularly to create variety and to spur growth but I think certain parts of daily practice should be regimented to encourage consistency. By warming up in a consistent manner, you are kind of drawing the box that you will operate in and setting the normal points of reference for future comparisons. Such a technique may give your ears the necessary points of reference to establish accurate assessments of your playing at any given moment and thus maybe eliminate false perceptions and assessments of your playing.
2) Your perception of how you play is exceptionally important! It will affect the judgements you make as you play, causing you to make adjustments that may or may not be necessary. I always assess how I play based on what I hear, rarely do recordings tell me things I can't hear. To that end, I firmly believe that you need to be comfortable listening to yourself play and evaluating your playing. So, everytime I have one of those uncomfortable days (pretty infrequently lately) I practice even harder and listen to every little thing, really focusing on the basics to make sure that I'm doing things exactly how I want to. My thinking is that there are 2 possibilities: either I'm really playing differently in which case I need to learn how to work out of those situations and get to where I'm comfortable or its just my perception and so I need to convince myself that things are okay so I won't make unnecessary adjustments based on incorrect perceptions. Either way, I've decided that working through it works best for me and I don't have many days like that anymore.
I hope this doesn't sound like so much psychobabble, I use this procedure and it works for me which is why I suggest it. I'm willing to manipulate psychology to my advantage wherever possible with lots of confidence in the power of positive thought. Just think of all the positive gains we reap through the emulation of positive imagery. My opinions for what its worth...