Practice - sudden loss of 10% to 15% of ability , what’s going on ? Do you get this

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hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
Hi  I practice 2 hours every day in timed segments of 10 /18 or 20 minutes for each lick /piece /whatever I am working on.  I have been practicing consecutively for 69 days today (Covid jab sickness for 2 days ruined a better run) .

today I noticed a downturn  in ability accuracy and speed in a few pieces /licks which led to a detriment of 10 to 15% loss of progress ,speed in some pieces .

the stuff I’m working on is not what would be considered shred. Just some of the faster /trickier Slash licks in various Solo’s Or licks like them , that give me trouble .

I practice these pieces against examples that are slowed down  and Also use a metronome to isolate some areas that prove demanding .

overall I’m still better than I was a week or probably a fortnight ago ,looking at my records (daily diary with notes )  and I am more or less managing to stay detached from these negative results , trying not to see it as a competition with myself (the book “the practicing mind) Thomas M sterner ) 

I have resolved to slow down the speed for my problem areas tomorrow and work on accuracy /clean playing . 

Although I can see the trap I’m falling into of judging my outcome on past days progress , it can be a bit  of a let down to see a sudden dip in your results ,especially after a few previous days  gains.

I know this all seems rather clinical but I have a goal to be able to play the stuff I really want to play to a gigging level ,instead of settling for easier stuff . I am much better than I used to be  but still falling short , but am hoping if I keep this up for a few years  I may be able to achieve my goals or even exceed them .  I would like one day to be nearly up to the level of @fastonebaz  and other players on here .

 I am hoping that now being over 50 will not impede my progress , but from what I’ve seen in sustained consecutive practice it is possible to make vast improvements in the last 69 days .

as an aside I have slipped into a habit the last 4 or 5 days of going to bed quite late instead of my usual early to bed routine , this may have taken its toll , especially reading the iPad when going to bed ,which I had previously got out the habit of .

anyway , who else has recently or in the past experienced this disconcerting dip in ability .

hope this was the right place to post this . It’s kinda to do with technique 




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Comments

  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 210
    I think you're doing well in tracking your progress. A lot of people have good and bad days in terms of playing ability, and I would focus on the overall trend of your playing improving. I suspect lack of sleep compared to your usual routine may be having an impact, and I would suggest not looking at any electronic device immediately before bed as this is known to adversely affect sleep.
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  • droflufdrofluf Frets: 1325
    I suspect it's a mixture of having a "bad day", tiredness and "over practicing" perhaps have a break or work on other stuff for a few days? I've often found that when I come back from an enforced break (holiday or work trip for example, when they were possible) I was actually better than when I left.
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 935
    I'm 65 and over the last ten years I've noticed that there's a limit to what my brain can absorb before it becomes counter productive.   It feels as though it takes longer for anything I practice to "sink in".  Plus, you can't get over the fact that physical ability declines as you get older.

    Aging is such a weird thing - we all know we can't fight the process but nonetheless most of us still live in denial.  People may say that 50 is no age these days compared to our parents/grandparents generations, but I believe past 40 the aging process starts to kick in and I reckon it's still around 50-ish when you start to really feel the effect.  

    Sleep does make a huge difference when it comes to cognitive skills, and again this becomes more important as you get old.  I noticed in my mid 50's I could fall asleep in the middle of the day almost to order, something I could never have done even ten years before.

    Ok I'm quite a bit older than you but the idea of over two months constant practice is unthinkable and to me would definitely be counter productive.  I'd try sticking in a few rest days to give that part of your brain a rest. 
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    CarpeDiem said:
    I think you're doing well in tracking your progress. A lot of people have good and bad days in terms of playing ability, and I would focus on the overall trend of your playing improving. I suspect lack of sleep compared to your usual routine may be having an impact, and I would suggest not looking at any electronic device immediately before bed as this is known to adversely affect sleep.
    Yes , I managed to avoid  bedtime iPad browsing for weeks ,but I just got myself  another Sinclair spectrum computer after 37 years and have been avidly reading upon it. I am now banning myself from bedtime reading. Apart from setting up my relaxing music,subliminal audio on YouTube that I have playing in the background. Looking at the iPad is like crack cocaine, helluva dopamine fix 
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    Thanks you for your helpful answers ,appreciate it 
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  • CoffeeAndTVCoffeeAndTV Frets: 121
    Peak and troughs, you need to look at the long term.

    In the past five years I’ve slowed down tremendously, but my time feel and relationship to music and phrasing has gotten a lot better.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 17279
    I wouldn't sweat one off day. Just remember how far you've come, put the guitar down and come back again tomorrow or the next day
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    Peak and troughs, you need to look at the long term.

    In the past five years I’ve slowed down tremendously, but my time feel and relationship to music and phrasing has gotten a lot better.
    Long term , since seriously knuckling down at the beginning of the year I’m very pleased with the progress .
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  • CoffeeAndTVCoffeeAndTV Frets: 121
    Peak and troughs, you need to look at the long term.

    In the past five years I’ve slowed down tremendously, but my time feel and relationship to music and phrasing has gotten a lot better.
    Long term , since seriously knuckling down at the beginning of the year I’m very pleased with the progress .
    It’s amazing how quickly you progress when you’re giving something it’s full attention, done correctly it gives back.  
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    I wouldn't sweat one off day. Just remember how far you've come, put the guitar down and come back again tomorrow or the next day
    Thank you ,  I just try and dis associate  afterwards (apart from this thread lol)
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    Peak and troughs, you need to look at the long term.

    In the past five years I’ve slowed down tremendously, but my time feel and relationship to music and phrasing has gotten a lot better.
    Long term , since seriously knuckling down at the beginning of the year I’m very pleased with the progress .
    It’s amazing how quickly you progress when you’re giving something it’s full attention, done correctly it gives back.  
    That’s really what I’m aiming for . I try and limit each particular piece to 18 to 20 minutes which is supposed to be the optimum time for something you are learning . 
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  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 773
    I think you're probably comparing yourself to your own new higher standards - which is a good thing - you know the level you can play at now, so anything less than that feels like a disappointment. Sounds like it's just down to tiredness tbh - few nights of good sleep and you'll be fine. I'm always a bit crap when I'm knackered. You've been noticing improvements over the last 2-3 months so there's no reason that won't continue - just a blip  =)
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  • JanekLubanskiJanekLubanski Frets: 137
    It's not just me then. On my good days I'm crap but on other days I'm not even as good as that.
    Got to agree with Neill about the ageing process and the lessening effects of physical deterioration and cognitive reduction.

    18-20 mins for each piece/lick/riff?  I can spend that time (even longer) just trying to tune up/fiddle with my guitars action.

    In my sixties now so just happy to be able to strum some chords and play the odd riff....not as well as I'd like to. Just wish that I started learning scales around 40 years ago.
    Big ugly bloke living the dream in Selby.
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    Had a good nights sleep and had a very satisfying practice this morning .
      Slowed problem areas down  Observed problem areas ,isolated the, and worked them up to speed, and have seen increase in accuracy and neatly back to my best .

    in other areas I made a good gain in progress on one piece so very pleased.

    also am having some bad withdrawal from strong anti depressants as I forgot to order them so waiting for my prescription (which I have now put in ) to arrive . Can make you feel quite strange ,dizzy etc. So bearing in mind I’m absolutely elated with today’s session.

    thanks all for your input and don’t despair if you are older , your brain still keeps making myelin
    which is kinda like the insulation on your neural pathways which as it builds up can help neutrons travel faster And better which is a key factor in building up new skills 
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 15535
    Humans will swim in the sea even though there are many corpses in it.  They will not swim in a pool with a corpse in it. 
    Therefore all humans have a water / corpse ratio that is acceptable to them.
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  • mrkbmrkb Frets: 2410
    I don’t recall that Mr Man character, was he in the later books?
    Karma......
    Ebay mark7777_1
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    That’s brilliant, thanks 
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  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 1564
    mrkb said:
    I don’t recall that Mr Man character, was he in the later books?
    Mr acid 
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  • StratavariousStratavarious Frets: 1426
    edited June 11
    I always play better after a few days break from intense practicing..  the stuff moves to a different part of the brain

    at gigs.. i will be a few bars before a solo and completely forget where i need to even start the solo... but my muscle memory kicks in right on the first note.

    You need to give it time to embed in the practice cycle.
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  • CoffeeAndTVCoffeeAndTV Frets: 121
    I always play better after a few days break from intense practicing..  the stuff moves to a different part of the brain
    Disk defrag? 
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