Perception of time when practising at slow tempos

vojtech

Member
I assume most of you have experienced this in some form or another: you practice something simple and repetitive (think Stick Control) at a very slow tempo. It feels really boring and you think it will take forever. You almost have to force yourself to continue. Then, after a while, suddenly something happens in the brain and it's not slow (nor boring) any more - it's almost as if you become one with the time, and no matter how slow the tempo is, it will feel fast. ...and before you know it, the exercise is over and half an hour has passed.

I have always wondered what causes this shift in the perception in time? If you view slow practising as a sort of meditation, then maybe it's an effect of the mind relaxing and slowing down, and thus making the "external" time flow faster relative to the "internal" time. Or perhaps it's the repetitiveness that eventually causes the brain to give up and switch to "protozoan" mode? Or is it simply getting in the flow?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I assume most of you have experienced this in some form or another: you practice something simple and repetitive (think Stick Control) at a very slow tempo. It feels really boring and you think it will take forever. You almost have to force yourself to continue. Then, after a while, suddenly something happens in the brain and it's not slow (nor boring) any more - it's almost as if you become one with the time, and no matter how slow the tempo is, it will feel fast. ...and before you know it, the exercise is over and half an hour has passed.

I have always wondered what causes this shift in the perception in time? If you view slow practising as a sort of meditation, then maybe it's an effect of the mind relaxing and slowing down, and thus making the "external" time flow faster relative to the "internal" time. Or perhaps it's the repetitiveness that eventually causes the brain to give up and switch to "protozoan" mode? Or is it simply getting in the flow?
All of the above IMO. When your brain "surrenders" to meditation, great things can happen. My goal practicing or gigging is to surrender and try and slip into the meditative mindset. I play my very best from that place, so naturally I try and get there. I can do no wrong when I'm there. It doesn't happen all the time, but I'm working on it.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Here's what's happening in my brain: I start "hearing" smaller subdivisions of the time. So if my metronome is set at 40 bpm, I'm probably hearing 16th notes, or even a syncopated pattern, that doesn't feel slow at that tempo.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
All of the above IMO. When your brain "surrenders" to meditation, great things can happen. My goal practicing or gigging is to surrender and try and slip into the meditative mindset. I play my very best from that place, so naturally I try and get there. I can do no wrong when I'm there. It doesn't happen all the time, but I'm working on it.
You mean like when you lock with the bass player?
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I recognize what you are saying.

For me, I get to that 'integrated perception' of slow time if I avoid concentration on the point of impact and instead try to stay equally attentive to all points in the stroke.
 
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