Presence of mind when playing

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
I have struggled with being able to pay full attention to what I am playing, where the song is and where it is going. It's been this way for all the instruments I play. I'lI constantly forget transitions, beat variations for specific sections, etc.

I can't tell if it is a matter of paying attention, not knowing the material well enough and/or something else

Don't get me wrong, I can play along fairly well, but when practicing on my own, I always find myself stopping somewhere in the song because I forgot how one part goes, missed a transition, thinking I can do it better, or because I want to try something different/more interesting, etc.

I try to practice as though I'm with a band (meaning no unnecessary stopping or trying anything new), but I end up doing it anyways.

Has anyone struggled with something like this? If so, how have you been able to overcome it/work on it?
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Are you playing to music or just trying to play through the song alone? I imagine the latter would be challenging.
If playing to music and getting lost, that sounds like simply not knowing it well enough, or more specifically, not having played it enough. There's a difference. There are songs - complex songs - I can tap my fingers to and not miss a beat, but can't get through the first minute on the drums without losing it because even though I know the songs well, I haven't actually played them on the drums enough.
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
Are you playing to music or just trying to play through the song alone? I imagine the latter would be challenging.
If playing to music and getting lost, that sounds like simply not knowing it well enough, or more specifically, not having played it enough. There's a difference. There are songs - complex songs - I can tap my fingers to and not miss a beat, but can't get through the first minute on the drums without losing it because even though I know the songs well, I haven't actually played them on the drums enough.
I do both at times. I've actually found that I can get through it further/cleaner with just a click. I often ask myself how many times should you have to play a song to 'get it down'?

I know everyone is different, but there's a point where you start to question your own competency :ROFLMAO:

very good insight, thank you
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
I may be overthinking this, but your symptoms sound a little like your skill at paying sustained attention to something is faltering. Could it be due to increased reliance on cell phone-based entertainment, movies, and other activities that allow one's attentional skill to wither? If so, you might consider some mindfulness training or returning to more attentionally-demanding recreation (e.g., reading and such). Please know I mean no disrespect--here I am perusing DW at midnight--I think it's a problem lots of people are developing, as discussed by Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work".
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
I may be overthinking this, but your symptoms sound a little like your skill at paying sustained attention to something is faltering. Could it be due to increased reliance on cell phone-based entertainment, movies, and other activities that allow one's attentional skill to wither? If so, you might consider some mindfulness training or returning to more attentionally-demanding recreation (e.g., reading and such). Please know I mean no disrespect--here I am perusing DW at midnight--I think it's a problem lots of people are developing, as discussed by Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work".
No offense taken. It's really only ever been with playing music. I was going to include in the OP that I don't struggle with this in any other area of my life. I am pretty attentive (probably to my detriment) in every other area in my life haha. straight A's, currently have a job requires attention to detail, among other things.

No attention-deficit diagnosis or anything
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I try to practice as though I'm with a band (meaning no unnecessary stopping or trying anything new), but I end up doing it anyways.

Has anyone struggled with something like this? If so, how have you been able to overcome it/work on it?

When playing with other people, there’s a social pressure to just keep going, that isn’t there when you’re alone. And this is very normal. It’s also normal to want to improve fills and transitions, if they deserve the attention. But when you’re alone there’s nothing to stop you from endless refinement, whereas with a group, you’re generally expected to complete a song, or section, in one pass.

But what are you worried about? That you’ll forget how a song goes? Or that fills and transitions will be sub-standard? Both? Why are you learning these songs? What’s the end goal here?
 
I've had this with a band I played in. It was mostly originals - nothing too complicated but I wasn't always sure whether there was a double chorus or not in this particular song. So I made some short charts. Like 4 bars guitar intro, a rhythmic idea that I based the fill upon, the main groove idea, and so on. Having this sheet as a reference was pretty helpful even if I didn't look at it most of the times. It also helped the band to have one "reference version".
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
Same as @Swissward Flamtacles I always have one hand written sheet per song with its tempo (to dial it into my LED metronome) and the arrangement noted in bars, like:

[Title] (132bpm)
16 Intro (Git)
16 Chrous
4 Bridge
32 Verse
...

There's enough space to roughly note down some fills or special parts.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
When practicing, are other things going on such as a TV set on or other outside interference.? How about school? You said other subjects weren't a problem.
 

pocket player

Junior Member
Same as @Swissward Flamtacles I always have one hand written sheet per song with its tempo (to dial it into my LED metronome) and the arrangement noted in bars, like:

[Title] (132bpm)
16 Intro (Git)
16 Chrous
4 Bridge
32 Verse
...

There's enough space to roughly note down some fills or special parts.
I have found also making my own chart to the song verse 1 &2 chours guitar riff fill 2x's ETC when playing your brain automatically shows you the chart as a road map to follow ,to learn the song .
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
This makes me think you are somewhat bored with the material. Any chance the stuff you are working on just isnt doing it for you?
This may be very true. Because I’ve only been playing for a short amount of time, I tell myself that I should be able to play ‘boring’ stuff. If I ever get a job playing something that’s boring, I would be expected to sit tight and do it, you know?

I also have this notion that, even though I might get bored quickly, doesn’t mean that I’m playing it well
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
When practicing, are other things going on such as a TV set on or other outside interference.? How about school? You said other subjects weren't a problem.
Sometimes I’ll have a video playing in the background if I’m just practicing with a click and I focus fine

Never when practicing w/ music

no problems anywhere else in life
 

TMe

Senior Member
I can't tell if it is a matter of paying attention, not knowing the material well enough and/or something else
It could be that, like me, you're a text-oriented person, so you need a text to follow.
I write simple charts, but they're useless unless I actually look at them and follow them while I'm practicing.
Instead of trying to memorize the song well enough that I don't need the chart, I try to memorize the chart.
When I can see the chart in my head, and follow along with the chart, that's when I don't need the piece of paper anymore.
But I'm still relying on the chart.
That... and there's a lot to be said for winging it and learning to recover from mistakes in a hurry. If you lose your place, see it as an opportunity to practice "error recovery" or improvisation.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
This may be very true. Because I’ve only been playing for a short amount of time, I tell myself that I should be able to play ‘boring’ stuff. If I ever get a job playing something that’s boring, I would be expected to sit tight and do it, you know?
I can relate to this. As a metal drummer, I'm adept at filling space. I'm not adept at sitting still. It either requires me to go on autopilot or to find something inside the simplicity to focus on. If able, this might be a good time to sing along.


I also have this notion that, even though I might get bored quickly, doesn’t mean that I’m playing it well
This is still true for me. Sometimes songs like Billie Jean just kill me. It's easy. I can play it just fine. I just cant think about it or it starts to get sloppy, and Billie Jean is not sloppy in the slightest. Gotta just keep the rhythm rigid and put my brain somewhere else.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I’m going to go WAY out on a limb here. And I don’t mean to insult you or be disrespectful to you in any way.

I grew up in a musical home. My father was a drummer and my mother was a singer. My sister plays the piano beautifully and my other sister plays the violin. I heard music growing up in my home constantly. My wife on the other hand has no ear for music what so ever. She likes some songs. But I hear something in a song and I say, “Did you hear that guitar solo?” and she says, “What guitar?” She can’t hear the different sounds of the individual instruments in a song. At first I could not believe this. But then I realized she does not have a trained ear for music. She has no desire at all to go out and listen to a live band play.

Everyone hears music differently. Some people, as they say, have no ear for music. For instance they cannot tell if and when a song changes key. Or they don’t recognize the difference between the verse and the chorus of a song. It could be that you are at the very bottom of the spectrum and you don’t recognize all or any of the elements of music. You just don’t hear music the way most people hear music. Not that you can’t learn how to hear music. But music does not stimulate your brain the way in which you want it to.

I wish I could sit down with you and analyze how you hear music.


.
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
I’m going to go WAY out on a limb here. And I don’t mean to insult you or be disrespectful to you in any way.

I grew up in a musical home. My father was a drummer and my mother was a singer. My sister plays the piano beautifully and my other sister plays the violin. I heard music growing up in my home constantly. My wife on the other hand has no ear for music what so ever. She likes some songs. But I hear something in a song and I say, “Did you hear that guitar solo?” and she says, “What guitar?” She can’t hear the different sounds of the individual instruments in a song. At first I could not believe this. But then I realized she does not have a trained ear for music. She has no desire at all to go out and listen to a live band play.

Everyone hears music differently. Some people, as they say, have no ear for music. For instance they cannot tell if and when a song changes key. Or they don’t recognize the difference between the verse and the chorus of a song. It could be that you are at the very bottom of the spectrum and you don’t recognize all or any of the elements of music. You just don’t hear music the way most people hear music. Not that you can’t learn how to hear music. But music does not stimulate your brain the way in which you want it to.

I wish I could sit down with you and analyze how you hear music.


.
No offense taken. For the most part, I am a very musical person. Been playing and learning music/instruments since I was 4 years old. I am a 'songwriter' and "pRoDuCe" my own "mUsIc"(hate saying that). I am very critical/analytical when listening to music. I can identify different instruments, keys, chord changes, time signatures, modulations and whatever else as well as the next guy/gal. But I have been told by other musicians and producers that I am a little different in the way I approach music/writing, which they framed as a good thing, but it could be a bad thing. Might be a backhanded compliment
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
No offense taken. For the most part, I am a very musical person. Been playing and learning music/instruments since I was 4 years old. I am a 'songwriter' and "pRoDuCe" my own "mUsIc"(hate saying that). I am very critical/analytical when listening to music. I can identify different instruments, keys, chord changes, time signatures, modulations and whatever else as well as the next guy/gal. But I have been told by other musicians and producers that I am a little different in the way I approach music/writing, which they framed as a good thing, but it could be a bad thing. Might be a backhanded compliment
Oh OK. Then I am WAY WAY off base. Sorry.

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