Unconscious competence and Balanced Standards
Steve - you’ve already paid your dues, and it shows in your playing and also in the way you RAPIDLY developed good quality vocal output. All those 11 hours-a-day stints. They show. And they shorten the time it’d take you to achieve quality at other aspects of music you turn your hand to. Those years of woodshedding were putting Millennia of time into your future bank. That’s how come that song you posted sounded like it did.
Now you require far less time. and are organized enough to rapidly aciever goals you set yourself - so much so that I bet it does not feel like practice, and, indeed, as you say … it is NOT ‘practice’.
I don’t think your claim is outrageous. I’d go as far as to say that too much or too little Just Ain’t Right.
Inventory of my Practice-Load, Aims and Methods.
Me - From age 8, 5 hrs per day was minimum requirement for ‘boot camp’,13 to 25, then 8 per day, to get deep into piano and guitar with singing. Cos of being an actorrrr lovie, and trainer/teacher, then I was practising and amassing ‘client-hours’ and also, Spoken Word became part of my schedule. It became more like plate spinning, and my goal became to synthesize instrumentation, singing and spoken word products. Also to as Leverage to my practice. My work with viola and percussion this last two years has been an exercise to find out how well one can streamline practice methods. The test was to jump into a new instrument.
I’m averaging 2 hours of specifically instrumental practice, one hour of spoken word, and 1/2 hour of sung per day.
Tech Practice and Raw Practice - Overview
If you read my account of Dalcroze Eurhythmics and my Love For Karin Greenhead, in Alexis’ thread, it’ll give you an idea of how, for me, there are loads of cross-overs, since the ‘key’ is in the connection between Feelings and natural Physical coordination. For me, Technique-practise is to remove NON-necessary feelings/sensations from coordinated movement, and Raw practice is to 'Fly/Pluunge/Dive/Buck and Grind for a while, and keep in my mind the question “To what extent it my technique able to Carry my feelings?” I wanna ride the Horse to Hell and back … Can the horse stand it? Does the horse falter? Does it refuse at a fence?
That gives info as to what elements of my technique [physical and mental] I need to concentrate on. having worked on those, THEN … Black Box Flight Recorder gets re-set, ready for my next Hell For Leather RAW practice.
Tech-practice sessions are pretty conventional … just get an improv going … and when I hit an idea during which I feck up and I crash and burn … swing the airplane for another try at the runway … it’s like a holding pattern UNTIL I get good enough for ‘OK, I can Move On Now’. I’ll then improvise a bit further until I fall over again, then it’s back to teh holding pattern, and attempts to land it safely on the runway.
Raw Practice 1: Generate - I simply do an impromptu concert to my ‘inner audience’ [Cf my accounts in my “Rock Ain’t Dead” thread in the old forum. If I have got my field recorder turned on, so much the better. Seems to average about 40 minutes improv, and there, the ONLY rule is that is should look like I Planned and Rehearsed it to be precisely that way. My ideal outcome is that ONLY I will know that I was doing it from a standing start of pure ignorance. The only PRIME ‘Governer’ is my feelings. The only Crucial questions is ‘Can the Dilithium Crystals take it, cap’n’. I’m basically collecting together a cocktail of feelings and organizing them as they come to me, ‘With Intent’ to present them musically/dramatically. I track here I have been, notice where I am, and extrapolate possible ‘stations and stops’ I may arrive at in the future. I then calculate from the growing ‘experience base’ of this ‘piece’ the stations and stops which will retain the maximum Choice for emotional ‘mini rants’ in the performance. When I have arrived at and moved beyond enough ‘stations of stops’, I can look at the past in THOSE terms … ie Stations rather than just ‘raw content’. At the moment I can do that, the ‘shape’ of the final ending begins to emerge - hazy at first. The ONE ‘restraining’ rule is: “ANY ideas/predictions which COMPROMISE or make more difficult the DIRECT SPLURT of RAW MOTION/FEELING/SEX/ENERGY … are to be subordinated to those ideas which let feelings flow like … like butter off a hot knife”
Now I think that’s what Steve is emphasising … I’m checking with you there, 'bro … that SOME musicians or practice/playing methods are constantly subordinating passion to over-complex containers. Matter Of Degree, though … NOT an ‘Absolute’ …
Like, I’d say Hendrix retained his cred … because he’d developed his technique so that it Carried Jimi’s feelings, rather than either Crumpling beneath them, or Crushing them.
Anyway … that Raw Practise will take me between 40 and 50 minutes … ALL of it is ‘product’.
Next step Raw Practice 2: Debrief. “Analyse” is a funny ol’ word. You can analyze from Intellect to Gut. You can also analyse the ‘other’ way round … from Gut to Intellect.
Listening through … Enhance listening skills, and ‘in and out of tune’ and ‘in and out of time’ become easier to spot - in fact it becomes an instant ‘gut’ pain. Wrong time and wrong tune is simply painful. For me, ‘training’ has been to experience more pain, more often, and thereby have more to correct. What starts off as intellect Becomes ‘gut’. Like driving - initially, all this accelerator/break/clutch stuff is a plate-spinning pain. After a while, negotiating a roundabout at rush hour becomes a tigers-on-Vaseline dance on tarmac.
Then there’s that other direction of analysis … from Gut to Intellect. Listening through … those YAAAAAAAAY I AM TEH BEST MUSISHUN IN TEH UNYVERSE BOWWWW DOWWWWWWN moments, and those OHBUGGGGGGERRRRRR I IS TEh SUXX0RZ SELL MY GEAR AND BECOME A LANDSCAPE GARDENER moments. What the feck is going on in each of those kinds of moments?
WHAT are the components of that gut response? Like … Tease apart what makes a moment work or not work. We KNOW it in our improvisation when our Great Riff Idea KILLED the entire groove we were working on. We Know when our tentative anxious-piss-dribbles-down-our-leg-Riff Idea TRANSFORMS and makes miraculous some groove we’ve had some experience of for years. Like your Muse has given a sigh you’ve NEVER heard before, and you KNOW you just GOT to remember Precisely HOW you nibbled her nipple, and which nipple it was- and what you’d nibbled just before and after.
That part of Raw practice typically takes me three periods of about an hour. By that time, the strong points and weak points of that 50 minute ‘concert’ have been addressed, and at least ONE step in the directions of either positively reinforcing what works, of resourcing what did not, has been taken. Technique Practice is a main resource here.
Develop Unconscious competence: Cycle steps at different chunk-sizes.
Testing time is when I do my next ‘Raw Practice’ … along with my filed recorder.
The above can be done with micro-segments. One Rawk Scream, or one Whammy Break can be addressed with this flip flop between Tech and raw practice. The benefit of doing it ‘Formally’ with bigger chunks, is that it gives the process an opportunity to integrate into the Unconscious, so it is ‘there when needed’ rather than making a diary appointment.
STEVE … his years of hours-a-day has given him this unconscious competence. Hence his natural achievement of his chosen goals in which simplicity, precision and feel balance each other, and his hard-won ability to maintain it with minimal expenditure of time.
All the best