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Anyone ever have a day when practice is just not going well at all? I mean, scales sound terrible, music I could play yesterday I just cannot seem to get a grip on today. Weird how that happens sometimes.
 

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All the time. Same thing happens in golf. One week I'm shooting in the mid to low 80s. Next week I can't break 90. The other day I was so horrible at golf I quit counting my score after the first nine holes. It must have been over 100.

One day I'm reading music and my tone sounds good and there are few fingering mistakes, articulation is sharp. Next day tonguing sounds sloppy, fingering is sloppy, stumbling over stuff I memorized months ago. It's called being human. We are flesh and blood organisms subject to lack of sleep, too much fun (alcohol etc.), emotional upset, you name it. We are definitely not machines though some things we do are machine-like. There was a thread here a few weeks ago about whether we should plod through a bad practice day or just put it aside and try again tomorrow. I don't play for anyone but myself. I usually put it aside for a day. If I were a music student or a pro with a gig and new music coming up I'd probably slog through it; maybe just work on the basics like scales and arpeggios.
 

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I can't speak for everyone in the world, but of course I have days where I feel like practice is futile.

Two observations, if your schedule permits it step away from it for a half hour or so and then go back and practice again. That interruption usually gets my brain off of the bad stuff and starting fresh again.

At least for me, I find that when it feels like I'm having a horrible practice session it means that I'm pushing things up to another level. By that I mean that the all the previous practices are adding up to a point where it's a noticeable Improvement.

And for perspective, it's one practice session.

Sent from my LGUS997 using Tapatalk
 

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Anyone ever have a day when practice is just not going well at all? I mean, scales sound terrible, music I could play yesterday I just cannot seem to get a grip on today. Weird how that happens sometimes.
When that happens you have stop and have a cup of coffee or tea. Read the book Effortless Mastery by Kenn Werner. Phil
 

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Happens to everyone once in a while. My personal belief, however, is that every practice session, even a seemingly worthless one, takes you a step or two toward better craftsmanship, if you listen closely to what is coming out of your horn. You may notice that, hey, I can do this little thing better than last time.

No practice session results in degradation. If today some things sound worse than last time, there is nothing to worry about.
 

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Most of the bands I've played in had the saying "lousy rehearsal, great performance".

You can either stop and come again tomorrow (or later today), or you can keep on, knowing that when you're improving on a bad day it'll make the good days even better.

Kind of like the advice to practice using all your reeds, including the not very good ones, so you can build your ability to cope with times when things aren't working just right. After all, one of these days you will have an important public performance that occurs on one of those days when "nothing seems to be working right". If you know how to play well even when nothing is working right, you will be able to complete the performance successfully. Runners don't just train on flat and downhill runs.
 

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I think everybody has these kinds of days. Just be grateful when it happens in the practice room, and not on a gig.

When I'm having a really suck practice, I usually give up working on anything and just read through some classical pieces that I know fairly well. Not that I can play that stuff! I'm sure any good classical player would hear me and immediately start begging me to stop what I'm doing to poor JS Bach. But it usually makes me feel better, and it allows me to continue. I do believe in putting in the time, even when things are really not happening.
 

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I like saying I'm going to play today, not practice- (play= "activity engaged in for enjoyment"/ practice="repeated excercise"), even though I'm working on stuff. But I'm just a hobbyist, so guess I have that luxury I guess!
 

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you're too drastic, who in every field does not have a bad day? not for this change job or hobby. Tomorrow is another day
I'm not sure he meant permanently - and it's a great idea...Switching to your second (or in some cases first) instrument is something I do often if I'm not feeling it. If I just don't feel like playing sax, I'll grab a guitar or sit down at the piano. If I'm feeling particularly low, I'll get behind the drums and beat the *&$$# out of them :). That invariably makes me feel better.

Even if you don't play multiple instruments, doing some critical listening will improve your playing. Put on a favorite recording and listen through trying to separate each part. Maybe isolate the drums in your head and try to tap out the parts on your thigh. Viola. Instant rhythm training.

You can also buy a tin whistle or recorder cheap. They are actually pretty good tools for practicing breath control and mental discipline. If you read music, they work well for improving that skill too...

Of course, you could also run down to the pub and have a few pints. Your sax will still be there when you get back...
 
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