M Database Inspector (cheetah)
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|Sat, May 12 2007||100||Stanley Jordan||
In his Master Sessions Video, Stanly Jordan talks about
how mistakes and stress correlate,
and if you make mistakes when you practice,
usually caused by stress, then the natural stress
later to occur when on stage or recording,
will make the same mistake repeat on stage.
The solution, he says,
is simply not to make mistakes when praticing.
This is easy to achieve, he continues,
all it takes is patience:
never play any faster than the speed
where you are sure you will
not make a mistake.
This system works of course really well.
I am nevertheless trying to improve upon
Stanly Jordan's thoughts and this system:
The stress-mistake correlation is rather a simple
Pavlovian response of muscle memory systems.
When you practice and make a mistake,
there is always a reason in the brain to have
caused it to direct the fingers to make this exact mistake.
Stanley Jordan noticed, that you only make mistakes
when stress comes along,
like when the phone rings, or the cat suddenly snarls,
or the music you are practicing with - just paced up a bit -, too fast for your fingers.
You are practicing, and you have already made that
particular mistake, representing a specific piece of noise
that you heard when you first made it,
which you will identify if you ever hear it again,
and you will hear it again, if you are stressed again,
all else also being the same,
so, don't make the mistakes when you practice
and you will not be able to repeat them when you are later stressed, he concludes.
But if you can hear the same mistake the second time,
not having followed Stanly Jordan's instructions to avoid it,
it means, from Stanly Jordan's accord of years of experience,
that it takes only one time, not two, for the mistake to occur,
for our muscle memory systems to record this mistake
with accuracy and be able to repeat it when conditions
And this recording,
Stanly Jordan does not suggest how to prevent in full.
Mistake will continue to occur forever,
much less thanks to Stanly Jordan,
and hopefully even a wee bit less with this.
While Stanly Jordan points out the correlation
between mistake and stress,
and despite his otherwise usual infinite attention to detail,
in this case he is missing, I beleive,
some very improtant relevant details:
The individual mistake which occurs at a particular
timepoint in the music,
occurs with stress occuring at that same point in time,
and the timing of the surrounding split seconds
are all that is relevant.
You are not generally stressed for appearing on stage
and will overall make more mistakes.
Muscle memory records this particular
exact mistake (as I claim, with a single occurance),
as a result of the stressoccuring,
which can not possibly be unrelated to the content of the music itself.
This is why the stress finds its way to occur
at that particular instant in time in the music.
It is only when you recorded the mistake more
times than the non-mistake that the the misake will occur without stress.
This will happen if you are stubborn to repeat a mistake 'until you get it right'. You never will.
To quote Stanely Jordan: slow down until you always
get it correct,
and speed back up only as fast as you can always keep it correct, until you get it right.
But Freud tell us, that when your are stressed
is when your subconcious takes over,
which is why you make mistakes only
when you are stressed.
He is not wrong of course, and none of this
contradicts any of the above.
But it tells us something new and useful:
Who says that if the subconcious takes over
bad things will happen?
Maybe with some understanding, we can harness it?
After all, this is what psychologists have been
doing since Freud anyway,
and musicians since the first time caveman shot his arrow
from inside the hollow echoy skeleton of a mamooth,
or something like that.
Stress, first and formost, causes the quick and agile
subconcious systems to act,
faster than what it would take a more controlled operation.
Freud calls this Pavlovian response, when extreme: a trauma.
Meaning to say:
you will automatically and uncontrollably forever be stressed,
without any logical reason,
by that which happened to have occured in the time vicinity
of the traumatic event.
I must add that if the traumatic event itself is very short
and can be stamped with a single timestamp,
then the potential variety of correleted surrounding events
for the systems to record is very small.
But our subconciousness is partly many millions of years
old and partly a mere two million years in early
stages of development.
It encompasses many primitive and ancient systems, and
this happens to be one of them.
The way our subconciousness knows to tell degrees of
traumatic events apart is simple: it doesn't.
it responds traumatically, or Pavlovianly,
to the event, to the dgree of its illtemper.
Much like Staley Jordan says Staccato and Legatto are
merely digital words in the language to describe
two randomly selected numbers from a scale of one to ten
in a convenient but ineffetive method -
in my view -
traume, a simple pavovian response and the stress-mistake
are dgrees of similar behaviour of similar systems
in our brain.
The new trick I am trying is based on
harnessing denial as a tool.
I am trying reverse psychology on my muscle memory
I am trying to train myself so that
whenever I make a mistake,
I immidiately stop everything, as if in panic,
and follow this rule as religiously as practical,
especially if I was recording until a second ago.
I am trying to make my subconciousness deny the mistake
ever occured, with a long thought process to match
and fight the muscle memory recording sequence,
by mimicing extra stressthe second I noticed
the mistake had occured.
From the elevated excitement from the beafed up evnt of the mistake, I expect to help eliminate, at least to a dgree,
the recording of the mistake.
It is also hard for such a mistake to be recorded in muscle
memory because there is no correlation sequence.
If there is absolutely no note in history that has ever
been recorded by muscle memory to follow the mistaken note,
then the mistake itself is at the far end of this muscle
memory sequence and its recorded strength must be very weak.
Since Stanly Jordan's system already insures
that if I combine the two systems it is statistically
improbable to make the same mistake twice,
and as the first and only recording is very weak,
it is less likely that such a mistake,
having been more lighly recorded,
will reoccur on stage
So whats the big deal,
all musician stop playing and start over when
they make mistakes almost all the time.
The difference is in the detail.
Almost is simply not nearly good enough.
If you practice casually without paying much
attention to these details, and set some other standards,
you might make, according to your set standards,
say 10 mistakes an hour on average,
and for nine of them you will stop and start over,
just like I am describing here.
You are not doing a 90% job at all.
You are merly recording about a mistake an hour
in your muscle memoey systems,
and having recorded this information over years,
by now your entire musical arrangment is woven
with recorded mistakes hoping for the stressful
event to appear in their lucky recorded moment in time,
or otherwise a competitor mistake will sprout and win instead.
I can't really say this is a discovry.
My habbits of how to react to mistakes
are a subject I have been toying with for some time now,
and every time I put on Stanly Jordan's master video
again I make sure I am by the computer when the part
where he talks about the stress-mistake correltion comes
on, trying to dig yet another minute detail from his elaborate description of vast experience.
This is also why it is hard for me to measure or report
how well this theory at all works.
This is how I try my best to practice most of the time,
with a very strong conviction it betters my learning speed.
I believe by now I have enough experiemnts to support this conviction.