How do you get back to regular practice after a long break?

With a goal of understanding the impact of a break on musicians players, I have a question for those of you who have practiced shamisen regularly (like almost everyday for more than 30 min.) for a while and had to take a long break of playing before getting back at it again.

What was the hardest thing for you to get back to the same level after ? Were you able to do it?

I would like to know more about your experience so please give as much details as possible.

Let’s say you want to answer hajiki was the hardest thing. Tell me if you managed to get back at it, give me an explanation of what was preventing you to do it properly or explain your solution for solving the issue.

:black_nib::memo: I can’t wait to read your answers ! ! :bowing_man:‍♂

Very interesting point! And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one ^^’ Due to the Pandemic, I refrained from practicing at my apartement to not further stress the neighbours in my house… And from using public transportation too often to get to my training place… I’m really glad when this is over.

Top thing I’m struggling right now is getting back to the same speed level. But to get speed back, or get better at anything really, just practice slowly and then speed up. Don’t mess around.

But I noticed something very interesting: Before the Pandemic when I practiced constantly, I got subjectly worse at my Solo-Pieces. Because I was constantly monitoring my technique while playing, and judging and doubting myself.

When I take a little break sometimes, like 2/3 Weeks after a long period of practicing technique, and then just play out of fun, my Versions of the pieces are usually the best I ever played :sweat_smile: Or at least they feel like it. Because all the fun is back.

So taking a break sometimes isn’t really bad :slight_smile:

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Ah, I can answer this question for you! I play every day, sometimes for over an hour and a half, depending on how the flow goes. I am also in the Navy which means long deployments, sometimes up to 9 months long. I hated the idea of being separated from my favorite thing in the world so after the second deployment I started bringing my shamisen with me but, as deployments go, I am unable to play for weeks at a time sometimes.
I have a repertoire of favorite songs that I play every time as a warm-up. I know these songs in and out, and can play them while asleep. This is what really helps me get back in the groove and I find that after the first day back I am able to hit the ground running right from where I left off.
Also, there are months where I feel like I played out. I don’t want to touch another bachi, ever again. That is when I start making mistakes and it’s time to take a break. Usually a week is more than enough and after the break my playing is back at it’s peak.

Hope this helps!


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Oh also, I find that sometimes I focus on learning a song so much that my form degrades. (hajiki for example). That is when I slow everything down and re calibrate my mind and body.
One time, my elbow drooped too low so I had an improper hold on the sao. This was just due to long hours of playing each day. Also, my bachi angle was off at one point so my sukui kept getting stuck in the strings. This is normal I think, as long as you are able to catch yourself, identify the issue and correct it.


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That is so true, taking a break can make your playing better!

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A break of practicing a specific piece is indeed a good thing. This is why I usually try to alternate the pieces I am practicing.

This pandemic was a forced break for me but not because I didn’t wanted to bother the neighbour. It was mostly because of the constant noises coming from the renovation from my neighbour (our new landlord). It was really disturbing and it lasted from April until December with one month break in august. We were on the verge of getting crazy.

Also, I went back to University in September and was taking online classes and I always needed to ask the landlord to stop making noise since he had a tendency to began the loudest things 10 min. before my classe began. It made it difficult for me to concentrate.

Let’s say it wasn’t the right conditions to practice and to record anything even if it should not have been a problem generally speaking. Not to mention every time I had to say I was sorry when I was trying to teach on Zoom XD
I am more than glad that this is over now !

For me getting back at playing was a priority but it has been one of the most challenging times of my life !

When I was in the mood to practice, my schedule and my body were not. And losing my playing partner to a tendinitis didn’t contribute to motivate me. At this moment, he can only practice for 10 min.-15 min. but I hope his wrist will heal well and I understand how important it is not to push too much for a good recovery.

So, in order for me to come back to the shape I had before this pandemic, I eventually I had to trick my brain and add an objective of 30 min practice three times a week in my Google Agenda in order to slowly integrate a regular practice into my schedule.

It took me about a month to achieve the minimal expectations I had but I think I made it and now I can go on with learning new things and new pieces, finally !

I’ve had so many setbacks for over a year that practice had to take a back seat . But now getting back on track and just pick it up and jump right into the fire :fire:! Then I’ll break out my old lessons and start those again - I forgot how much I enjoy this instrument- even if am quite the newbie . It just gives good vibes !

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