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View Full Version : Does repetition kill fun?



Vladim
09-27-2011, 09:41 AM
When I hear a catchy melody I want to recreate it on the uke. And here a problem comes up: one should repeat the same song again and again for many days, even weeks to reach a good performance. During constant repetitions the melody inevitably loses it freshness and therefore the most part of its pleasantness to the player. But pleasantness is the only reason why I wanted to learn this melody.

Is that a real problem or not? What do you think, folks?

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
09-27-2011, 10:01 AM
I'm one of the lucky few that never tires of an appealing song. For example, I fell in love with Rock the Casbah as a child back in 1982 and I still get excited every time I hear it. It's like that with all of the songs I love---I can't hear them enough.

It's trickier with my own performances. I have to be able to tolerate my own version of the song enough not to tire of it. I try to extend the life of a song in practice by varying its characteristics. Playing the song slowly; playing it quickly; softly; loudly; with more or less swing; with or without syncopation; etc.

nickie_66
09-27-2011, 10:24 AM
well there are actually 2 kinds of songs:

those who are nice to listen

and those who are nice to play :D

it's a very different pleasure and it touches very different songs


i think you can easily get bored of a good-to-listen song if it's not a fun-to-play one, if it happens, just try another one , and another one etc ;)

also, like already said, you can play a same song in different ways, and it also extends the fun further to look for the right way till it sounds good,

this way you only get bored of a song if you repeat one that you totally master ;)

Eriquito
09-27-2011, 10:50 AM
My two cents:

I have a sort of musical ADD when it comes to playing songs over and over again. I REALLY enjoy playing BUT I think if I had a more repetition prone personality, I'd be a MUCH better player. I struggle with the fun element a lot. Ultimately, since I am a total ametuer and I have no interest in being the best, most skilled player in my hood; I land on the side of fun. Sometimes, I do wish I could enjoy rote practice more...I'm sure the people who listen to me play would agree at least in terms of "finished" songs.

The best part about music (and ukuleles in particular) is that you can do EXACTLY what you want to do and its all good.


Happy strummin'

E

nscafe
09-27-2011, 11:07 AM
Hmm, I worry more about my wife getting annoyed by my constantly playing the same song. I personally don't get tired of playing the same thing over and over. Not sure why. The fun part for me is that the more I play a song, the better I get at it (hopefully).

23skidoo
09-27-2011, 12:04 PM
I have noticed that songs I really get into and play frequently - especially over a span of months or years - are songs that I really don't listen to any more.... or at least not the same way. Once I know a song really well, I listen to it differently - more intimately, but without the excitement that prompted me to learn it in the first place.

I guess, also, that I've played long enough to recognize when a song really intrigues me enough to learn it at that level. I think it's sort of a trade off - I have to be willing to give up some of the listening pleasure I get from the song in order to really enjoy playing it.

OldePhart
09-27-2011, 01:13 PM
I knew a session musician and guitar instructor who told me that you don't really know a song until you have become sick of playing it.

I don't know as that's true, but it does take a lot of repetition, as you point out. However, I have always been the sort that can listen to songs I like over and over and over. When I was a teenager I wore out three cassettes of Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits because it was always in the player in my car.

I have many gigabytes of MP3s but I probably only listen to a few dozen songs regularly.

I've only recently discovered that I really don't get tired of playing the same stuff over and over. I've been playing the same three songs almost exclusively for a couple of months now (of course, I haven't had as much time to play for the last couple of months as I usually do). Anyway, I was always the guy that claimed I couldn't play without a lead sheet - I've discovered that's not true, it just takes me a lot more repetition than it does most folks. LOL

John

SuzukHammer
09-27-2011, 02:30 PM
A really good topic here.

What's the alternative? silence vs. a great tune?

tapes, records, 45s, 12" versions, remix, CDs, Mp3s, sheetmusic. Some songs I've owned many different copies and paid lots of money on.

I think silence would be the problem. There is so much to do with chord substitutions and changes during a song, I think it never gets old for me.

Its only when I try to sound like something that it becomes frustrating. Once I play the song with my own style, then its fun.

zac987
09-27-2011, 02:42 PM
Repetition does not kill fun, for me. For example, I spent a few hours a day learning the triplet and fan stroke, and now I feel very comfortable with them. I've implemented them in my technique, and I feel like a much better player and more interesting songwriter because of it.

Manalishi
09-27-2011, 11:34 PM
I think its a bit like 'learning a song'.You play the chords and
strum pattern until you are familiar with it,learn how the words
fit in with that pattern;and after a time you KNOW the song
and can play it anytime.If its a favourite,you may play it more
often than others,BUT if it is a favourite in the first place,then
you ought never to be tired of it,surely? Just my take....

ScotsDave
09-28-2011, 05:21 AM
Just my personal opinion, but I think there are two ways to preserve a song's freshness. Learning a song, for me, requires much repetition, but until I play it for, or with, others it never really settles into my "song memory". Jamming with others seems to cement it into my mental song book. The second part is that I hate repetition and am easily bored, so I try never to be playing one song constantly. I force myself to play a "set" every time I sit down to practice. I don't know if it would work for others, but it works for me.

the_dude
09-28-2011, 05:50 AM
This is where you separate the proverbial men from the proverbial boys.

Professional musicians make their livelihood by playing the same songs over and over and over again. Same thing goes for comedians, they perform the same material night after night after night. Some people are natural performers and their gifts and passions get them through this easily. Others have to work hard at it. The truly great ones always make a performance seem fresh.

I saw the Rolling Stones perform in 1990. They had been playing the same songs for decades by that point, but the show was absolutely AMAZING. Easily the best concert I'd ever been to.

Magoosan
09-28-2011, 06:22 AM
I think it's kind of a multi-stage process. When I'm learning something new and doing the countless reps, it does lose some of its freshness at that point in time. But then I move onto something new and repeat the process. Then when I come back to that first song after a period of time, it finds it's orginal appeal. So its a function of keeping enough things in the repertoire that you have choices.

Shastastan
09-28-2011, 07:26 AM
To me it's knowing yourself. For example, I don't see how Wayne Newton can continually sing "Dankeshoen" or Tony Bennett sing, "I left My Heart in San Francisco" over and over again. I know that I would become sick of those songs and would not want to sing them probably for 10 years or so. However, practice is another matter. Even though you may be sick of playing a particular song/riff, you have to get it right to play for a gig ( or chose another song that you know well). We have that situation with our gigs. I get tired of some songs and switch them out of our programs. My wife's not happy about this but comes around eventually -- until I change them again :)

Tootler
09-28-2011, 09:34 AM
Practice is an essential part of learning an instrument and practice involves repetition.

I will practice a song until I am confident enough with it to "sing it out". Singing it out the first time does not always go well so you have to then go back and try to put right the things that went wrong. Even if you have sung a song (played a tune) out several times there are always things you can improve and for me, seeking to make those improvements helps to keep a song fresh. If it's a song I like, I enjoy singing it over and over anyway.

Boring my family - well that's another matter. They reckon I only ever sing miserable songs anyway. ;)

Geoff

OldePhart
09-28-2011, 12:23 PM
I saw the Rolling Stones perform in 1990. They had been playing the same songs for decades by that point, but the show was absolutely AMAZING. Easily the best concert I'd ever been to.

That was the Steel Wheelchair tour, right? LOL

I lived in SoCal at the time and almost scored tickets but the guy backed out at the last minute. Some friends and I ended up consoling ourselves by taking in a Stones tribute band that was playing in Redondo Beach the night of the concert in LA. They were pretty good but it wasn't quite the same.

John

v30
09-29-2011, 07:57 AM
Wait until you have been married for 15 or 20 years......:)

23skidoo
09-29-2011, 08:14 AM
I don't see how Wayne Newton can continually sing "Dankeshoen" or Tony Bennett sing, "I left My Heart in San Francisco" over and over again.

If I could sing the same song over and over for decades and make millions of dollars, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Even with the grind of being a professional musician, I'll bet it beats workin.....

Shastastan
09-29-2011, 11:46 AM
If I could sing the same song over and over for decades and make millions of dollars, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Even with the grind of being a professional musician, I'll bet it beats workin.....

Well of course, that's obvious.

Sway
09-29-2011, 12:33 PM
Well, it's sure more fun to be good at a song then to struggle with it.

I find that it helps for me to get into a groove by playing a song enough that I play it well -- that makes me like it even more. Though, I must admit, after awhile (weeks?) I tend to rotate my play list and may not get back to a song, even a song a like, for several weeks or even months.

joeybug
09-29-2011, 12:37 PM
I've learnt the songs I know from many different angles.

First I did Uncle Rod's Boot Camp to familiarise myself with chords, fingering and changing chords quickly. It was a great help to me. After that I focused on a bunch of songs to learn, and practised at least once a day so that I wasn't repeating it too much, but still getting it into my brain.

At the beginning of the year I started doing The Daily Ukulele challenge at my blog and on the UU forums, I do my own videos now so do up to 12 (which is my record) a week, learning two at the same time, alongside other songs I want to master. Some I'm good at, others it takes a few tries to get it right and I've told you all that because I am still having fun when I play, it's not a chore, it's something I do to relax and have fun, and I've learnt so much in my 13 months playing :D

Good Luck!

UkuleleThreads
09-29-2011, 06:52 PM
I've had luck playing with other people and jamming through my repetition. That way, you are still playing, still having fun, and still practicing with your uke. Also, I try to play with people way better than me, it sort of forces me to step it up!

gtrk
09-29-2011, 07:17 PM
I don't know if I should really answer this, because I can stick a CD in the player and listen to the same song for a month. That's 24 hours a day for a month! I am practicing about 6 songs now. I play one at a time over and over untill I can't improve it any more then move on to the next. I do find that after playing something too hard, going back to what I was working on before seems easier. On violin I find myself playing about the same 6 songs everytime I pull it out, but do try 2 or 3 new pieces too. I just wish I didn't have to play the same song over and over for months to memeorise it. If I could memeorise a song after playing it a time or 2, I would still play it over and over, just to improve my playing of it. It seems to me, if it's a song I like, I never tire of it.

Shastastan
09-30-2011, 07:26 AM
I've had luck playing with other people and jamming through my repetition. That way, you are still playing, still having fun, and still practicing with your uke. Also, I try to play with people way better than me, it sort of forces me to step it up!

This is what I do and it sure makes playin more fun, too.

olgoat52
09-30-2011, 08:22 AM
I had hoped to build up an off book repertoire by playing the same tunes everyday and adding a new one to the mix. But I don't seem to have the discipline to pull that off. Starting using lead sheets with bands in my early 30's for weddings and ruined my ability to memorize tunes.

I knew a session musician and guitar instructor who told me that you don't really know a song until you have become sick of playing it.

I don't know as that's true, but it does take a lot of repetition, as you point out. However, I have always been the sort that can listen to songs I like over and over and over. When I was a teenager I wore out three cassettes of Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits because it was always in the player in my car.

I have many gigabytes of MP3s but I probably only listen to a few dozen songs regularly.

I've only recently discovered that I really don't get tired of playing the same stuff over and over. I've been playing the same three songs almost exclusively for a couple of months now (of course, I haven't had as much time to play for the last couple of months as I usually do). Anyway, I was always the guy that claimed I couldn't play without a lead sheet - I've discovered that's not true, it just takes me a lot more repetition than it does most folks. LOL

John

Shastastan
09-30-2011, 08:40 AM
I had hoped to build up an off book repertoire by playing the same tunes everyday and adding a new one to the mix. But I don't seem to have the discipline to pull .that off. Starting using lead sheets with bands in my early 30's for weddings and ruined my ability to memorize tunes.

Ah feel yo pain. How come I can remember tunes from 60 years ago, but not ones that I've recently played 20-30 times? Charts are now my crutches. I've been diagnosed with C.R.S..:)

gtrk
09-30-2011, 02:35 PM
Just make sure not to catch A.R.T.

MS2k
10-01-2011, 06:36 AM
I find it easiest to spend hours learning a song just after it occurs to me that I want to learn it. So when something comes on the radio or TV, or when I re-discover some forgotten gem on an old album, I'll look up chords and work out the riffs and play it as many ways as I can til I feel set on it. I guess this eager passion and variation are the keys to keep repetition from getting boring.

Or alternatively, do what I did for most of my first year of uke playing: keep a uke handy whenever you're doing something else. It makes for a very pleasant distraction :)

rasputinsghost
10-01-2011, 06:48 AM
I've played Gently Weeps and John King's Tarantella Italiana hundreds of times (and in pieces, many more, so I could do it from memory) at this point and I still love 'em

GKK
10-01-2011, 03:18 PM
Yes, for me repetition does kill the fun.

But, I look at it in the Long Run and know that everday I'll be better for it!...