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Bad as Me (song)

Bad as Me (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I do think “bad” practice days exist.

Take today, for example.

For reasons I won’t discuss here, today found me “off my game.” Has that happened to you?


Even while warming up with finger exercises I am completely used to, I couldn’t feel my hands or fingers in the usual way. That may have been okay, but my hands repeatedly slipped off the keys.

That is, of course, unacceptable.

So, what do you do? Stop practicing for the day?

Not wanting to quit right away, I opted to see if I could find a way to accomplish something.


The first thing I did was to slow down. A lot.

Then I flattened my hands more than usual, resulting in more finger surface on the keys. That helped accuracy quite a bit.

Okay, warmups worked after making adjustments in speed and hand position. Now it was time to practice some music.


Playing at performance tempo wasn’t going to work. Warmups had brought that to the forefront already.

The music I wanted to practice to day was Bach and Messiaen from my July solo program. After not playing it for some time, a slow tempo was needed.

When I tried hands together, that didn’t work for the same reason the warmups were uncomfortable at first. I couldn’t feel my hands or fingers very well.

Something that worked

The approach that worked was hands alone slowly, concentrating on fingering and phrasing. My ears were fine, so listening seemed like the way to go.

What about tomorrow?

I know why I was off my game today, and expect that tomorrow will be better. Hopefully, “bad” practice days won’t happen any more frequently than they have up until this point!

What do you do when you have a “bad” practice day? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Review by pianist Robert W. Oliver

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