The Practice of Practicing Performing

Playing a musical instrument can be fun, but requires hard work too. Photo by Hans. Music examinations start in two weeks. After months of slogging over pieces, technical exercises, ear, rhythm and sight-reading exercises, there is light at the end of the tunnel for music students, their parents and us, their music teachers.

In the meantime, how can students best use their time from now till D-day? In addition to tweaking, they should practice performing. Some glitches don't fully reveal themselves until you add the pressure of an audience. In the case of pianists, part of the challenge is learning to adjust to a "strange" piano on the fly. Here are some ideas to get your performing chops up:

  • Play for teachers and classmates at school.
  • Throw a short recital for your family, friends and neighbours (don't forget to add treats at the end!).
  • Play for family and friends on FaceTime, Skype or Google Talk.
  • See if you can book some time to run through your pieces at church when there isn't anything happening.
  • If your library or community centre has a piano/performing space, see if you can run through your pieces there.

Practicing performing is different from "just practicing". When you practice performing, you are trying to get into your "performance zone". You are trying to tell your musical story, without trying to correct anything that isn't in the score. You are practicing how to recover and adjust to what life throws at you when you are on stage.

It pretty much goes without saying that the more often you perform, the easier it gets. So, what are you waiting for?