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Ministry Of Sound - Laser Light Show with DJs ...

Image by Anirudh Koul via Flickr

I don’t know about you, but I have an aversion to making a fool of myself in public.

Some musicians prefer performing, some recording.  Still others like to play for their own enjoyment.

I love performing, and also enjoy recording.  But playing for myself doesn’t quite do it.

There is some intangible component to having an imminent performance that makes my practicing much, much better.  Today, for example, I had a heightened awareness of sound, variety of articulation, being ready in advance, and clear dynamic contrasts.  Next concert ~ two days away (unless it’s three ~ allowing for snow).

How does this happen?

Well, it could be related to sight-reading ability.  Sometimes being a good sight-reader can be a disadvantage.

What is sight-reading good for?

  • reading through repertoire to choose programs
  • deciding on program order (key, tempo, and mood relationships)
  • playing rehearsals ~ although we would like to have the music in advance, that sometimes doesn’t happen

How can sight-reading get in the way?

  • using the same fingerings consistently is more difficult
  • reading through the piece is more fun than practicing
  • making mistakes and going on is easy ~ missing a fingering rarely causes a train wreck
  • when used as a practice method, sight-reading ensures that little if any improvement occurs

How does nearing a performance date change things?

  • fear of playing badly kicks in
  • mistakes and sloppy playing suddenly become much more obvious
  • imagining a large hall with an audience is completely different from playing for 4 walls in a smaller space
  • playing through pieces suddenly becomes a waste of time
  • making the playing as foolproof as possible becomes crucial
  • I hear with different ears!

In short, performing makes me the best I can be.

What focuses your practice?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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