Practicing vs. Performing

A typical practice session for most musicians goes something like this:

You play through a song from start to finish.  You do it again.

It doesn’t sound any better than it did yesterday–or the day before that.  You’re having problems with the same few areas that have always caused you problems.  You question if you’re getting any better.

“What’s going on here?” you ask yourself.

What’s going on is that playing through something over and over isn’t really Practicing.  Playing something from the beginning to the ending is called Performing.

If you want to learn your instrument the Fast and Easy Way, it’s time for you to truly understand the difference between Practicing and Performing.

The main difference is: Practicing focuses on areas that need to get better.  Performing is playing all the way through.  Doesn’t matter if you’re on stage in front of an audience or by yourself in your practice room.  Performing is performing.

The most common question is: HOW do I focus on the areas that need to get better?

There are three main ways to create this laser-like focus:

1)  Play the difficult areas (what I like to call the “Tough Stuff”) VERY slowly.  So slowly that you can actually play them without any mistakes.

2)  Play the transitions into and out of the Tough Stuff.  After all, there’s no use playing the most difficult licks correctly if you can’t get into them and out of them!

3)  Create a “Learning Loop.”  In a Learning Loop, you go over a very few notes over and over again–slowly and with no mistakes–while your muscles learn exactly what they’ll need to do to play those notes perfectly.

Each of these three techniques will focus you in on the exact details that will improve your playing TODAY.  They are central techniques to the Fast and Easy system.

If you don’t know these techniques, you will be spending too much time practicing (actually “performing”…) without making any progress.

Knowing the difference between Practicing and Performing is crucial to your success.  Be sure you know which one you’re doing in your practice room!

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