Your practice space or music room is most likely a comfortable place to play your instrument. It’s important to feel good while you play, and your practice area should make you feel at ease.
The trouble is, you’re unlikely to perform in your practice room, and you’ll need to feel comfortable wherever you play. You can develop strategies to carry the comfort of your practice space with you to any musical setting.
The first strategy involves changing your practice location. If you practice at home, try practicing in every room in the house. For a week, pick one room per day and play your instrument there. Each room will have different acoustics and will most likely feel a little odd the first time you play there.
Your job is to focus on your playing as quickly as possible. Pretend you’re still in the comfort of your usual practice space and see if you can get the same amount of work done as usual. Try not to pay attention to the unusual surroundings or any distractions you may experience.
Another strategy is to invite an audience into your regular practice space. This could be an audience of one person who is reading a book and not even paying attention to you. Or, you can ask a few people to listen to you while you play.
Either way, most musicians feel very uncomfortable with someone else in the room. Some musicians feel judged–even if the “audience” isn’t really listening! Again, your job is to recover your sense of comfort and safety and focus on playing your music.
Here is a third strategy: Take something from your practice space with you whenever you go out to play. This could be a special handkerchief you use, a small item you place on your music stand or carry in your pocket, or a pad you always sit on when you play. Choose something that is significant to you.
Focusing on the small object you carry with you reminds you of your practice space and allows you to feel at home no matter where you’re playing. You recreate your practice space and mimic the feelings you have there.
Whether you’re heading out to a rehearsal or to a performance, the safe feeling you have in your practice space can always be with you. Each of the strategies can enhance your playing experience.
Your goal is to always feel comfortable when playing music!