Practice Tip of the Week:
Practice Performing

Once you can play all the notes for an upcoming concert,
the practice room needs to become a performance preparation
room. During this phase, you go from learning to mastery.

Mastery means automatically playing your music from start
to finish and feeling in control the entire time. One of
the components of mastery is the ability to play without
stopping—no matter what!

Why is this level of mastery so important?

Because stopping is not an option during a concert!

Here are specific practice room techniques that will make
you a performance master:

1. Visualization A: Hear the music in your head and feel
yourself playing it—without your instrument. Any difficult
issues during your visualization will probably be real issues
on stage. Make sure you feel comfortable throughout this

2. Visualization B: Picture yourself playing on stage in
front of your audience. Feel calm, cool, and collected.
Know that you are in control!

3. No Stopping: Play through each section without any pauses
whatsoever. This may mean initially playing more slowly than
you want. So be it. You’re working on mastery, not winning
a race.

4. Control Each Section: Be able to play each section of
your music—in any order. If your piece has six sections,
try playing each section in random order or backwards from
the last section to the first.

5. Tighten the Transitions: When each section is playable,
make sure you can easily transition from one section to the
next. Play the last few measures of one section into the first
few measures of the next section.

6. Put It All Together: Play the sections in order. However,
you don’t have to start by playing the whole song! Again, if
your music has six sections, you can play sections 4, 5, and 6
or sections 2, 3, and 4. Try different combinations. Eventually,
you’ll easily be able to play sections 1 – 6 (which is the entire
piece of music) flawlessly!

These techniques will prepare you for performance success. Next
week’s practice tip will take it to the next level.

To Your Musical Success!