Part 3 - One Step Towards a New World
If you want to achieve your best, then you need to practice in conditions that are as close as possible to the conditions you’re going to perform in.
That’s the first key thing (I’ll get to the others in a bit).
It seems obvious. It seems like a small thing.
But the vast majority of musicians don’t actually do it.
Think about it.
You probably get told all the time that you need to do the OPPOSITE:
- Break things up into small chunks (rather than joining things together)
- Go back and correct mistakes (rather than carrying on)
- Play through each section several times (rather than having one shot at it and that’s all you get)
Don’t get me wrong.
This is great advice when used in the right place.
But if it’s the only way that you practice then you’ve got a big problem.
It ignores the big picture.
The audience may (probably will!) forget the details of what you did, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.
The solution is so simple
Incorporate ‘performance practice’ into your practice. Such an easy thing to do.
Be honest, though.
How much do you actually do this?
If your answer is “not a lot”, then consider how big the jump is between the way you practice and the way you perform.
Way too big.
There are all sorts of things which can go wrong and which live in that gap between the two different approaches.
You won’t uncover these issues with your current practice approach. They’ll only show up when you perform.
And you certainly can’t address them unless you change how you practice.
How do I do this?
You want to make sure you can:
- Play everything in context [i.e. that you can cope with the physical and cognitive strain of getting through everything all in one go]
- Play everything ‘cold’ [i.e. no more warm-up than you’d get in performance]
- Get everything right on the first attempt
So, for effective performance practice, you’ll want to:
- Play through to the end, no matter what [also developing your ability to keep going if something goes wrong]
- Do this at the start of a practice session or as its own separate thing [rather than after working on other stuff which will have warmed you up]
Setting up some of your practice in this way will help you bridge that gap between the unrealistic practice conditions and performance.
As you stick with it, you’ll see it leading to much better performances.
This is the gateway to mental training
You’ll notice that we haven’t trained any actual mental skills yet.
You’re laying a foundation that’s hugely important in itself. It’s a great introduction to the mindset you’ll need to go further.
Simply by practising in this way you naturally start to grapple with the mental demands of performance more.
And it’s a platform you can build on. As you learn specific exercises to develop your mental skills, performance practice is the format you plug them into.
So now you're all set, right?
We’ve gone through ONE of the mindsets you need to take your playing to the next level.
There are several more.
And simply knowing about those mindsets doesn’t do you any good.
As Derek Sivers says:
“If more information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with six-pack abs.”
You need to install those mindsets over time, in a way that they automatically drive your future actions.
To help you take that next step, I’d like to give you my short ebook: Unshakeable Foundations. It maps out 9 key mindsets that the top performers share.
And there’s a short series of accompanying emails that helps you actually put those mindsets into practice.
Don’t worry – it’s totally free. And you can unsubscribe at any time if you don’t like the emails. I suspect you’ll stick around, though.
Sound good? Click below to sign up and let's get started...