The Link Between Performing and Practicing
There is a perception that performing and practicing music are two very different activities. Certainly, learning the rudiments of music is an important exercise in and of itself and without some developed ability, not very much true performing can be done. However the relationship between performing and practicing is deeply intertwined and at a certain level the distinction between the two virtually disappears.
At some point in a musical career, practicing morphs from being purely a learning experience into a workshop to prepare the performer for the performance. At that point, ironically enough, performing itself becomes the greater learning experience. The reasons for this are myriad, but one greatly significant aspect of performing is the tremendous energy that is experienced during a live performance in front of a receptive audience. The energy of the audience, as perceived or felt by the performer, pushes him to new heights of artistic achievement.
Once the thrill of performing before a live audience is experienced, that thrill becomes encapsulated in each practice session and the energy of the live performance is released there as well. The true purpose of developing mechanical and musical ability becomes evident and the focus of practice sessions is changed. At that point, performing becomes the true learning experience and practicing becomes preparation to concentrate and enhance that experience; this marks the beginning of the transition from musician to artist.
The artist will find new ways of practicing to bring live performances closer to the pure ecstasy of musical expression in all ways. He or she will bring varied and diverse disciplines such as psychology, exercise kinesiology and acoustics and other artistic disciplines such as theater and dance to the practice session to develop new areas of experimentation. This will enable the artist-musician to achieve greater control of the instrument and maximize the overall performance itself. New and innovative ideas and ways of practicing will be embraced. Gradually the musician will transform his practice in a creative and fulfilling way so that it optimizes the live performances before an audience.
This is the true transformation from musician to artist and during this synthesis the artist will be able to develop and get in touch with personal, unique and creative ways of expression. As this progresses, the artist will realize great improvement in concentration, ease of performance and greater synchronicity of body, mind and what professional musicians like to call "soul".
This sounds complicated, but as music is something that the artist enjoys, practice is, in effect, playing music and should always be enjoyed for its own sake. As practice is transformed into a more rewarding and fulfilling experience, an important step towards scaling the heights of artistic achievement is reached.
About the Author: Kevin is the publisher and editor of musicianhome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.