emergency.jpgA part of preparing to perform music is a psychic readying — we need to be prepared to accept very fine results. Perhaps this seems strange, since so much practicing of classical music focuses on avoiding mistakes?

Our practice can prepare us to receive. Any sense that we don’t deserve or are not entitled to extraordinary music making can impede it.

Especially if time is short or preparation is scant, we may play less well than possible because we don’t believe we can do better. Our doubts then, rather the lack of preparation, limit the result.

Am I suggesting that performers practice less? Am I advocating huckster Harold Hill’s “think system” from Meredith Wilson’s Music Man?

It’s just to say that suddenly hearing exceptional music coming from our hands can be daunting, and we have to be ready not to get in the way…

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  1. says

    This “psychic readying” is so important!
    I think the visualization techniques that athletes and public speakers use should be part of every piano student’s performance preparation. It takes a lot of energy to re-create (in your head) everything that goes into a performance – from walking onto the stage to the bow at the end – but it is a sure way to get rid of doubt, especially when preparing to play by memory.
    I think Harold Hill was onto something!

  2. says

    Being prepared is one of the best ways to reduce nervousness and stress from performing in the public. When a performer feels prepared, it tricks the mind into becoming more at ease with performing. It’s all a mind game! I agree with your article – good post!