Tip #3: Practice Is Performance
Starting a new musical collaboration with someone can feel like a first date. You feel hopeful and a bit nervous. You feel anxious, like you’re performing. You try out some music with this new collaborator. If it is going well, you don’t just blurt that out. If it stinks, you try to be cool–and you start thinking of escape strategies. What do they think of me, and what do I think of them? Am I putting on a good show here? A first practice session is like a first date–both are performance situations. Just recognizing this can help dispel some anxiety and emotional charge, and then you can move faster toward open communication lines.
When practicing alone or in a group, you might find it helpful to keep a performance feel to the proceedings. If you have that performer experience regularly, you’ll have a better chance of doing well when a really delicious gig comes along. I play fiddle in a string band called Feel The Wag, and we almost always rehearse just like a performance. Occasionally we actually have to talk a little about a tune, do some problem-solving, negotiate on who is going to play what and where. But mostly we practice right through the tunes, trusting that each is doing his homework on his own time. We even hold most of our practices in a book shop, where folks regularly listen in, applaud, and ask us questions. We teach each other tunes and try out new things right there where passers-by can hear and see us. Even if you don’t practice out in the open like an exhibitionist, you can still use your imagination to create a performance setting and experience. Notice what distracts you and what takes away from the music when you’re practicing, so that you can deal with these things effectively the next time you are on a stage.
Great Practice Sessions
Photo of the band Youthbitch used by their kind permission. Check out their latest single HERE.