Practicing and Playing

I love to practice.

But I’m realizing that my zealous practicing routines are becoming ineffective. Practicing used to be a great source of growth for me; that’s changing.

I need to play more; I need more outputs.

This past summer, something special happened: I played two solo-piano festival gigs that were two weeks apart and I performed the exact same repertoire for both gigs.

I noticed that the tunes had evolved, ever slightly. They were taking on new life! I had greater focus, I was more comfortable, risks were paying off and I was more in the zone. I was a different player!

I imagined what it would have been like had I played that set list again the next week. Or if I played it three nights in a row, or 30, or 300!

No amount of practice can substitute this kind of experience. Eventually, with no outputs, practicing and growth bottom out.

But take a look at my schedule. At this rate, I’d be lucky to hit 300 solo-piano performances in my lifetime!

Side Note: How does this compare to world-class performers? Are they world-class because they perform often, or because they practice often? How do they balance?

I need more outputs.

I already work hard to find performances opportunities (as I wrote in My Gig Triangle). But they’re hard to come by. The ones I do get are inconsistent, and as of now, infrequent.

To what extent should I be creating performance opportunities?

More on this later…

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