There is a practiced occurrence among students that is incompatible with live performance. That is the habit of stopping during a particular piece or movement of music because either one made a mistake or one was dissatisfied with a particular aspect of one’s performance. Naturally we all need to stop and fix a whole host of things while practicing. We are listening for imperfections of pitch, sound, articulation, dynamics, etc. This stopping, fixing, and starting are good and normal methods of correction. However, we often forget what our goal is, which is a complete and seamless rendering of our repertoire. Since we live in a digital age, splicing and dubbing are normal parts our experience of recorded music. The art of live performance, which is what we train to do at the conservatory level, requires us to always be reminded that our end goal is a performance without interruption. Make sure that this end result is not forgotten or left to the last part of our preparation. This will require then the uncomfortable activity of playing even while there are mistakes being made. Keep going don’t stop! During live performance, important skills to be employed are covering for errors,continuing, maybe even improvisation at some points. Of course, depth of practice on details must remain punctilious, but don’t forget the big picture. If you stop and start regularly during your practice, you have practiced stopping and starting during your performance!
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