Most professional musicians I’ve spoken with about practice believe that the performance is one of many forms of practice. Some use performance specifically as their only practice. For those who practice alone or are shy, a good performance requires skills that aren’t honed in the practice room. You’ve got to just get out there, do it, and learn from it. This fun TED talk by Joe Kowan is a perfect example of practicing performance, and using creativity to enhance practice.
Here’s Rowan Atkinson with a pretty funny skit. It’s like he’s mentally practicing drums, and we get to hear what he’s hearing inside his head to hilarious results. Enjoy, and use this to remind you to inject mental practice into your own practice routine.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, check out this quick animation from the good folks at RSAnimate about some interesting studies of motivation presented by Daniel Pink (taken from his book on motivation, Drive).
Even though the topic of this talk on motivation takes a business-oriented bent, I found myself using the ideas to assess my own relationship with practice and with music and with my other chief love, writing. Interesting that for mastery motivation he cites music.
Set aside half an hour every day to do all your worrying; then take a nap during this period.
There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.
~Publius Ovidius Naso (Ovid: 43 BC – 18 AD)
Sleep is one of the key strategies the brain uses for learning. It’s called consolidation in the research literature. Basically put, your brain needs down time in order to process all that you’ve taken in during the day. Naps can perform the same function.