Never underestimate the value of performing, whether at home for family and friends, or in a ‘proper’ concert venue on a special grand piano. Performing for others, and the ability to get up and do it, is an important life skill as it builds confidence and self-reliance – and not just in the sphere of music.
The rush of adrenaline that comes with performing often encourages you to ‘raise your game’ and play better, and interesting things can happen to your music when played to an audience, which may not occur during practice. As a musician, of whatever level, it is crucial in one’s musical study and development to experience the difference between practice and performance, to put your music ‘out there’ and offer it up for scrutiny. Performing endorses all those lonely hours we spend practicing, and reminds us that music is for sharing.
Performing for and with others is a useful benchmarking exercise, allowing you to measure your own efforts against those of others. If you hear people playing more advanced repertoire, you will feel inspired and keen to progress. It is also a means of sharing and discovering new repertoire.
If you’re preparing for an exam, diploma, festival or competition, putting your repertoire before an audience is crucial, and the experience often shines a new perspective on the music, highlighting aspects which may need adjustment in practice. And of course performing for others is essential in coping with performance anxiety and tension.
Whether a professional or an amateur, it is important to prove that you can actually do it, and for the amateur pianist the benefits of performing are immeasurable: you never really demonstrate your technique properly until you can demonstrate it in a performance. Music and technique are inseparable, and if you perform successfully, it proves you have practiced correctly and thoughtfully, instead of simply note-bashing. This works conversely too, for if you are properly prepared, you should have nothing to fear when you perform. Preparing music for performance teaches us how to complete a real task and to understand what is meant by ‘music making’. It encourages us to ‘play through’, glossing over errors rather than being thrown off course by them, and eradicating ‘stop-start’ playing which prevents proper flow. It also teaches us how to communicate a sense of the music, to ‘tell the story’, and to understand what the composer is trying to say.
[Reprinted From: http://makingmusicmag.com]