The difference between practicing and performing

There’s a big difference between practicing piano and performing in public. But from what I’ve seen, most up-and-coming piano students practice at home like they’re playing in public and play in public like they’re practicing at home.

As one example of this, we’re often told to “keep playing in tempo, even when we make mistakes.” This is for performance, and yes, it can help to “practice” performing at home. The problem is that many piano students tend follow this advice too literally and gloss over their mistakes when practicing at home. A lot of your practicing should in fact be spent playing things slowly, out-of-tempo, and exploring what the correct notes actually are and how they relate to one another. On the other hand, we do need to let go of this approach when performing and simply let the music flow.

Dig in deep with this idea. Ask yourself “what is practicing?” and explore what attitude to have when performing. Once you get clearer about this distinction, your practicing will get more effective and your performances will get better and better.

Good luck and have fun!

Looking for something to practice? Here you go!

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