This section of the site deals with practice and performance.
What is practice? How do we do it? Why do we do it? Why does
it sometimes seem that we can practice and practice and still
feel that a passage is totally out of control? Are there aids
that can help us? Why is performance different from practice?
How is it different? How do we prepare ourselves for a performance?
At a place like Mount Holyoke, life is very busy; students
and faculty feel that there is never enough time in the day
to accomplish everything we want or need to do. On the other
hand, at a place like Mount Holyoke, everyone has a well developed
sense of taste and understands the difference between a good
performance and a bad performance. We all want to perform
well. We all have very little time. What do we do? One of
the most important things we can learn is to practice efficiently.
So what is practice? Is it the time we spend practicing shifting,
scales, different bowings? Is it the time we take to put the
music in a historical and theoretical context? Do we play
through what we can already perform or do we work on what
we can't play? Is it all of the above?
If we can construct our practice time so that every part of
it is as interesting and vital as the piece of repertory we
are currently working on, practice will be a part of the day
we look forward to. When I was young, I viewed practice as
a necessary evil to be endured so I could get to the fun part
of performing the music. Years later, I now realize that I
look forward to my daily "practice fix" as much
as I do the performing because I have learned how to do it