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Practice and Performance


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 well.




Copyright 2001 Mount Holyoke College