Prepare properly in a timely fashion, and nerves, uncertainty, and frustration can be avoided. The key to confidence, is preparation.
Embarking on an audition, jury, or performance can be very stressful, for the amateur and the elitist. The difference between those who progress and those who fall behind is the methodical practice done beforehand. The knowledge and skills gained from this type of work will yield confidence, leading to a successful performance.
Knowledgable practice and a healthy level of confidence will diminish fears, leaving you with the joy of musical satisfaction.
I am sorry to say that magic simply does not exist… in practice! Performers and teachers can have an ora, or a magical quality about them, but the way they obtained that is not magic. Some are accustomed to thinking that the Chicago Symphony has some powerhouse brass players, but what that magical affect actually is, is a singular unit playing with heart and soul, together. The end product is magic, but often times the process is not.
Many times while practicing I wonder “what is the secret to *any weak spots of my playing*?”. I sometimes assume that there is something that a God of tuba could tell me that would make it happen. Perhaps I’ll dig up an ancient box filled with golden mouthpieces, and the tuba of Arnold Jacobius, son of Tubagodius. This hasn’t happened yet.
How do you get good? The answer is hard work. You must practice efficiently, frequently and with purpose. Set goals, reach them, then set more.
Never forget why you began playing, though. Be the toddler who has no idea what a tuba is or who the Chicago Symphony is, but loves brass because its shiny. Just don’t poop your pants and cry.
We may not get a letter delivered by owls saying we are invited to attend Julliard, or say Wingardium Levoisa and have a soaring high range, but we can practice our skills, meet giants (maybe tuba players), and Stupefy those with our sound… and then we can have magic in music.
One Big Family
Being my first blog post, I will start slow. I used to think that more hours in the practice room meant more improvement. However, not everything is symmetrical and we can end up doing much more “work” for the same result. This is when I learned about the concept of Deliberate Practice: a practice tool, psychological theory, and immense help to our studies. I have attached a link to the website Study Hacks (another great resource for simplifying success) that explains this concept much more eloquently than I can.
Some of the main themes I took from this are as follows:
Playing is not Practicing
Deliberate Practice is very focused, methodical, and planned
Work hardest on your weaknesses
“…busyness and exhaustion should be your enemy”
“Do less. But do what you do with complete and hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of the day.”