Please think- and play.

May 16, 2012

We’ve all heard this phrase:

“Don’t think-just play.”

This phrase has bothered me since the first time I heard it.  Without thought, it’s not possible to get better or have your best performance.  There are certainly people that practice their technique by just going through the motions.  And then play music by taking their best shot without a lot of thought.  This seems like a risky (and ineffective) way to go.  

So let’s figure out what to think about.  

When practicing fundamentals, think about:

  • perfecting technique.

When practicing music, think about:

  • any technical problems that need to be addressed to be able to play the piece
  • all musical decisions to be made for performance

Now that you’ve practiced this way, it’s time for the performance.  This is the only thought I want in your head:

Here’s how I want this to sound

When it’s time for a performance, think about the music you want to create.  If you’ve practiced effectively, you’ve addressed all of the technical issues and made all of the musical decisions.  The only thing left is creating music.  So think about exactly how you want it to go.  

So please think, both in your practice and your performance.



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