Practise Practice Rehearsal Simulation

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A Conversation leading to Simulation

I had the most amazing conversation today (awhile back) with a specialist in Psychology and Sports Medicine. She did a lot of her studies in Russia. I asked if there was any research on similarities between the psychology of sports, and the performing arts - and particularly with respect to Musicians. (see Rehearsal or Practise for my thoughts on this).

Wow - the flood gates burst and we really got going. We poked at the ideas of anxiety (objective) and stress as provocation and motivation to performance. We visited 'no pain, no gain' and the strange expectations some of us have when training. (this may well apply to playing an instrument). She mentioned that the work of Constantin Stanislavski was very influential in her branch of psychology.

Ideas applicable to us: Rote Memorization: Muscle Memory <=> Practise

Visualization - "oh yes, everybody in the West knows visualization, but they don't do simulation - and that is much more powerful. "

In exploring this: Important factors.

  • Rehearsing at performance volume.
  • Rehearsing in an environment that simulates every possible detail of the performance environment.
    • standing or seated as you would in performance
    • same microphone, stand,
    • same instrument, controls, and accessories
    • space (stage area)
    • position of other objects typically found on stage
    • lighting

It was a great conversation.

A few more thoughts that came to mind later... When I think of practise, I hear it in as a verb as in, "I practise my scales." It feels like doing "drills". I see repetitive activity that leads to proficiency (I hope).

When I think of rehearsal, I imagine the very specific preparations we make for an imminent live performance. This is usually more physically involving, often done with the people with whom you will be performing.

Up until a couple of days ago, I would have used the term visualization to describe what I do when rehearsing. Today, it seems that the term is not broad enough in its scope.

A simulator is a totally immersive environment and over time, I guess that is what I have been building. A place and a state where everything is as it will be when performing. At least as much as is possible.

I think that it is important to be mindful of your practice, to be aware, to be deliberate and purposeful in your preparations.

You can be as committed to the note that you strike while improvising as to a note on a chart. You can be as committed to a note that you know is coming, whether it is written or known only to you.

For me, the practising, rehearsal and simulation are all parts of the preparation that frees me to commit to that next note, word or action.

See what others had to say about this in the Bose Musicians Community Message Boards


Do you rehearse or do you practise?

In her brilliant book You Are Your Instrument, Julie Lyonn Lieberman tells us (paraphrasing) that in those moments of performance anomie, that sense of being lost or out of place, most musicians unconsciously revert to "practise mode". She advises us to practise purposefully, as though rehearsing, as though performing. Why? So in those moments in performance, where we lose our sense of the immediate, we can revert to the state of mind in which we rehearse - committed, engaged, and playing for the audience.

It is well worth visiting Julie Lyonn Lieberman

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This article expresses my opinion and experience. Please post comments Twitter @ST_Muso. Thank you — ST.