Hopefully it has not escaped your attention that last Friday saw the start of the annual BBC proms concerts (details of which are here ).
For those that don’t know, the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts (or Proms) is one of the biggest music festivals in the world and has been running for nearly 120 years. Aside from the amazing line up of artists from around the world, what makes the proms unique is the ability to stand up and walk around whilst the concert is going on.
Can you imagine how much practice goes into putting on a festival of this size? Probably not.
In fact it’s an awful lot less than you might think.
Typically each group of musicians will have one afternoon to prepare. Given that each concert lasts 2 hours, this pretty much means only one run through before the concert.
How would you feel if given only one run through of your pieces before a performance?
Pretty scary isn’t it?? +o(
Any time, any place
Your teacher may not have explained it to you yet but this is the level you are working towards. Being able to play anything at a moments notice.
No practice. Just play.
All those technical exercises, scales and pieces are designed to give you the ability to play anything when needed.
And don’t just think this applies to straight or classical musicians. If you play jazz or rock or pop you need the same ability.
Are you ready for the big break? When the phone call comes an hour before the gig for you to step in will you be ready?
What’s the point of me telling you this?
You could just continue to play by yourself for fun and not get to the standard required to play at the top level. When your local band calls you might be able to get the music a couple of weeks early in order to practice the notes. You’ll always be stuck to playing a limited range of material and groups.
However, reach the level where you can play anything at the drop of a hat and you open up a whole new world of possibilities.
Hopefully you have goals and dreams for your playing. Being able to play with minimul practice will help you get there.
Here’s the thing though.
Being able to play at that level – without too much practice requires an awful lot of practice up front.
Will you make that commitment?
Next time you watch a proms concert, or any concert for that matter, bear in mind that these guys probably only had one run through together. Makes you appreciate the ability on show even more.