Whether you are practicing at home or rehearsing with your band, be sure to have the mind-set that you are preparing for the performance. This means that you do everything you can to recreate the upcoming performance environment. If you will be standing up for your solos or walking to the front of the band to play them, do it in rehearsal. If the only time you do it is when you are performing, it will most certainly distract you unless you have practiced it like you have the music. Similarly, are you playing your pieces all the way through regardless of whether the "train has left the tracks"? You need to practice playing through mistakes and recovering from grievous errors. If you stop every time something is just not right, you will be unprepared when mistakes happen and they always do. Nobody and no ensemble is perfect, nor should they be. That is the beauty and the excitement of live performance. So, yes, be picky and work on the music bit by bit. Polish it and work on those tricky sections, but also think of the final goal and what ultimately needs to happen: you need to perform your pieces, top to bottom, well and without interruption. A crowd will be quite forgiving if the band is enjoying themselves and there is energy in the music. Keep the end performance in mind and do the little things that will help you to feel comfortable during that performance.
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Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.