When is it time to perform?

I had a strange shift in my guitar playing these fast few weeks.  I was pretty on top of doing some intense practice for the past three months, and that suddenly stoped.  Go from an average of 18-25 hours/week with my instrument down to about 10ish now is a pretty dramatic change.

But I have a theory!  It’s not that I’m less passionate about my instrument it’s just that I’ve learned two pretty large works this semester (about 20 minutes of music memorized and pretty much ready to perform).  My lack of drive to practice is a result of an increase in drive to get out there and play for some real people.

So I decided to give a recital next semester, which is apparently unheard of–masters students here are only supposed to give one recital in the two years it takes, I’ll be doing a couple.  I’m also going to perform at a few “mixed bag” student recitals along the way.

Maybe that missing “passion” isn’t about a lack of drive to play the instrument, but that an outlet is needed first before anything else can happen. Sometimes music is a strange process.

Happy Friday!

PS:  Emon over at Guitarkadia found an excellent TED talk about How to listen to music with your whole body that is well worth anyones time.

Posted on in Guitar Performance Tips


  • Emon

    Thanks for the mention! I remember when my guitar duo had been practicing for months and decided one day to simply pick up, find an open mic and play. Man, I’ll tell you this…it gave us such a jolt that we’d started playing constantly from then on.

    A lot of music is the energy you get back from the crowd. Frankly, I never understood schools restricting students from performing. Performing needs to be practiced next to regular practicing, if you ask me. Those are two different sets of muscles and by the time your big performance day arrives you have pretty good experience to back you up before you play.

    So, your decision to play out more is right on.

  • Mike Gover

    Nothing adds urgency or focus to practice like a date certain performance!

  • Patrick Smith

    I know I’m late on commenting to this, but for myself the only way to learn how to perform was and is to perform. Much information is gleaned in this way and learning how to navigate my thinking, habits, and energy in performance has been a slow but fruitful process.