Musicians call this road chops – you learn more in 5 minutes on stage performing than an hour at home playing the same song. Fore some reason the time is focused. The zone.
I completely agree with the previous comment. On Sunday, I performed an audition for a (smaller) concerto competition, playing the finale of the Dvorak Cello Concerto. I made mistakes onstage that I had never made before. I’d been struggling with the concept of deep practice for months before the competition, and have still not conquered it. I was practicing several, several hours a day before the competition, but it wasn’t the perfect brand of practice.
Listening to the recording of what I played on stage, I realized so many mistakes. And, by making those mistakes, and analyzing them, I learned exactly what I need to correct in order to play the movement really well. I’m very happy that I made those mistakes onstage, because now I know exactly what I need to fix. Being put on the spot like that, the pressure is on, and nothing – nothing – will expose mistakes like the time on stage. I’m so excited to get back to the cello now.
What’s most difficult, though, is replicating that zone in the practice room. Unfortunately.
Not being able to replicate that zone (the feeling)at will is the very thing that makes it so magical.
I call it the “panic button” most people quit, but the great ones embrace it and chew on it for a while and when they get it,look out!
There is some nirvana shining through in this kid, the sheer joy of doing something that he knows is being done well. I sleep well when this occurs in my soccer players!
This kind of confidence and joy (watch him smile at 2 points in the performance!) must be what we are after in the players we teach, mentor, lead.
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Copyright © 2009 Daniel Coyle. The interactive myelin graphic appears courtesy of The New York Times, with special thanks to designer Shan Carter.
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