From the practice room to the concert venue

A preliminary study

Elena Alessandri, Christian Lars Schuchert, Ruta Lasauskaite Schüpbach
This study explored how discrepancies between the practice and the concert settings influence musicians’ preparation and delivery of performance. We interviewed four experienced music students prior to and after a solo concert to gather insights on their experience of and strategies used to cope with the change from the practice to the concert environment.
Discrepancies between the two settings posed challenges to musicians in terms of different acoustics, psychological pressure linked to the social importance of the concert event, and necessity to switch from an introvert to an extrovert approach to playing. These challenges were experienced as integral components of musicians’ profession and difficulty coping with them was perceived as a sign of inexperience. Three main strategies emerged as beneficial to deal with these challenges: mental imagery, performance simulation, and training in different learning environments.
The findings emphasize the importance of the interaction between musician and performing environment for the performance outcome. They suggest that mental rehearsal training and flexible practice facilities that allow manipulation of perceptual qualities could improve the effectiveness of practice sessions. Moreover, they highlight a need within schools for open discussion on the impact of the performing space to promote musicians’ wellbeing and actively assist students to train to perform.

by moxi