The Importance of Performing

By Sean Stone-Ashe

Many young musicians work hard to improve at their craft, and learn many beautiful pieces of music along the way. However, not every student culminates these efforts in a public performance. 

While public performances can be stressful, they are crucial for musical and personal development. Below are three reasons for any musician to get out of the practice room, and share their music with the world.

1. Give Purpose to Practice

In an ideal world, a music student should have the opportunity to perform every piece they learn at least once. It takes considerable effort to master a challenging piece of repertoire, and that effort deserves formal recognition through performance. Performances, then, act as a miniature “graduation” from a period of time spent working diligently to learn and polish that piece.

Therefore, performances give structure to musical practice by providing near-term goals with certain deadlines. This structure can help provide a sense of purpose to all the toiling of daily practice, and provide motivation to a student who may need immediate incentives to cram in that extra hour of practice into their busy week.

The accountability of impending performances tends to bring out the best in all of us!

2. Builds Confidence in Pressure Situations

The prospect of performing can be intimidating for anybody, especially a young musician. I remember the very first time I performed on the guitar, I was nervous, shaky, and my glasses even fogged up! But, over time my performance skills and comfort level increased, and I now feel relatively at ease while performing.

The performance skills that are cultivated by learning music transcend the concert hall, as people who are able to perform well under pressure can translate those skills into improved public speaking, athletic performance, and myriad other high-pressure situations that demand in-the-moment thinking and acting.

3. Musical Memories

While most musical growth and development takes place behind closed doors through our daily practice, many of our strong positive memories stem from the performances we do. If I personally had to sum up my top five musical memories, at least three or four of those memories would be of significant performance experiences I have had. 

When we speak about professional athletes, and highlight important moments of their careers, they are all from games they played, and quite often from playoffs, championships, or games deemed highly important. When have you ever seen a sports highlight from a practice? 

A music student will undoubtedly have similar feelings when looking back on their own musical journey, taking pride in the strong performances they gave, remembering people in attendance, and the compliments they received