Practice has the potential to transform a musician’s expertise by elevating technical and
musical limitations to full competence, allowing a musician to play masterfully at a
professional level (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993; Johnston, 2002; Sloboda,
Davidson, Howe, & Moore, 1996). While the research literature underlines some
pedagogical and psychological principles on how to practise, there is a need to identify
strategies, inspirations, thoughts, and artistic behaviours that will lead to practice mastery
and excellence in performance (Cervion, Laws, Lettberg, & Lisboa, 2012; Gerle, 1983;
Miksza, 2007). To date, most of the studies related to effective practice have been
conducted with students in higher education (Hallam, 2001). This research aims to
evaluate how professional performers conceptualise and approach practice, and to
observe how they are able to make practice theory meaningful.
Six performance experts participated in an interview regarding practice. The interviews
explored how the participants address and structure practice, how they handle obstacles,
and how they prepare for performances. The participants discussed the importance of
mental preparation, and unanimously described the value of mental practice in the
learning of new works. For these performers, practice was never the ultimate objective,
only a means to achieve progress in performance and to convey to an audience the
delivery of art.
This study aims to redefine existing practice concepts by appraising musicians and
pedagogues of current expert approaches and demonstrating how these are implemented.
It will identify how knowledge of theory needs to be enacted to experience expert practice
mastery. These findings will benefit and advance pre-professional performers in their
pursuit of excellence in performance as they prepare for the music profession.
Warner, Lachlan Phillip(University of Sydney Sydney College of the Arts, 2018-03-01)
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