Why You Should Play for Other People

By Bennett Sullivan on Jun 30, 2018

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Getting outside of the comfort zone is something we should all make a priority in our practice and evolution as musicians. If a goal of yours is to share your musical gifts, then start playing for people today. You don't have to start with anything complex. Actually, it’s better if it’s not so you can focus on enjoying the presentation. Keep reading to learn why you should play for people and get feedback, and how to get started.

Why should you play for people?

Playing for people adds an extra layer of self-awareness that doesn’t occur when you’re in your practice zone. There’s a feeling of “this person is listening to every sound I create,” making the playing situation more pressured. It’s very possible that you’ll find out how much you need to work on your focus and understanding the material. And this is okay! There’s nothing wrong with screwing up in front of people - it’s part of the job :).

Why should you get feedback?

The best thing you can do on your own is listen to a recording of yourself and make constructive judgements based on that but it’s not a substitute for having someone better than you critique your playing. A more seasoned musician will hear things you haven’t even thought about and will make you aware of it, which will open your ears a bit more to musical or technical possibilities.

How to get started:

First, choose someone that you’re close to. Maybe it’s your partner or a good friend. Play for them and ask their feedback. Or, if you already have enough feedback for yourself, just enjoy performing for someone you love. Try to enjoy it more and more each time you play for this person. You may notice the mistakes don’t happen as often as when you’re stressed out about nailing that one hard lick.

Getting feedback:

Do you have someone you can share progress with? It could be fellow musician, partner, teacher, or good friend. Or, use the social media resources available to you online, like Facebook or Instagram. I get it - these outlets can be a black hole for politics, animal videos, and so much more but if you take the initiative to make these resources useful, there’s a ton to gain in terms of feedback.

We host a free public Facebook group exactly for this reason and we’d love for you to be a part of it. Click here to request access and when you’re approved, share a video to get some feedback!

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