Basics of Flawless Performances

The basic requirements for a flawless performance are: technical preparation, musical interpretation, and a good performance preparation routine. After these are completed, then the only missing ingredient is good mental play (memorization). When all these elements come together, you can virtually guarantee a perfect performance. Here, we review these important elements and discuss how to know that you have met the requirements, as well as add the necessary ideas not discussed elsewhere.

Of course, there are plenty of excuses for not being able to perform. Knowing these excuses is one of the prerequisites for learning how to perform. Perhaps the most common excuse is that you are always learning new pieces so that there is insufficient time to really finish a piece or maintain the finished pieces in playable condition. We saw that learning a new piece is the best way to mess up old pieces. For those who have never performed, the second most important reason is that they probably never really finished anything. There is always that one difficult section you can't quite manage in every "interesting" piece worth performing. If you haven't performed the piece, you have no idea whether it is finished or not. Another excuse is that pieces that are easy for you are somehow always uninteresting. Note that the learning methods of this book are designed to counter every one of these excuses, mainly by accelerating the learning process and by encouraging memorization. By the time you can play your piece well in your mind, none of these excuses will be valid. The technical methods are discussed in II and III. The musical training and memorization, that culminate in mental playing, are also covered elsewhere, especially in III.6.