Practicing is not the same as performing. Instead, it is a process of learning, improving, correcting, risking and making mistakes.
So when you go to practice your violin, viola, cello, piano or other instrument, it's not going to sound like a polished performance. There will be stops, starts, mis-steps, corrections, repetitions, and technical things like scales.
I mentioned there is risk - because when you are trying something new or something especially difficult, it takes courage to even get started, to face the difficulties, to do the work. It's hard to do, if you feel "judged."
There is a reason we call it "wood-shedding": when you have to go practice and get your act together to learn a part, you go out in the wood shed, where no one can hear you!
The thing is, I don't have a wood shed - I don't know a lot of people who do. I live in a pretty tight urban environment, where my family and neighbors can definitely hear me if I practice. I can't even close the door to my studio, the way my house is set up! This definitely limits the time of day when I can practice - and really get lost in practice.
Students certainly have this issue; I can remember going from being at home, where I could practice in the basement, to going to college, where one had to go to the "practice rooms." And those practice rooms were not sound-proof, you could definitely hear the people around you. If I'm thinking, "Ah, there are Sally's thirds in the last movement of the Bruch," then definitely other people could hear me, too. Not a comforting thought.
Having the family around can also be limiting, unless you just have completely non-judgmental family members who simply love to hear any sound you make. (In college I used to practice in the basement of my dorm when I didn't want to go to the practice rooms - I learned years later that one of my dear non-music-major friends used to go listen!) But, sometimes you have a family member who finds it annoying, or who wants to correct you, etc.
Some people enjoy having a little audience!
What is your practice situation? Do you have a nice, private room where you can close the door? Are you able to concentrate on practicing when other people are in the next room, whether they are friends, relatives or neighbors? Please participate in the vote and then share.
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