Practicing in Public

Edited: November 1, 2019, 9:06 AM · I am accompanying my son to Senior Regional Orchestra for two days next week. Normally, I wouldn't practice those days because I learn a lot from sitting in on their orchestra rehearsals. However, the day after we get home, I am participating in my teacher's adult recital. As made evident in my lesson last night, two days off the violin (I have been playing viola in orchestra) resulted in unsteadiness with the pieces I intend to play. I feel like I will need to find time to practice while my son is in his all-day rehearsals to make sure my pieces stay under my fingers.

Rehearsals are held in a high school which will be in session on Friday. I suppose I could hide in a bathroom or the corner of the common area with a heavy mute, or go to the parking lot if it isn't too cold. Practicing in public has always been difficult for me because I feel judged for not being a good player. People see an adult and assume we have been playing forever when almost every student there will have been playing longer than me.

What would you do in a similar situation? Any suggestions for getting past the self-imposed criticism?

Replies (6)

November 1, 2019, 9:59 AM · If you're going to practice in a high school while classes are in session, your biggest problem is not self-imposed criticism or public embarrassment but rather whether you will disrupt the activities of a functioning school. My suggestion is to ask the organizer of the event whether they can confer with the school principal to find you a suitable venue for practicing your violin. The home of another participant who lives close-by, or a motel room, might be alternatives.
November 1, 2019, 10:14 AM · Unfortunately, our hotel check in time is close to the end of rehearsal. Last year we were in a school with plenty of area that did not impact classrooms and a couple of the school directors were utilizing the public spaces for sectionals. This year we will be in a different school so I'm not sure of the layout which is why I was wondering about a heavy mute in an area out of the way of classrooms. Typically high school orchestra and auditorium spaces are in their own wings or near a common area.
November 1, 2019, 1:21 PM · Definitely ask permission first and probably you should use the heavy mute.
November 1, 2019, 1:31 PM · I will definitely ask the organizer beforehand and use the hotel mute. Thanks.
Edited: November 1, 2019, 2:33 PM · Takes getting used to. I used to hate practising near anyone, but I started bringing my violin to school to practise in stairwells and the music room and such. I now love practising in public spaces because it forces me to be vigilant. Just don't take yourself too seriously!

Practise practising, I guess.

Edited: November 1, 2019, 3:06 PM · Go and practise in the street or in a park - you won't disturb the orchestra and who knows, you might pick up a cent or two, especially if you leave your case open (but leave the spare bow and strings at home/in the hotel, in case they get half inched).


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