There are times when a student really needs to play a solo being worked on in front of an audience. The experience of doing that is so important. But where to play?

Wellllll … if you are a church goer I can highly recommend that. It can be a very safe place to play, and the congregation will be quite appreciative if you have prepared well and are ready to do that. (I did attend a service once where the playing by a beginning adult student was so poor that it was incredibly painful and someone in charge even came up to me after and apologized — I suppose because I was a professional — which was rather sad. So DO prepare, and ask your teacher if you are ready to do this please.)

You can also play at senior centers and rest homes. You have to be ready to have some interruptions by your “audience” but even that can be a good thing for you: you learn how to keep going and not let distractions cause an issue with your playing.

You can play for your school if you have talent shows or the like. (But of course some students can be brutal and mean so only do this if it’s a safe option.)

Perhaps, if you are young, you have a parent with a workplace that allows music in the lunchroom for entertainment. Ask!

The most important thing is to get experience performing in front of a live audience. It helps one deal with the inevitable (mostly) nerves. It is also informative: do you have the endurance to get through a work? (I played a solo in my senior year of high school and I’d never tried to get through the entire work without stopping. Turns out that between my nerves, the reed battle, playing band works right before the solo, and lack of experience I learned a painful lesson: I couldn’t play the entire piece without falling apart!)

Just some ideas for you … don’t just assume that “I play it perfectly at home!” is enough to guarantee you can play it well when you are in a performance.

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