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How To Improve Your Performance Skills On Your Instrument


By Matti Carter



Perform In Front Of Friends/ Family


This is a great way to practice and improve your performance skills. You will get direct (and often honest) feedback from people who are not necessarily musicians. If these people are not musicians, don’t take the feedback too literally. Understand that this is the opinion of a regular non-musician.


Get Critique From Your Music Teachers


Your teacher will generally have more experience performing than you do so listen to what they are saying carefully. If your teacher is good, he/she will be able to instantly point out your problems and start working with you to fix them. Hearing the perspective of more than just one teacher will help you see things form different angles.


Record Audio Or Video


These are powerful ways to analyse and improve your performance. It is difficult to judge your own playing, but if you get a chance to review it by listening to it, or better yet seeing it on video, you may notice things that you didn’t realise before. Recording your own playing allows you to review it as if you were a member of the audience.


Attend A Performance Related Master Class


There are special masterclasses dedicated to performing, which you may want to consider attending. These classes may be expensive, but well worth your time. Some master classes may have a skill level requirement, others may be suitable for all levels. I definitely recommend trying this even if you are already advanced, because you may learn things that you could never imagine.


Get More Experience Performing


To gain more experience from gigs is the most obvious and probably one of the best ways to improve your performance skills. The best way to learn something is by doing, so make sure you are performing as much as you can.


Try New Things Live


Don’t always perform the same songs. Try performing in a different way, and find out how the audience reacts. You may want to try playing new songs, or playing a song that you are very familiar with in a completely different way. Change your set list order or your performance routine, and see how that effects the performance. If you haven’t spent a lot of time planning your performances in the past, maybe you could start planning them more specifically.


© Matti Carter 2023


About The Author


Matti Carter is a professional musician based in Helsinki, Finland. He composes, teaches and writes instructional materials. If you want to listen to his music or find out more, feel free to contact him.

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