Are You Practicing or Rehearsing? Pt I

What’s the difference between a practice and a rehearsal?

Imagine if a guitarist rolled up to a band practice, the songwriter has a new song to work on and the chord progressions are written down. Now it comes to the band to work on, fine tune, add various individual parts and maybe rewrite some parts. But wait…

“What’s this?” asks the guitarist.

“What’s what?” Asks the songwriter.

G – This symbol.
S – That’s a sharp.
G – And the ‘m’?

At this point some concerns may set in…

S – That means minor. You’re kidding, right?
G – And that seven? I play it seven times louder?
S – The chord is a C#m7. Not sure if…
G – How do I do that then?

The difference between a practice and a rehearsal is a measure of how serious someone is about what they are doing. A practice is what a person does to improve, a rehearsal is what they do to apply the skills learned through practice in the context of a performance environment. Practice is how you show your commitment.

There are two areas I think are very similar from a performance perspective but seem to be worlds apart on the surface – sport and music. One of them is an exertion of activity, the other mental. One involves pushing physical limits, while the other finding new creative paths. I will say that when performance time comes there are bands who turn their performance into a 10,000 calorie burning exercise, but this is not what they practice for.


Here are the three take aways for today:

1 – Consider where there is a lack in the team or group. Learn the skill to fill the gap. You’ll improve yourself and make yourself more valuable to your team.

2 – Don’t quit when you reach a level of competency. Keep going beyond competent and become the expert.

3 – Set goals, and then set future goals. So often failure follows success because the goal has been met and there is no follow up plan.

If there is something you can work on alone, practice it and then take it to rehearsal to see how it can work to improve the team or group. Don’t wait until a skill is needed, bring the solution before the problem arises. The worst case scenario is that you improve yourself, and that is never a bad thing.

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Picture credit: Personal picture of the ridiculously talented Jonny Ifergan of The Kickback.


Categories: Development, Goals, Performance, Sport

3 replies


  1. Hope Is What Athletes Call Mental Toughness – PsychSpot
  2. Coaching From The Sidelines – PsychSpot
  3. Are You Practicing Or Rehearsing? Pt II – PsychSpot

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