The Practice of Practising: how musicians practise

I’m fascinated by the relationship that classical musicians have with their instruments; years spent in a solitary quest for musical perfection. I won a commission from Radio 3 to make this documentary on the subject of practise, it almost made me go back to my scales.

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Celebrated pianist Stephen Hough reflects on a life spent practising. Told through a series of intensive rehearsal sessions as he prepares for the first night of the Proms in 2013, Stephen gives an in-depth and frank account of the hard work, self-examination, isolation and forensic scrutiny required to turn a seemingly impossible collection of notes into an effortless and awe inspiring performance.

With contributions from fellow musicians including violinist Nicola Benedetti, mezzo soprano Joyce Di Donato and guitarist Julian Bream, The Practice of Practising also examines the firm but distant approach needed by parents of musical children, how singers push themselves past the emotional brink in rehearsal rather than on stage and what happens to the superstar instrumentalist in retirement, when the need to practice is no longer there.

Produced by Freya Hellier

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