This is the fourth article in a series on How to get better at scratching by using the Learning Zone vs Performance Zone.
Here are the previous articles so you can get up to speed:
- How to Get Better at Scratching – Learning Zone vs Performance Zone
- Scratching: Learning Zone Ideas
- Scratch Learning Zone: Deliberate Practice
I recommend checking the above articles in the series before you read any further, so you have the full context, and to get the very most from the knowledge below.
We previously talked about how the Learning Zone can help us improve our scratching. Today we will look at the value of the Performance Zone.
I am using the framework outlined in the previous three articles which is based on the TED talk “How to get better at the things you care about” by Eduardo Briceño.
We previously looked at what happens where we are working hard at scratching but not improving much because we’re always in the Performance Zone.
Now let’s look at the value of the Performance Zone and how you can use it to make progress with your scratching.
Performance zone value.
In his TED talk, Eduardo Briceño describes the value of the performance zone:
- Now, this is not to say that the performance zone has no value. It very much does. When I needed a knee surgery, I didn’t tell the surgeon, “Poke around in there and focus on what you don’t know, we’ll learn from your mistakes!” I looked for a surgeon who I felt would do a good job, and I wanted her to do a good job.
- Being in the performance zone allows us to get things done as best as we can.
- It can also be motivating.
- It provides us with information to identify what to focus on next when we go back to the learning zone.
- The way to high performance is to:
- alternate between the learning zone and the performance zone,
- purposefully building our skills in the learning zone,
- then applying those skills in the performance zone.
Beyoncé on tour example.
- The Beyoncé is on tour example:
- during the concert, she’s in her performance zone
- every night when she gets back to the hotel room, she goes right back into her learning zone.
- She watches a video of the show that just ended.
- She identifies opportunities for improvement, for herself, her dancers and her camera staff.
- The next morning, everyone receives pages of notes with what to adjust, which they then work on during the day before the next performance.
- It’s a spiral to ever-increasing capabilities, but we need to know:
- when we seek to learn,
- when we seek to perform,
- and while we want to spend time doing both, the more time we spend in the learning zone, the more we’ll improve.
What is the Performance Zone in scratching?
A “scratch performance” for you might mean freestyling – it doesn’t necessarily have to mean performing live in a club or other venue. It could be performing a freestyle, just for you. It could be you recording your scratching to share on youtube or instagram. It could be you recording scratching for an artists album. It does not have to be a public performance.
The Performance Zone in scratching looks like:
- Scratching as best we possibly can.
- Performing our best scratches and executing them as best we can over a beat.
- Performing the scratches we have already mastered or feel comfortable with.
- Trying not to make mistakes. Often we get frustrated when we “mess up” our scratch flow.
- Freestyling or jamming.
How you can use the performance zone to improve your scratching
- When you are done practicing deliberately, move over to the performance zone.
- Perform! For example a freestyle.
- If possible, record a video or audio of yourself performing.
- Watch it back.
- Identify opportunities for improvement. For example:
- How well executed or clean were your scratches?
- Did you use one scratch way more than others?
- How in time / out of time were you?
- Did you struggle to link scratches together?
- Did you sound repetitive or only use a few scratches?
- Bring all of those opportunities back into to deliberate practice. You might work on your timing around a certain scratch, or being able to move from one scratch into another, or working on the variety of scratches you use.
If you want to dive in a little deeper I have another article here: why video recording your scratching can help you improve.
Now we have explored the value of the Performance Zone, you can see how to use it to inform your deliberate practice sessions, so you can make even more progress.
Yay for both the Learning Zone and the Performance Zone!