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Pre-Performance Strategies

diabolusmusikdiabolusmusik 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited December 2010 in Music Major
This post may be a little pointless, but I feel compelled to ask.

I am an undergrad in Music Ed, instrumental track. I've not be studying music long (five years), but my determination is getting me places, as it will with anyone. However, I am still somewhat of a newb regarding some aspects of the life.

My first ever jury recital is tomorrow morning. I am confident about the material, have it all memorised and such. My private instructor is confident as well. The thing is, I am unsure if I should "take it easy" on the practice today or not (besides, it is rather late to be changing or improving anything else at this point...so would actual practice even be of benefit?) I typically get 4 hours of quality practice on my instrument a day (not counting simple fooling around or ensemble stuff), with one day of a lighter load per week. I've already done an hour this morning, inspired out of habit and nerves.

I keep hearing conflicting ideas about what is best in these situations. One school of thought is determined that time on the instrument should be cut down dramatically the day before a performance, so the music/mind/body is "fresh". For past performances/auditions I have tried this, but I am unsure if there was any concrete difference in my playing because of it.

So, instead of talking in circles here, I should cut to the point -- music students, parents of music students...what do you think? I know it is different for everybody, but I can't help but sit here feeling like I need to be playing *something*...but also torn about it somehow adversely effecting me early tomorrow. In any event, slow scales won't hurt anything...but, I am still conflicted! Ah, the joy of overthinking things.
edited December 2010
7 replies
Post edited by diabolusmusik on
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Replies to: Pre-Performance Strategies

  • BassDadBassDad 5330 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Listen to what you are telling yourself. If you think you should be playing *something*, then you probably should. Slow scales are a good place to start, but be careful because it is easy to bliss out and find that you have spent an hour or two that could have been used more productively.

    Think about logistics. Be certain of where and when you need to be present. If anyone else is involved, for example an accompanist or duet partner, make sure they know where and when. Think about who will be in the room when you enter and how you will present yourself to them. If you are allowed to speak and plan to do so, practice what you will say in front of a mirror.

    Practice transitions. Think about the spaces between notes and be extra careful not to rush rests. That is one of the easiest mistakes to make when you are nervous. Remember to breathe - the music demands it.
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  • diabolusmusikdiabolusmusik 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thank you BassDad, your reply has helped me center myself. You are correct, and obviously I should listen to what I am saying. I think I shall go put your suggestions in motion!
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  • xoxtinysingerxoxxoxtinysingerxox 155 replies38 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    I know this is a little late, but for the future: as long as you put in the time in the practice rooms, you'll have nothing to worry about. If you know your pieces and translations backwards, forwards and upside down, then you should have nothing to worry about. Nothing like being prepared to kill the nerves.
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  • binxbinx 4229 replies89 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    I think this is something you will personally have to tweak as the years go by. My son finished grad school last spring, and has more than a few auditions under his belt. Over the years, he's made mistakes of playing too much, playing too little, playing too close to audition time, playing after a day or two of traveling without any practicing, warming up too long, or not long enough. Being too confident. Being too nervous. Each time he learns a little bit more about himself and what he feels comfortable with.

    Bassdad's comment about logistics is important, too. If the audition is at school, and you're there already, and so is your instrument, then that's easier. But if you have to account for traveling time, finding a practice room, allowing your instrument to adjust to temperature changes - all these things need to be thought through.

    The one thing an audition committee never wants to hear is excuses.
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  • violindadviolindad 922 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 933 Member
    The amount of practice time prior to a big day (i.e. jury, big audition, big performance) will vary depending on your instrument and your practicing style and personality type, so there is not one size that fits all.

    For physically demanding instruments (i.e. those instruments such as voice and brass in which the performer tires easily), usually one reduces the amount of practice during the two or three days leading up to the big day. Vocalists, in particular, usually cut back prior to a performance to preserve the voice and ensure that it is not at all tired.

    During the week prior to a performance, some musicians spend 80% of their practice time on their performance repertoire at a considerably slower tempo (e.g. taking stuff that they normally perform at mm=144 at mm=108). This allows them to attain absolute control, spend time with the rep, and yet maintain the freshness, because at full tempo, it is much easier to express oneself. As well, playing at such a slow tempo almost always reveals any weaknesses in memory--you can't rely on muscle memory at the slow tempo and you have plenty of time to think or let the mind wander!

    Ultimately, the amount of time one practices during the couple of days prior to the big day is unlikely to have any direct effect on the quality of the performance. What will have the bigger effect is the space that one's head is in. If practicing lots helps you get into that right space, then it is right for you. If reducing the practice helps, then reduce.
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  • violadadvioladad 6351 replies294 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
  • binxbinx 4229 replies89 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,318 Senior Member
    violadad wrote:
    A bit late

    We're gonna have to dock your pay.
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