Have the Best Performance of Your Life!
So you’ve practiced like a pro and mastered your mental powers. What now? How are you going to make all that preparation pay off in your performance? If recital day is on its way, here are some tips to help you shine like a superstar on your big day.
PERFORMANCE POWER III
Concert Day and How to Nail Your Performance
Take a deep breath. It turns out that nobody has ever actually died from a musical performance. Well . . . that’s not quite true—there was that time that Jean Baptiste Lully stabbed his foot with his baton and got gangrene—but the odds against it are astronomical.
So what’s the worst that’s likely to happen to you? Well, you might hit a wrong note. You might get so pianissimo in that middle section that one of the notes doesn’t play. You might run out of air in the middle of a melisma. You might break a string. But guess what? All of these have happened to professional musicians on stage, and they got through them just fine. If you follow our tips, chances are that your audience will never even notice. So just relax!
Suppose you forget where you are in the middle of your music? Legend has it that Louis Armstrong did the same thing during a recording session. Yikes! But you know what he did? He made up some nonsense words and just kept on going. He did it with so much flair that other artists started imitating him, and voila! Scat singing was born.
If you lose your place or freeze up, you can do one of two things—either jump to a section you’re sure of (try not to miss a beat), or throw in a bit of improvisation until you get back on track. Most musicians tend to favor one or the other of these strategies, but it doesn’t really matter which you choose. Just make sure you don’t tip your audience off by stopping. You’re a musician, and the show must go on!
Perfect Your Poker Face
Have you ever hit a minor chord when it was totally supposed to be major? Cracked your voice right on that high note? Run out of breath in the middle of a trill? No matter how strong the urge to plaster the grimace inside your soul all over your face, smile! Of course you meant to play that note—too bad the composer didn’t think of it! You were just interpreting the music. Rock on with confidence to the end, no matter what happens. And when you’re done playing, send that million-dollar grin to the corners of the concert hall. The audience will remember your confidence long after they have forgotten the F# that was supposed to be a G in 22nd line, 4th bar. We promise.
Make the Last Note Count
Never underestimate the power of strong finish. No matter what has happened before, stick your landing like a gymnast! And most of the time it doesn’t hurt to hold it out either. Does your song end on a half note? Make it a whole. End on a whole note? Hold it for a couple of measures. If you’re a pianist or string player, wait until the sound dies out before you stand to take your bow. If you’re a singer, brass, or woodwind player, keep your breath flowing right to the end. And once the sound has died, pull out your flashiest smile and pair it with your flashiest bow. At the end of the show, you want your audience to be thinking about what a superstar you are. And guess what? As long as you look the part, they’re totally going to!
Now Get Out There!
That’s it! Whether you’re playing in one of our upcoming recitals at the Ruby Schulman Theater on March 9 or Greene Music on March16, or if you’ve been invited to play at our Honors Recital at Fullerton Public Library on May 19, or whatever other performance adventure you are preparing for, you’re ready! We’ll always be here cheering you on. Now get out there and rock your recital!