Hello, everyone! It’s time for another joint post! Today, we will be divulging some performance do’s and don’ts we’ve learned over our years of performance. We’ve compiled our tips and tricks in a “before the performance” and “after the performance” format. We hope you enjoy reading our do’s and don’ts and we really hope you will learn from our mistakes!
Do: Prepare and work towards the concert. While you don’t want to be obsessed over it, it’s important to think forward to the concert and have someone listen to you before your performance and pretend that he or she is your audience. Or just make up an audience in your head. It’s surprisingly easy to do.
Do: Practice in your concert attire before the performance, especially if you’re wearing heels! Anecdote: at one of my last performances, I got so sick of my heels during a rehearsal that I took them off and went barefoot!
Do: Ok, I know this sounds weird, but don’t practice much the day before your performance. (Unless, of course, you just got the sheet music 2 days before the concert and are frantically cramming memorization. I’ve been in that predicament!) Play a board game with your family, browse Pinterest, get your mind off the performance.
Do: Get a good night’s sleep. I know this is one is pretty obvious, but seriously, a sharp brain is very important!
Do: Eat a light but protein-packed meal before your performance. The last thing you need is extra jitters while you’re on-stage!
Do: Go with the flow. Usually, going with the flow is the best thing to do when you arrive at the place of your performance. Chances are, your teacher, or whoever is in charge, will tell you what’s going on at the right time.
Do: Allow yourself to feel as nervous as you want. It’s just fine to be nervous, but if you maintain a calm outward aspect, you will soon find yourself calming down inside too.
Do: Display confidence. When you’re battling the concert nerves, there’s no better cure than confidence. Keep your head up and smile! Being confident in yourself and your preparation makes you perform much better.
Do: Smile. Not overly much, but a slight smile at the beginning and end of your performance is pleasing to your audience and calming to you.
Do: Perform pieces you love. If you don’t enjoy playing the piece in some way, you’re certainly not going to enjoy performing it. (That said, don’t immediately reject a potential performance piece – it may grow on you. It took me a good few weeks before I began to enjoy playing this piece, and now I love it.)
Do: Breathe steadily! A really bad habit of mine is to hold my breath when I’m on stage! “Nerves…nerves…what art thou doing to mine heart?”
Do: Start well and end strong. Most likely these are the moments your audience will remember and appreciate the most.
Do: Accept compliments. When someone compliments you on your performance, usually a simple “thank you” will do. For some reason, I tend to tell the compliment-giver why my performance wasn’t what I wanted. Chances are, he didn’t even notice the mistakes.
Now, for a few don’ts!
Don’t: Overthink the concert. It’s just one day in your life – not every thought has to be centered on your performance.
Don’t: Use lotion on concert-day. “It smells good! I should use some!” No. It’s the worst when performing. It’s not something that’s generally known, but lotion is no friend to a musician before a concert!
Don’t: Pretend you’re not nervous and wait until you’re on the stage to get stagefright. Let yourself be anxious! I’d be more worried if I’m not nervous leading up to a concert. It’s just fine to be nervous, but if you maintain a calm outward aspect, you will soon find yourself calming down inside too.
Don’t: Make a face when you make a mistake. Chances are, your audience won’t notice the mistake if it’s a tiny one. Bottom line is, it’s a rule of musical etiquette: don’t acknowledge your mistakes.
Don’t: Let your mind wander when you perform. This used to be quite a problem for me and it meant I wasn’t fully engaged in my piece. If your mind wanders, you’re thinking, Old hat, I’ve done this a thousand times already. Firstly, you shouldn’t have done this a thousand times – when practicing, you’re not performing your piece, you’re picking it apart. Secondly, your piece should be so engrossing and you should be so focused on playing it as well as you can that there’s no room in your mind for wandering.
Don’t: Dwell on mistakes during the concert, or after the concert! Dwelling on my mistakes during the concert usually makes me mess up more! And thinking about the “what if’s” of your performance, after it’s over, isn’t going to change things. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
~ Maggie and Cammi