Three Essential Practice Tips for Peak Performance

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Recital season is almost upon us: time to polish those pieces, and prepare to take the stage with confidence!

Heather Riley, Piano Department Chair and facilitator of Indian Hill’s Piano Performance Workshops, offers three simple yet essential tips, so that students at any level (and on any instrument) can prepare for peak performance!

1)  Practice performing. Create mock performances for family, friends, or record yourself. Play your music in lots of different settings: home, school, your lesson, and on a stage. The more you practice performing, the better you’ll get at playing your piece confidently when you’re in the spotlight!

2)  Focus on the details. Your performance practice should include all the things you’ll do in a real performance: walking on and off the stage, bowing, adjusting the bench, breathing & preparing, playing without stopping, bowing, and walking again. These are things we don’t always do in everyday practice, so it’s easy to forget or feel insecure about doing them on stage. Make it a point to practice a few times in the concert attire you’ll wear for the real performance. Practicing everything exactly like a real performance will ensure that you look your best AND feel your best from the second you step in front of an audience!

3)  Test your memory. Our focus and concentration really get put to the test when we’re under pressure. To make sure that your memorization of the music is secure, create memory tests in the weeks before the performance:  test hands alone from memory; divide your music into sections and memorize important “landmarks” or “starting points” that you can aim for or jump to if you get lost. Ask another person to attempt to distract you while you play, and see if you can keep playing no matter what!  There are lots of other memory strategies you can try …

Come to the Piano Performance Workshops to learn more about these useful skills, plus many other powerful performance tips! The next workshop is Saturday, December 6. IHM Students and non-students are welcome! HM STUDENTS: $10 per session, $54 for 6 sessions (fall), $70 for 8 sessions (spring). NON-IHM STUDENTS: $14 per session. To Register: Call (978.486.9524) or visit the Music School Office.

 

 

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