The preparation that is done in the last week before a recital or concert is critical to a successful performance. Following are key points:
1. Listen to the recording as much as possible.
Notice when the volume is right so that you are able to hear the music clearly without it being to loud or soft. This way you can make the best environment for listening to many repetitions. If you have more than one child performing, you can make a playlist with the pieces and then use the repeat option. On the week before the recital play only this piece or pieces continuously in the house, in the car, even with headphones backstage before going onstage.
2. In practicing the last week before the recital, affirm each part that is done well in order to build confidence.
3. Notice when the tone is really clear and ringing. Focus on the tone as much as possible without too many instructions, so that the child can internalize what they have learned.
4. Focus the process of practice:
- Practice the beginning and the ending many times.
- Practice hands separate in a slow tempo, and also in performance tempo.
- Continue all spot and part/phrase practice focusing on the most important points.
- Practice hands together slowly, as well as some in performance tempo practice. It is especially good to practice smaller sections and focus on particular sections that need attention.
5. It is also good to have a performance practice time (in concert dress) one or two times in the week before the performance, but not on the concert day. At these times have your child (student) practice the exact procedure of the performance. This includes walking on stage, bowing, getting ready, playing through the piece without stopping, finishing well, bowing, and walking off stage.
6. On the day of the recital, please practice with good concentration in the same way that is done every other day: hands separate, slow hands together, spot the opening, the ending, and other assigned spots. Do not play hands together in a fast tempo straight through the piece – this can make the piece get worse! If the child makes a mistake while playing in tempo hands together on the day of the recital, it can inadvertently happen again in their performance. So, it is a good time for lots of listening, rest, and hands separate spot/part practice. You can think of the hands separate and spot repetitions (skill development) as savings in an account to “spend” at the recital.
7. Be well rested and have appropriate concert dress, and arrive early to the recital. On the day of the recital of concert do not plan any other activities. It takes a lot of energy to perform well and rest is very important. Please be sure that your child is dressed in concert attire that is formal. For girls, this means dress length is at or below the knee. This way they can have good balance and use the pedal easily. Please make sure the shoes are appropriate for walking on stage and pedaling – no flip flops, and check for the best height. For boys this means they can move freely in a jacket, and shirts sleeves are not too long to get in the way of the hand and arm movement. Additionally, please have them wear dress shoes.
It is important to allow the child to be prepared physically, and also emotionally. If the child has time to relax as well as to practice, and additionally has enough time to dress, and drive to the location without any hurry they will be able to perform with confidence and concentration. Therefore, balance practice with preparation, free time and rest.
Please recognize that the recital preparation is the key to a successful performance.