7 Days and Counting…Your Last Week Leading up to an Important Performance!

7 Days and Counting…Your Last Week Leading up to an Important Performance! - image on https://musicmasterlab.com

Although your event is just around the next corner, the most important thing to remember is: Do not exhaust yourself in the last week before the recital! Try to stay healthy and happy. WHAT?? you ask? But I need to shred that passage. I have to go over and over and over again all those technical parts! Here’s what I have learned over the years: In that last week, you are not going to get that much better anyway. You may be able to tweak a few things, but 7 days before, your real “work” must be complete, and hopefully you have organized your practice time to have achieved this. It is a really good time to incorporate more mental mocks than actual physical ones.  Practice music virtually. Physical mock performances will tire you out. You do not want to be so tired that you feel sick of the music you are playing. Limit physical mock performances to one piece at a time or a half of a recital. Next day you can mock the other half. Very often people will get burned out in that last week before a performance. And burn out, both physical and mental, never equal a vibrant, joyful performance!

The five weeks prior to the performance week is when you need to practice the most. And, while incorporating mock auditions, for orchestral auditions I recommend playing the entire list , even if it is 30 – 40 minutes of music at one point during that last week.  For Recitals, same formula, just once play from beginning to end in that last week. You must know what it feels like playing so much music at once. It can happen on that day of an audition, and WILL happen for your Recital. You have to know your stamina, where your high and low of focus come and what your instrument is going to do.

The Day of the Performance

On the day of the performance, TRUST is your best friend. Trust in the extreme work you have put in. Don’t risk throwing a curve ball to yourself by mocking on that day. Trust, rest, eat well, and DELIVER. Your performance will just be recreating what you’ve been doing several times in preparation, with the added excitement and thrill of a real committee or audience thrown into the mix. So I’m not going to mock it that day, I’ve already done it.

If you have done your event training correctly and enough, the day of the concert should feel like any other day. I will do my usual warmup routine, concentrating on tone and technique. And then again, I will follow with the naughty list, hitting just the difficult spots that I will have to play, but under tempo and methodically. I never want to risk programming a mistake into my bank, especially on this all important day!

I do not rehearse or do run throughs on a performance day, unless it is absolutely necessary. I want to feel rested and fresh for the performance. I make sure that I eat properly and wisely.  My experience has taught me when and what to eat and drink, and those choices have either saved or destroyed me in the past.

Try to be as rested, joyous and happy as possible. You don’t want to exhaust yourself with worry, anxiety, and cramming. At that point, if you have prepared correctly, your work is done and it’s time to just share and enjoy.

Sharon Sparrow

Sharon Sparrow

Sharon Sparrow is a well known performer and author in the flute world. Besides serving as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s tenured Assistant Principal Flutist, she travels extensively giving seminars on her book, “6 Weeks to Finals”, the Complete Guide to Audition Success, winner of the 2016 NFA Best new publications award.