This is the fourth and final of mini series aimed at assisting those new to performance or returning to performance after a period away. This one looks at the performance day itself, and top tips for making sure it all goes alright on the night.
A bit like a 100m sprinter at the Olympics, in comparison with the HOOOGE amount of time you will have put into preparing for your performance, the amount of time the performance will last is actually very small. It’ll be over before you even know it’s started!
When you’re on the stage, or performance area, things do have a tendancy to feel like they’re going super sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwly. You may even feel the urge to “just get on with it”. My recommendation is to supress that urge and do everything very deliberately and very slowly. Doing this also helps counteract some of the effects of adrenalin in the body and make you feel more in control.
Acknowledging your audience
Be sure to do this at bothe the start and end of your performance. It doesn’t have to be a full formal bow, but a dip of the head shows repsect to your audience and that you thank them for taking the time to come and see you perform. After walking out onto the stage or performance area, or when finished follow these steps:
- Smile at the audience
- Dip your head/ bow
- Remembering to do everything nice and slowly and deliberately, count to three before coming back up
Take as long as you need to tune up. Don’t panic and think to yourself that it’s taking ages; it probably isn’t. It’s far better to get the tuning right and settled before starting. Playing out of tune is not going to sound great for the audience and can be a little off-putting for you too.
I recommend doing your main tune up before going onto the stage and then just doing a final check tune up on the stage. When doing your final check tune up on stage, do it nice and quietly; obviously audibly enough for you to hear. A tuner with piezo pick-up on the headstock can help with this.
On the stage
Make sure that your chair or stool and stand are positioned how you would prefer them.
Before you start playing, make sure you sing through the opening few bars or phrase. This sets in the brain what you intend the music to sound like when you start playing. Similarly, have in your mind’s ear the sound quality of the first notes you will play.
One thing that helps me counter nerves and settles me into the performance is talking a little with the audience beforehand. Thanking them, telling them a little about yourself and what you’re about to play.
Play a little bit slower than you perhaps normally would. The adrenaline in your body does have a tendancy to make your movements a little faster. So in the same principle as outlined above, playing just a tiny, wee bit slower will help to counter its effects.
Maintain the sense of atmosphere if you are playing more than one piece or a piece with a number of movements.
As I’ve said in a previous blog post, one mistake (or even two or more) does not make a bad performance! If you’ve made a mistake, so what?! The moment has passed – let it go and focus on making excellent music for the remainder of the piece.
Most importantly: Relax and have fun!
Your performance consists of everything from the moment you step on to the stage to the moment you leave it. Make it all count, but most of all enjoy it. This is your moment.