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Login Forums Beyond Practicing Forum What would you suggest focusing on to make a difference in a short time? Reply To: What would you suggest focusing on to make a difference in a short time?

  • Noa Kageyama

    November 23, 2016 at 10:24 am

    To some degree it depends on your profile, and what the lower scores suggest, but generally speaking, there are a couple things I’d suggest.

    One, with a week to go, practice performing – a lot. Meaning, practice walking on stage (or some simulated version in your living room), smiling, bowing, tuning, etc. whatever you would do in a real performance situation and even practicing what you plan on thinking about as you walk out on stage. Then performing, just as you would, trying to play your very best, not keeping score in your head about what went well and what went poorly, but just keeping your mind focused on the music (some ideas are in the focus lesson), and not stopping no matter what. The bow, walk off stage, etc. All to practice doing exactly what you plan on doing at the performance itself. You can even have a friend or two deliberately try to throw you off your game and distract you, whether it’s turning on the TV, heckling you, or tapping their feet to a different rhythm, etc. But your goal at this point is to get better at performing the whole piece/program, just like the best thing to do when preparing for a big test is to take practice tests, not to study more.

    Visualization can also be helpful (in the confidence lesson), where your goal is to practice “pre-experiencing” exactly what you want. Because if you can play through your repertoire in your head, away from the instrument, it’s a good sign that you know your music pretty well.

    The other thing to do would be to explore a bit of centering (lesson 1) – but to keep it simple. Focus mostly on having a clear intention, being able to release tension and slow down your thoughts/heart beat with some nice, slow, deep breathing, and being able to have a good process cue as well – i.e. being able to remind yourself what it feels like physically when you’re having a good day.

    Lastly, rather than trying to fight the nerves or trying to convince yourself to calm down, simply say “I’m excited” as you get ready to perform, and even throughout the day of the performance. Studies suggest that attributing your physical reaction to being excited, leads to better performances. Seems sort of trivial and simple, but it all helps. Good luck with your performance – let me know how it goes!

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