V.com weekend vote: Eat a meal before or after the concert?

January 18, 2019, 8:01 PM · Do you like to eat a meal before or after playing a concert?

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When I was in college, our conductor would always tell us, "Now go have a big meal before the concert!" Certainly it can work to play on a full belly, but I'm not sure if that works for everyone. For some, it makes sense to have a snack before the concert, but have the actual "big meal" afterwards.

Then there is the question of what exactly to eat before performing? Some time ago, my favorite thing to eat before a concert was a Subway sandwich; somehow it seemed like uncomplicated food. A banana works pretty well before a concert, and many feel that the humble banana has calming properties. I feel like the conductor mentioned above probably would enjoy a big steak dinner before a concert!

Do you have a little snack before the concert and save the meal until after? Or do you need a nice meal and a full belly to play? Please respond to the vote with when you would eat a main meal, and also in the comments share your thoughts about what you like to eat before a concert, what works best, and also what does not work.

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Replies

January 19, 2019 at 03:08 AM · I'd really love a good platter of sushi before my performances, but I never get the chance...

It's too hectic. I usually end up going on on an empty stomach (not feeling it because of the adrenaline) and then eating like a horse immediately afterwards.

January 19, 2019 at 04:10 AM · At Meadowmount, it was easy to tell who ate a big dinner before performing. Rarely played their best. Eat just enough that you won’t be hungry, and do it 2 hours before you play. A banana closer to tee time seems to be safe. Practice the way you’ll perform, including food and drink, and you’ll know what to expect.

January 19, 2019 at 04:40 AM · Our community orchestra always has a "pre-concert" at a local retirement center, during the week before our main spring or fall concert. Afterward we go to a Mexican restaurant. It's not a huge orchestra (strings only, and small at that) but last time we had to pull tables together for 19 people.

I don't like to feel full while I'm playing -- that has kind of a soporific effect on me. It's hard to imagine playing after having a huge burger and fries and washing that down with a few beers.

But a snack is okay. I've learned which kinds of foods and snacks are not good to have before performing, such as those with little crumbs that tend to make me cough (certain kinds of bread and cookies -- and peanuts -- do this to me).

January 19, 2019 at 05:21 AM · I only eat before or after a concert if I'm hungry or it it happens to be lunch or dinner time.

January 19, 2019 at 07:54 AM · I can't function on an empty stomach, but the real partying/eating happens after the concert.

January 19, 2019 at 08:41 AM · Where is the option "before AND after"? ))))

January 19, 2019 at 10:33 AM · For me I definitely have to eat a huge meal before. Helps to calm me down and slow everything down.

January 19, 2019 at 01:13 PM · My nerves always get the better of me before the concert, so at most I can only eat a banana or piece of toast.

January 19, 2019 at 02:33 PM · In my student years, the main meal was before. Re concerts: I haven't done orchestra since 21 y/o; but the question of before or after still applies -- e.g., for small-chamber sessions or solo practice. I follow the same plan as before, plus a small post-session fuel boost. This way, I'm not running on "empty" for my last waking hours.

This plan lines up with two steps I had drilled into me years ago when I started training with barbells and dumbbells:

1. Pre-exercise protein shake 1 hour before working out. FWIW: I mix my own recipe -- about 650 calories.

2. Post-workout shake within 1 hour after session -- mine is about 200 calories.

BTW, I like to get the last full meal of the day into the system 3-4 hours before bedtime. This gives the digestive system time to work. After a full meal, I don't do any strenuous activity right away -- like intense playing or even a brisk walk. I let the digestive system do its work first -- 30-60 minutes.

January 19, 2019 at 03:29 PM · Whenever performing, no matter what the medium, I have always been too wound up to eat anything.

Now, I don't really know if it's this way with musicians, but when I was an actor, I'd find eating before a performance made me a bit sluggish, and I wanted to be sharp and focused.

These days, when I play in student recitals along with the other kids (I'm almost 70 the rest of the performers are anywhere from 3 to a couple of people in their 20's. From where I'm sitting they are all kids.) I always want to be in the first half of the recital so I can dig into the treats at intermission.

January 19, 2019 at 05:30 PM · That's why I don't eat a lot beforehand, really. I'm too nervous.

January 19, 2019 at 10:06 PM · I also can't function on an empty stomach, so I'll only eat before or after a cocnert if I'm hungry or it's mealtime.

January 19, 2019 at 10:51 PM · Yup, i’m In the light nourishment before hand and real meal after camp. But usually nothing directly before except perhaps some water to wet my whistle. Sone hours before is ok for sustenance, but if i’m Starved right before, it’s still better for me to have a lot of restraint. Digestion is a lot of work for my system, and nerves throw another sluggish wrench into it.

January 19, 2019 at 11:16 PM · If I'm playing the cello - I don't want anything in my stomach - to much pressure from my cello on the outside of it!

Violin or viola - probably doesn't matter - but I don't by force of habit.

January 20, 2019 at 12:01 AM · Dinner before the concert but not too heavy.

I don't want to eat after a concert--correction, I DO want to eat but it is better not to--too late at night and messes up my metabolism.

January 20, 2019 at 12:53 AM · I usually have a light snack and a cup of coffee or tea before the concert and a meal after. Same for evening rehearsals. I find that I'm a bit sluggish and much more mistake-prone when playing on a full stomach. Eating late at night doesn't bother me that much, I've always been a night owl and rarely sleep before 2 am to begin with.

January 20, 2019 at 07:28 AM · I also prefer a light snack (bananas have been mentioned) before and a meal after. I also avoid meals before lessons: A full belly makes me tired and lacking in concentration and, same as Andrew Hsieh, more mistake-prone.

January 20, 2019 at 01:22 PM · I have a light dinner, usually a yogurt and some protein, plus a cup of coffee...a real necessity before a concert. Afterwards, I have another snack.

January 20, 2019 at 09:39 PM · Always after. I get nervous. I wouldn't want the meal to go to waste. I may do something like tea, water, etc.

January 21, 2019 at 01:03 AM · I like to eat some healthy protein a couple of hours before a concert. Fish, rice and a salad feels light but hearty enough so I don't get tired by the 2nd half.

January 21, 2019 at 06:08 AM · A long time before the concert, when I need to focus it is better for me to eat nothing. I just need one of my favourite green teas to drink. And sometimes I made a "sin" and ate after the concert, but just in cases when I feel exhausted.

January 22, 2019 at 09:55 PM · I wouldn't want to eat a big meal just before a concert, but given that most concerts start at 8 p.m. I need to have something. Having a decent meal by 6 gives me two hours to digest.

I still like to deal with the post-concert high by going out with a few people for a beer afterwards...

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