December 11, 2011 at 5:52 AMSo tomorrow, I'm playing a sold-out concert (in orchestra), for which we had a about 5 hours of rehearsal. So I thought this would be a good time to touch on my Game/Day Performance Day routine and how I apply them to performance.
From a sports point of view, before a competition the following things are most important to me:
==getting enough sleep the night before==
This means 9 hours for me but I usually just listen to my body.
==packing/wearing the right clothing==
In sports, this means staying warm and keeping muscles loose until right before the start. On concert days, will still pack layers, but most important, I always wear gloves when I'm playing to keep my hands warm and nimble. Glenn Gould did the same thing.
==eating right to make sure my blood sugar stays even==
A good breakfast with protein is mandatory. I stay away from caffein though, since it make me jittery. Most of us know what it feels like when blood sugar drops, and our bodies slow down. But when our blood sugar spikes, our body has to expend extra energy to make insulin to store the extra sugar that process leaves us with less energy than we originally started with.
==proper warm up before the start==
I like to warm up with scales and excerpts for an hour, take a 30 min break to do last min-prep and stretch lightly before the concert and be backstage/onstage warming up for another 30min before the concert.
==keeping my mental focus/visualizing the race==
I like to visualize/walk though my race course before I run, for performances, I just listen to the recordings repeatedly and follow along with the score if I have it in front of me.
==keeping my eyes fresh==
I'm extremely near-sighted so and my eyes get tired regardless of whether I'm in glasses or contacts. Generally, eyes get tired because when we're reading because our corneas are locked into one position while we focus at a specific depth. Changing the depth of focus can feel lighter on your eyes so I will often switch between glasses to contacts and vice versa. If you've practiced in contacts before, you'll probably already have a good handle on whether how long it takes before your eyes de-oxygenate and get blurry in contacts. Also when my glasses are off, my eyes are completely relaxed, so on concert day, I wear glasses while warming up, and take my glasses off whenever possible to keep my eyes rested and then just put in my contacts before the concert.
Depending on how nervous you are before a performance, you could do anything from light exercise, to meditation to breathing exercises. They key for me is always to time it so that I'm not rushing before I get onstage.
So I hope this helps. Time for me to get some rest.
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