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Mendy Smith

Practicing for Performance

January 7, 2008 at 6:04 AM

My teacher made a very interesting suggestion regarding my practice routine, that was to practice as if it were a performance. With this competition coming up next week, playing a piece through without stopping, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, is paramount. In my practice sessions at home, if I make an error, I stop, work the measure several times, THEN continue. This simply cannot occur at the competition.

This problem came to light when my teacher "helped" me by getting ready to turn the page for me. This simple act of kindness threw me off so much, I ended up having to go back several measures to "get my groove back", and then turn the page for myself (with a glare at him from the corner of my eye to NOT help!).

After I completed my "performance", he brought up a very good point. If a simple page turner throws me off so completely, what is going to happen if any of the judges cough, talk to each other, or who knows what else? Will I be distracted to the point were I can no longer play through the piece? He suggested that during my practice time at home, I play as if I played in front of a large audience: people coughing, talking, getting up and walking around, babies crying, and any of a wide variety of other disturbances. THAT my dear is reality.

If a freight train runs through the concert hall, KEEP PLAYING!!!!

PS. I bought a baby grand piano today.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 7, 2008 at 12:13 PM
Yeah, this was something that the busking I did last summer was good for. I did get distracted at one point by two kids fighting and one of them being hauled away by their parents, but overall I managed to play with people coming and going, walking around, babies crying, and all that.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on January 8, 2008 at 8:16 AM
You're right, practicing performing is so important, especially for preparing for a competition. I definitely recommend playing through your piece like that every day, and even better, find an audience to play for, whether family, or friends, or even a tape recorder. You have to practice performing just like anything else you practice - vibrato, intonation, etc. etc. Good luck!
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 9, 2008 at 5:51 AM
few weeks back in small recital I was just letting the final note of the Swan die away (sounds silly on the violion anyway)when a mobile phone went off really loudly. The audience of about 100 was clearly embarassed so I mimed taking a phone out of my jacket and shouted into it `Moshi, moshi, Saint Seans desu.` (HELLO, HELLO, this is Saint Seans)
Apparnetly this was very funny.
From Laurie Trlak
Posted on January 9, 2008 at 5:01 PM
A number of years ago, I was giving a performance for our local historical society. A couple of late-comers straggled in in the middle of the performance, I got distracted, and the whole performance was ruined. What a mess, and an embarrassment! I have NEVER allowed myself to be distracted again!

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