Last Minute Recital Tips to Help Your Performance go Smoothly

by Cassie Winterhalter on December 11, 2014

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks

Our winter recitals will be here in two days! Wow. They always seem to sneak up on me each year. I feel we just resumed lessons after summer vacation. Where does the time go?

Anyway, I have performed so many times. Growing up I played in piano recitals, competitions, festivals, and master classes. For oboe I had band and orchestra concerts along with festivals and auditions. In college I had band concerts, rep class, and juries. Needless to say, I have been doing this in many different capacities for many years.

Today I want to share my top four tips to help your performance go smoothly.

First of all, if you missed it last week, I discussed the benefits of doing “practice recitals” to prepare for a performance. I highly suggest you read that first before you come back to this article.

Here are my recommendations:

#1: Get a good night’s rest

It’s very important to get plenty of high quality sleep the night before a big performance. Most people– especially children, function best when they are well rested. Spend some time reading or winding down before you go to bed, so when you do go to bed the sleep will be restful. Go to bed a little earlier than usual and allow yourself time to get more than enough sleep. If you are adequately rested, you will feel better, and I can guarantee will perform better.

#2: Eat large, protein filled meals and snacks on the recital day

While it’s so important to be well rested, it’s also so important to be well nourished. If your stomach is grumbling because you’re hungry, it will distract you from focusing on your piece as you perform it. I recommend eating a meal and/or snacks with protein so you’ll feel and stay full longer.

#3: Don’t rush

I personally feel more panicked and scatter brained when I am rushing around. When I allow myself plenty of time to get somewhere or accomplish something, I feel much more calm and at ease. Allow yourself plenty of time on the day of the recital to do the following:

  • Get ready

Be dressed and ready to go well in advance, so you won’t have to scramble. I always try to have my outfit including the shoes preselected, so I won’t need to worry about deciding what to wear the day of the recital.

  • Arrive

You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get a seat, go to the bathroom, warm-up, and look at the program to see when you’ll perform.

  • Try the piano/ warm-up

It’s very important to have some warm-up time on the recital piano before your performance. The piano will feel different than the one you have at home. Allowing yourself plenty of time to warm-up ensures you’ll have a much better performance.

And finally, along these same lines, I suggest that you:

  • Don’t jam the day with one activity after the next

This one is a personal preference. Recitals are a special occasion that happen at Winterhalter Music twice a year. Our students work very hard in the months and weeks leading up to the recital to prepare. The recital day is not the day to try to attend every gymnastics class, basketball game, and birthday party. I think limiting activities to just the recital or at minimum the recital and one other activity ensures not only that you’ll perform better, but also that the recital will feel more meaningful.

#4: Practice/ Warm-up the day of the recital

When I’m teaching students I find that they have a rough time with their piece if it’s the first time they’ve played the piece on a given day. Do not make your recital performance the first time you play through your piece that day. Spend some time practicing and warming up at home before you leave for the recital so you’ll be thoroughly warmed up before you have an audience listening to you.

If you want to read more recital related posts I’ve written, check them out here:

Enjoying Your Performance When You Feel Nervous
What to Expect if it’s your First Recital
Using Nerves to Fuel your Performance
How to Handle Last Minute Recital Nerves
6 Keys to Preparing for a Fantastic Recital Performance

Now I want to hear from you. Which tips above (or do you have your own) that have helped your kids or your students get the most out of their performances? Leave a comment below. Thanks so much for reading! If you haven’t already, subscribe to the newsletter list and “like us” on facebook. I hope to see many of you on Saturday!



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