“Ah, music ... A magic beyond all we do here!”
- from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling.
Performing music CAN be a magical experience.
A great performance has the magical power to change how we think and feel.
It lets us travel through time and space ... speak other languages ...
experience feelings, ideas, colors, images and dreams that remind us of real life, or an imaginary world.
But, performing WELL is not a magic trick!
It's not random, not based on talent, or having a lucky moment.
And it's more than just playing the right notes, or showing flashy technical skills.
Performing well - and creating magical moments -
requires preparation, strategy, and experience.
Performing also helps us develop skills that are valuable in many other areas of life, including:
Concentration & Focus
Poise & Confidence
Expressing oneself clearly
Self-awareness and empathy
Students are given many performance opportunities throughout the year to develop these skills and give deeper focus to our weekly lessons, including:
Small, informal piano parties
Workshops & masterclasses
Certificate programs, like The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program.
TOP 3 TIPS:
1) Practice performing. You might practice your music every day, but - do you practice performing?
It's a different mindset! Start with mock performances for family and friends, or record yourself. Play your music in lots of different settings: home, school, your lesson, and on a stage. The goal is to learn about yourself when you're under pressure or in front of people:
Do you panic, with a fight-flight-freeze response?
Do you stumble and react with "fix-it" mode, like you're practicing at home?
Do you feel really intense adrenaline, that makes it hard to concentrate?
When you learn about how you feel under pressure, you can learn strategies to have a better performance, and learn to trust yourself!
2) Focus on the details. Your performance practice should include all the things you’ll do in a real performance: walking on and off the stage, bowing, adjusting the bench, breathing & preparing, playing without stopping, bowing, and walking again. These are things we don’t always do in everyday practice, so it’s easy to forget or feel insecure about doing them on stage. Make it a point to practice a few times in the concert attire you’ll wear for the real performance. Practicing everything exactly like a real performance will ensure that you look your best AND feel your best from the second you step in front of an audience!
3) Test your memory. Our focus and concentration really get a work out when we’re under pressure. To make sure that your memorization of the music is secure, create memory tests in the weeks before the performance: test hands alone from memory; divide your music into sections and memorize important “landmarks” or “starting points” that you can aim for or jump to if you get lost. Ask another person to attempt to distract you while you play, and see if you can keep playing no matter what! Spend some time visualizing your music and yourself playing - can you see, hear, and feel the music in detail? The more you test yourself, the more confident you'll be that you can trust yourself under pressure. There are many other memory strategies to try … learn more in my Piano Performance Workshops!