How To Prepare For A Piano Recital

How To Prepare For A Piano Recital
Recitals are an exciting time to show off all of your hard work and share the beautiful gift of music with friends and family. The thought of performing in front of others can also turn you into a nervous wreck! Despite the hours spent taking piano lessons in Houston and practicing, there’s nothing quite like performing. Whether you live for the limelight or would rather remain in obscurity, here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for a piano recital.

Choose a piece that isn’t your most recent project

Many want to showcase the newest, most difficult piece they’ve learned to date at a recital, but this might lead to a rocky performance. Every time we practice, connections in the brain are formed. With a newer piece, these connections are not as strong as a piece that has been learned and reviewed for a longer period of time. This means there’s less chance for mistakes. Even if you feel you know a new piece quite well, when put under the pressure and distractions of a performance a more familiar piece will easily persevere.

To memorize or not to memorize?

When preparing for a recital, discuss with your Houston piano teacher early on if you will be performing from memory or not. This will help guide your practice and avoid any surprises leading up to your performance. If you are performing with music, make sure to bring it with you to the recital!

Dealing with performance anxiety

Performance anxiety is something most of us suffer from and can even be so intense that it’s debilitating. If you feel nervous just thinking about playing in front of an audience, try not to push that feeling away. Part of what makes performing so nerve wracking is that we aren’t used to actually feeling nervous and how our body reacts to it. If you can embrace those nervous jitters they will feel less foreign while on stage and you will be much more comfortable. We also tend to take shallow breaths and our hands get clammy. Practice taking some deep, steady breaths before you play and try to keep your hands warm right before the performance.

Practice in your concert attire

This may feel a little silly, but practice beforehand in what you plan to wear at the recital. Nothing is more distracting than fighting with your clothing while performing! When trying on clothes we hardly ever think to sit down, nevertheless pretend to play the piano. This will ensure that sleeves are comfortable, hems are at the correct length, and shoes don’t pinch or slip.

Record yourself

In the weeks leading up to the performance, record yourself and listen! Of course we are listening while we play, but we are also physically and mentally encumbered while playing. Listening to a recording will allow you to really hear how you play and let you pick up on things that may go unnoticed otherwise. Recording yourself also adds a little pressure to your practice session as you want to play your best to listen back to.

Have at least one trial performance

To avoid any hiccups in your performance, practice performing in front of family members or friends before the big day. This includes everything from walking up to the piano, taking bows, and playing through your piece. The more after you play in front of other people, the more comfortable you will be on stage.

Arrive early

Early does not mean right before the doors close. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to park, grab a program, find seats, and acquaint yourself with the venue. You may also want to have some time to play on an unfamiliar piano, especially if you normally practice on an electronic keyboard. This will also give you time to take some deep breaths and get into a focused headspace so you are not flustered from running late or showing up just in time. You’ve worked incredibly hard for this day so allow yourself more time than you think for getting ready and traveling so that you don’t feel rushed and add to those pre-performance jitters.
If you are interested in learning more about the piano or if you want to sign up for lessons, contact us! Our teachers come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your family!
By Tracy Gibler

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