By: Ben Fraser
Preparing for and performing in recitals can be difficult, scary, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time. They are a great opportunity for us to share our skills in front of our friends, family, and fellow musicians. Also, becoming comfortable performing in front of a large audience is an extremely valuable skill. A skill that can only be obtained by putting ourselves on stage. Recitals are an integral part of a musician’s development and should be regarded with the utmost importance.
Choosing the right repertoire for a recital is a vital first step. Not only should we pick something that we can master in time, but we should give ourselves a moderate challenge. This will make practice more entertaining and the performance will be more satisfying. After perfecting the notes and rhythms in our pieces, we can work with our instructors to improve on aspects like musicality, dynamics, and balance. These aspects will transform a good performance into a superior performance. Working with a metronome is also key during preparation. We can start at a comfortable tempo, and slowly increase it until it is at performance speed. This process will also increase our muscle memory, which will prove useful during our recitals.
It is paramount to get a good night’s rest before a recital. This will ensure that we are able to remain focused and calm on stage. Eating well before performing is also a must. We need proper nutrition to perform at our very best. It can also prevent us from shaking or feeling unwell during our performance. Our arrival to the location of the recital should be as early as possible to avoid any feelings of being rushed or pressed for time. This way we have plenty of time to become comfortable with the venue. When it is finally time to perform, it is important that we take a deep breath and relax.
Playing or singing the first few measures in our head can be helpful. Once we have imagined the piece at performance tempo, it is time to count ourselves in. We should shift our focus away from the audience and towards our repertoire. This will help prevent our mind from wandering and minimize any lapses in attention. Even after a small mistake, it is best to continue onward as if it never happened. It is likely that most listeners will not notice a mistake if the performer quickly moves on. Once we have finished our performance, we should smile and take a bow because we have accomplished something great. From preparing to performing, recitals are an excellent way to build discipline and motivate us to become the best musicians we can be.