by: Konner Scott
Just recently, Highland Music Studio had our Winter Recitals. (It was an exciting, fun-filled weekend, and we were genuinely impressed by the talent and passion of our students!) Every recital season brings me back to the recitals I used to participate in many years ago, and the feelings of nervousness and dread begin to creep back up again.
Some students are natural-born performers; I was not one of those. Because recital performances did not come naturally to me, I can identify with my more shy and introverted students who are terrified to get on stage. Here are three of my favorite tips for nervous students pre-recital:
Take Deep Breaths!
It sounds cliché… but it works! Taking a few deep breaths in a row can calm a spinning mind and lower your heart rate. Making yourself take a couple deep breaths before you get on stage- or right before you start playing- can help mitigate the nerves and give you more peace and ease as you begin your routine.
When you’re nervous on stage, you’ll automatically play faster than you normally do, whether or not you realize it. By making yourself play about 20% more slowly than your natural inclination, you’ll likely even out and land at the proper tempo. This will also give you more time to think and prepare for new sections as you’re playing.
When faced with the nerves of an impending recital, it’s tempting to go into hyperdrive mode during your last few practice sessions. I usually recommend to my students (as long as they’ve done the work in advance) that they should practice a little bit, to keep their pieces fresh and ensure they’re prepared, but to not overdo it. You don’t want to exhaust yourself before the performance, and your pieces will have more life and energy if you haven’t beaten them into the ground before the recital!