Moving Between Lengths and Strides

Posted In: Performing

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    Carly Ewell on #187101

    When so much preparation has been done for a recital or performance, you want to portray that preparation as best you can. Putting together a recital program can include numerous styles, composers, lengths, tone quality, etc. After a piece is finished you sigh with a breath of relief, but immediately have to get into the mindset of the next piece and back into performance mode. How would you suggest using this time wisely to transition your mind to the next style or length of the next piece? And what is the best way to keep a performer’s physical and mental energy up during the length of the program?

    Janis Cortese on #187103

    I never managed the first well, but as for the second:

    “And what is the best way to keep a performer’s physical and mental energy up during the length of the program?”

    Eat fresh, healthful food in moderate quantities, get a proper amount of sleep, and stay moderately active — the typical advice for this kind of thing, but it works.

    Biagio on #187154

    I’m certainly no expert on this but can share with you what several professionals whom I know do. They memorize the intended set, not only the music but the sequence; write the names down on a piece of paper placed inconspicuously on the floor. Then they practice practice practice, preferably with their friends and students listening. They not only practice the tunes but what they might say between them – for example the tune’s origin, interesting or amusing stories etc. The idea is to establish a conversation, personally as well as musically.

    I don’t know about you but a performance that just goes from one tune to the next is much less interesting to me than one where there is a transition between them. That not only gives me as an audience member some personal involvement, it also gives the performer a short period to gauge the “feel” of the performance.


    balfour-knight on #187155

    So true, Biagio! Carol Lynn and I have an upcoming performance for voice and lever harp (my Large Gothic) along with a concert pianist and additional soprano. We will talk between sets to transition from one selection to the next, and the audience is always very responsive. Also, Janis is very correct about sleep and what you eat before the performance!

    My very best to you all,

    Emily Granger on #187790

    I’ve been performing off my iPad for over a year now. I’m able to make “set lists” for each recital program. It has helped tremendously to actually see the repertoire lined up in performance order. When it gets closer to the concert I do many run-throughs where I practice performing the program in order. When doing this, take some time to observe where your mind goes between each piece.

    I also can’t stress enough the every day practice of meditation. I started meditating every morning a few months ago and this translates to performance flawlessly. This will also help shine light on the inner energy source within you.

    Building up physical energy also comes from taking care of your body not just the day of your recital but every day. Eating well, drinking lots of water and regular exercise help get me through any performance from a 6 hour background gig to a sold out concert in Carnegie’s Weill Hall – it all takes the same amount of preparation.

    Gretchen Cover on #187791

    Emily, I read your recent blog. Wow, what a schedule! You are the poster child for your good advice.

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