This month, the instructors at CVSM offer advice to students regarding performances. Most adults will agree that speaking and performing in front of an audience can be challenging, however the following tips and tricks can pave the road to success.
*Sequester yourself before a performance and BREATHE – slow and steady, hearing the music in your head as you relax. Relaxation, visualization, and poise will serve you better than talking, pacing, and practicing feverishly before a performance. ~ Elisabeth Turchi, voice instructor
*Advice I always give my students is to have a recital run through at home in their performance wear to make sure their clothing doesn’t hinder any movement they will have to make to perform. Think of tight sleeves for bowing on the instrument, low cut shirts for taking a bow at the end, things like that. ~ Renee Shaw, violin instructor
*I try to consider the audience for whom I am performing as part of the preparation. For students playing in a recital, I remind them that the audience is filled with parents, friends and well-wishers. This often seems to help put it into perspective that these folks are there to enjoy and encourage, not judge. My husband always says that nervousness is normal – it’s all in how you channel it. I often tell students that before they even begin their first note, they should take a deep, centering breath. Then they should look at their hands. It’s easy to be so nervous that you put your hands on the wrong keys! Also, it’s a good idea to mentally play the first few measures to ground your tempo. Otherwise, your nerves may cause rushing, etc.
Stage etiquette – think about what you’d want to see when you are watching a performance. Often our body language and manners (or lack thereof), speak volumes. Taking bows, of course, is a must for applause. Looking confident, even when not feeling confident, is important. Acknowledging an accompanist is good form. As for attire- if someone feels good about what they’re wearing- it shows. If you feel good, then the audience will pick up on that. But, that’s not to say one should be sloppy- feeling good doesn’t always equal sloppy. ~ Valerie Merriman, piano instructor and Store Manager
- Enter the stage with energy and purpose
- Stand with a high chest and relaxed shoulders
- View your audience as part of the performance
- Expect to perform well, after all, you’ve practiced and prepared diligently
- Take a deep breath and give yourself to the music
- Acknowledge your audience after the performance and leave the stage with energy and dignity
~Paula Hepfer, voice instructor and Executive Director