For the very day of your recital or exam, you should decide beforehand what you would wear. This seems to be a rather trivial issue, yet such matter like this should be settled and managed accordingly so as to diminish the extraneous variables that would affect the performance on the day to the least extent. Performers should choose concert clothes according to comfort, weather of the time (even the temperature of the concert stage/exam venue should be taken into consideration). the appropriateness of the costume to the nature of music performed. A bit of warm up (but not too much) before concert or exam is useful to both the performance and the calming down of one’s nervousness, so the performers can arrive earlier to the venue to get familiarized with the surrounding if possible. A checklist of all possible contingencies may be made to make sure every single detail, such as proper bench of suitable height, and suitable schedule for pre-concert or pre-exam practice.
You may still have the so-called “stage-fright” even when well prepared. This is not an evidence of one’s inability to perform. Nearly everyone, including the maestros Rubinstein and Horowitz, has the same problem. Thus you should better be realistic. Nevertheless, as a performer, one has to have confidence of oneself. “The performer who is genuinely confident of himself is the one that he mastered the music.” (Newman, p.161).
A successful performance certainly brings about a sense of enjoyment and achievement, and yet, it should not be an one-time luck. Utmost patience and continuous effort through your musical life are the essence of self-assurance. Proper care of all aspects in your life cannot be underestimated. Balanced diet, regular physical exercise and maintenance of healthy emotion do contribute to efficient practice and successful performance as well. Last but not the least, you should ask yourself this:
Why do you want to perform (or take the exam)?
The answer may vary for everyone, but surely as a pianist or musician, one of your many reasons should be one’s love for music.
* * *
Green, B. and Gallwey, W.T. The Inner Game of Music. Pan Books, 1986.
Feuchtwanger, P. “A Young Person’s Guide to the Piano Repertoire”, Piano, March/April 1998.
—. “A Diet of Warhorses?”, Piano, November/December 1997.
Friedberg, C. Ruth. The Complete Pianist: Body, Mind, Synthesis. New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1993.
Newman, W.S. The Pianist’s Problems. Da Capo Press, Inc., 1984.
About this article:
First edition, 2000.
Second edition, 2010.