I’m currently in Rye in the UK and I have a concert this evening. I made a plan ages ago to publish a blog post on practice planning today but now I’m changing my mind...
I have always enjoyed practicing. I love the process of learning the music, improving the way I use myself with the instrument and getting closer to the core of the composer’s intent.
I enjoy performing too as that situation with the audience is ultimately what it is all about. There is often something about the combination of the preparation made by the performers, the venue and the audience that make the performance situations unique.
However, I must admit, that sometimes I get nervous. I get worried about the audience not being satisfied with me. I worry about my memory or some passage. This worry can detract from my presence in the moment during the concert and takes my focus away from the core of performing which I see as expressing feelings through sound in time.
So I, like I suppose many of my colleagues, work at trying to focus on good principles and not focussing on negative thoughts like “what if they don’t like me” etc..
As I’m playing a concert today I thought it might be interesting to briefly share how I’m dealing with this today on the concert day.
I haven’t ever thought this through but I have just worked out that this is what I try to do on concert days:
1. Don’t just practice
2. Don’t stress
3. Enjoy some practicing and treat today like a rehearsal!
Today I will be going to a talk by Patrick Gale who will be talking about his latest novel (partly autobiographical about him growing up as a teenage cellist!). I will also be writing this blog post and sending some old watches off for repair. Those are my “don’t just practice” things.
I have made a timetable for myself. I love making them but am terrible at following them... This time however it isn’t very full and there is plenty of time. This is in my effort not to stress.
The program I’m playing is physically quite tiring and I will be saving my playing muscles as much as possible. However I will be doing some calm practicing and I aim to shift my focus away from the “concert tonight!” mentality and over to “what is it that I love so much about this piece?” - mentality. I also know that I will be playing these pieces many times and that music is always a work in progress. I will also try to pick out a few phrases that I’m particularly looking forward to playing.