Feb 20th 2014 12:27 am Mental Preparedness

Students from all over Charlotte, NC will be participating in the National Federation of Music Clubs festival on Feb. 22. We pick pieces we can learn successfully. We memorize. We polish. What is left? The students need to mentally prepare for the event.
I had a student in a lesson tonight who just hasn’t mentally prepared very much. Her pieces are fairly well prepared and she’s participated in this event before. In the lesson she just unravelled from the start. It was totally a mental game. She came in saying she was nervous and it showed. What are we doing to remedy this situation?
In lessons this week, we are having mock festival. The kids come in and play one scale. Then they pick which piece they want to begin with and play their first festival piece cold. I score them as if I were their judge that day. They then move straight into the second piece with no comments from me in between. After finishing their performance, we go over my written comment. Then we keep the comments sheet to compare to what their judges will say this weekend. Our goal is to try and not have any of the same negative feedback. If I said work on dynamics, then hopefully they will work extra hard on that between now and Saturday and upgrade their level of playing.
I’m having students have their parents record their performances and practice at home. Due to the snow last week, students were even sending me video for some long distance help. The added pressure of having it ‘on tape’ can help bring the flaws to the surface and simulate the environment of the event.
Then there’s the ever not popular stern lecture. You know the one. Buckle down and do your best. Don’t just throw away months worth of work. Fight for a good performance. Don’t let mistakes snowball. Once a mistake has been made it’s done. You can’t undo it, but don’t let it rattle you.
Being mentally prepared is just as important as having learned the music. So put those game faces on and go own your performances. Good luck!

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Posted by heather / Charlotte Piano Students

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