The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Recital Preparation

music recital tipsDo you have a holiday recital or performance coming up? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. From practicing effectively to overcoming stage fright, we have a lengthy list of resources to help you prepare for the upcoming event. Let’s start at the very beginning…

1) Pick your music wisely.
Selecting the right piece that highlights your skills, level or range can really ramp up your confidence! Your teacher can help you with this, so you’re choosing a song that is within your playing level, but also isn’t too easy (you still want to be challenged!).

Of course, what’s a recital this time of year without some holiday tunes? If you’re looking for holiday or Christmas sheet music, check out our handy link round-up.

2) Set aside time for practicing.
The holidays can be a busy time for everyone, so scheduling in time to practice (and sticking with it!) is important. Think you’re too busy to fit in 20 minutes of practicing? Check out these tips for overcoming your most common excuses. Traveling without your instrument? There are easy ways to practice without your guitar (or piano or violin).

As you’re working on your selected piece, however, keep in mind that not all practice is created equal! You may have heard the term “deliberate practice,” which refers to the conscious act of listening and reflecting as you’re practicing – instead of just going through the motions to pass the time. If you really want to impress your friends and family at your recital, deliberate practice is a critical part of preparing.

3) Prepare yourself mentally.
The power of the mind is undeniable! Most athletes know the benefits of a clear mind before a game or event, and the same should go for musicians preparing for the stage. This translates to visualization strategies, such as imagining yourself hitting all those high notes and picturing a flawless performance.

However, remember that mistakes do happen sometimes. If you do hit a wrong note, stay calm and get right back on track. Envisioning yourself handling these situations with grace is another good way to mentally prepare, but don’t focus too much on it.

Battling nerves? Understanding the underlying causes of stage fright can help you determine tactics that might help you. Becoming a great performer takes practice, so give yourself some credit. Take a deep breath, stay confident, and remember that many famous musicians have been in your shoes.

4) Have fun!
There are tons of benefits to participating in recitals, from learning how to set music goals to conquering your biggest fears (see also: All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Music Recitals). But most of all, performing in front of others is all about showing off what you’ve learned, and having fun in the process. Reflect back on how far you’ve come: What new skills, techniques or songs did you learn? Did you reach the goals you set at the beginning of the year? Have you challenged yourself enough? Are you still enjoying your music lessons? (If not, talk to your teacher – sometimes a simple shift in your lesson plan can spice things up!)

No matter how old you are or what kind of playing experience you have, the important thing to remember is to have fun. After all, that’s what music is really about, right?

- , TakeLessons staff member and blogger

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Photo by Csisouphanh

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