If you find yourself stressing at hearing the word “recital” it’s time to do something about it. If you have rehearsed regularly there is absolutely no need to panic. If you haven’t, a cool head is the first requirement and always your best friend.
Recitals, you must realize, are not conspiracies directed at you by your instructors or distant supervisors of your instructors. Nor are they organized attempts to trip you up or catch you off your guard.
Rather, the purpose of a recital is to determine, whether, over an extended period of time, you learned something which you did not previously know.
You always know sometime ahead that your recital is coming; but you may, like an ostrich with its head in the sand, pretend not to notice.
Time is too short, but the chances are you will try to do more than you can and become even more stressed out…
So, about a week before the recital, pull your material together. Put your notes in the order of your repertoire and review effectively. Most of the time you need only remind yourself of the main themes to the selections. Your teacher would not give you much more than you can handle. Maybe a little more in order to get you to stretch your limits, but not much more. Relax and take action.
Stand back. See and hear what you still need to know. Go to work filling in any remaining little blanks. DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME GOING OVER ANYTHING YOU ALREADY KNOW
Get to bed early the night before a recital. Not only should your mind be clear; you must be as physically alert as possible and not worn out by insufficient sleep. Can you imagine an athletic team practicing all night because the next day’s game was going to be difficult?
If you happen to fall ill on the day of your recital, say so. You will do better to play at the next recital, and you don’t help anybody trying to do your best when you do not feel well. On the other hand, if you are in the grip of fear, fight it out! (And don’t pretend
to have a headache.) You must face your fear sometime, just as new college students must get over homesickness, and the sooner the better.
It is best to get to your recital a little ahead of time. Be sure to bring all the equipment you need. Don’t count on borrowing it. Forget about the other musicians on the program. Don’t keep checking up on the progress of others and the state of mind of
your friends. You will have enough time to talk to them after the recital.
Recitals are as much a part of your music learning as your lessons. They give all of us at least a couple of unpleasant hours; but if you
will look at them and see what they really are (a super opportunity to improve) you will become much more relaxed.
Rocky’s Reminder: When they call your name, know your number.