6 Ways to Prepare for a Musical Performance

Performances are part of your musical journey, and since there’s no way around it it’s best to be as prepared as can be. Everyone artist has their own way of preparing, but there are always similarities and common routines.

Whether you're heading towards your first performance or it’s your millionth one there are a few preparation strategies that you haven’t thought of or tried yet. Let’s talk about 6 different types of methods, 3 mental and 3 physical, that you should add to your performance routine.

Mental Preparation

Being mentally prepared for a performance is just as important as being physically prepared. Some may not realize it, but the mentality you go in with can set the stage and success of the performance, so it’s important to prepare your mind for anything and everything. Three great/useful strategies include, but are not limited to, self-talk, visualization, and dealing with mistakes.

Self-talk or self-motivation is one of the most useful tools in music and outside of music. Although you have your parents, friends, coaches, and loved ones around you they may not always be able to motivate you the way you need it, and that’s fine. They don’t know you the same way you know yourself, and because of that, you will always be your number 1 supporter. You have the power to encourage yourself to be as successful as you’d like to be.

Once you know that you have a performance coming up it’s a good idea to start telling yourself that you will be prepared, you will do great, and you will not fail. Of course, mistakes can happen and that’s alright but it’s better to go in with the mindset that you will be perfect and it will be an amazing performance.

Think of it in the sense of if you train your mind in the negative then those fears and emotions will show in your actions and body language. You will prepare yourself to fail before you’ve even given yourself the chance for success so it’s better to always think in a positive mindset and give yourself that fair chance that you deserve.

Part of the motivational talk is understanding that mistakes can happen, and that’s okay. What’s important is learning to deal with them because how you recover will set the mood for the rest of the performance. There are two options here. Either you get caught up in the mistake and won’t be able to get back into the zone or you move past it and continue the performance and hit every other note perfectly. Knowing how to deal with mistakes has to do with your self-motivation and how you’re able to pick yourself up.

In addition to the motivational talk try to visualize yourself playing and performing, it’ll make a huge difference in not only your success but your self-esteem. When you visualize yourself playing the piece and where your fingers should be and everything else in-between you know that you will be ready. Physically and mentally you will feel more comfortable and ready to take on this performance and show that you’re a musician at heart and in the real world.

Physical Preparation

Although the mental preparation is very important so is the physical preparation. For example, it’s great to do warm-ups, dress reherseals, and of course to dress the part.

It should be without a doubt that warm-ups will come in handy..when do they not? Everyone has their own routine for warm-ups, but it’s time to define what’s yours. Regardless of what you decide to include always remember to arm up your body and mind, and that includes mental preparation. Maybe doing finger exercises helps get the blood flowing or maybe just doing the finger placement on your instrument is what you need. Find out what works for you and make sure you are fully warmed up before taking the stage.

Whether you're competing in sports competitions, a math competition, or a musical performance there’s always a dress code. Not only does this code look more professional in that field but as the performer, you will feel more confident which can certainly lead to a more successful performance. How do you ask? Well, when you look good you feel good and when you feel good you produce well. Find the appropriate attire and have it approved by a coach and parents. If you want to feel like a star you should look like one too!

In addition to dressing the part is doing mock performances. In other words, it’s helpful to dress rehearsals before the real performance. This is the time to make mistakes, get rid of stage fright, and even get used to the spotlight being on you. Do as many dress rehearsals as possible before the real performance, you’ll feel more prepared. Dress rehearsals should include with you dressing the part and creating a small audience whether it be your family and friends, stuffed animals, or your coach. Although it may seem nerve-wracking it’s better to get those nervous feelings out of the way before the big performance.

Wrap it Up

The night before the big performance it’s a good idea to get your mind in the right place. Be confident with yourself, your skills, and your performance. If you’ve prepared yourself in the best way possible then you’ll do amazing on stage and can even get a standing ovation.

Practice makes perfect but perfect doesn’t come without the preparation for presentations and dealing with certain situations that you may not run into every day. It’s good to be as prepared as can be for any situation as you never know when your next big performance will be whether it’s in Carnegie Hall, on the streets, or in the studio.