On the last Sunday of April, I attended ORMTA Central Toronto Branch’s biannual scholarship recitals. There were three separate recitals based on level (Junior level 1-4, Intermediate level 5-8, Senior level 9+). Performers from each recital were eligible for various scholarships (money!) based on their performance. Although there weren’t “first, second third” place prizes, there was one “overall outstanding performance” award that was commensurate with the amount of money awarded. The performers selected for the recital had auditioned for a spot two weeks previous to the recital, and only the top 30% were chosen for the recital. This means that all the performances were polished, memorized and musical. However, performing in public, on a stage is a different story. I witnessed several performers fumble, missing a few notes or even memory slips of entire sections. Why does this happen?
The adjudicator for the recitals was Anne Marie Page, renowned international performer, conductor, educator and adjudicator. She has an extensive background in music, and currently serves as the Academic Communications Manager, Senior Member of the College of Examiners, and RCM Advanced Specialist for the Royal Conservatory of Music. She coaches a variety of instruments including piano, organ, flute and voice. Needless to say, Page has considerable experience with music performance. Here are a few ideas she imparted to the performers:
- There are no perfect performances
- Strive for consistency when practicing
- After spending hours practicing alone, it take hours performing publicly to become proficient
- Spend a minute thinking about your performance and how it went, what could be better, etc. Then spend 10 hours congratulating yourself for going up in front of an audience and performing
- Consider the space you are playing in and adjust your playing accordingly (is it large, echoey, etc.)
- Keep making music; in the grand scheme of things, this is just one public performance of many in your life, so don’t take anything too personally, including mistakes