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Recital Time: Hear Performance Prep Tips From 8 CCM Faculty Members

Got the performance jitters?

No worries, our CCM faculty members provide what else you can you do to get ready for your recital performance beyond the necessary practicing. Undoubtedly, your audience—family, friends, and peers, will thoroughly enjoy your performance but we want you to revel in the experience too.

You’ve chosen your recital piece. You’ve worked on each section and practiced it for hours. You’ve perfected the sound to evoke the feeling of the piece. Now you’re ready to settle your nerves down and get prepared to perform.

It’s completely normal for all musicians to be a bit stressed or have anxiety before a performance, even if one is recording it to be played at a later date.

Even professional musicians have pre-performance rituals that they feel they must do, and some are unusual and a little crazy.

Would you believe that there’s one very famous guitarist who must eat shepherd’s pie before a concert? Yes, he even delayed a concert when his security team got to his pie before he did! Another musician eats a rotisserie chicken before concerts while another has to brush his teeth.

Okay, we’re not saying that you need to create your own ludicrous pre-performance habits.

Here are some sensible and useful tips and strategies from CCM faculty members to help you get ready for your performance.


Kitty Cheung-Evans

Practice away from your instrument – read the score as you listen to the music in your mind.


Lorna Henderson

Make yourself play for as many people as you can two weeks ahead of your recital.

Video tape yourself and review the performance.

Depending on the length of your piece, pick at least two spots to be able to start from cold (not just the beginning).



Chieko Loy

Practice your “whole scenery” in front of as many people as you can and at various occasions. Imagine the whole process.

Break your piece into sections and try practicing from the middle of the piece.

At the recital, check if you are breathing!  Do deep breaths.

Try running the staircase up and down 5 times or jump rope a hundred times to make your heartbeat go up, then play your piece.

When the recital is getting closer and you think that you’ve memorized the piece, practice with your music upside down in front of you.


Aaron Jay MyersDo you do this?

If you often say “wait” or make some sort of sound or gesture when you make a mistake during practice and your lessons, try to break that habit as part of your practice so that you don’t do it by accident during performance.


Nicole ParksPractice hard passages very slowly.

Record yourself and listen back to the recording to hear what you sound like to someone else.

Perform for family, friends, or neighbors multiple times before the recital.

Warm up slowly before you perform.


Angel Valchinov

Angel's Performance Tip List


Susan Gottschalk

Do a trial run in front of family, pets etc!


Bjorn Wennas

It’s great to do a sports activity like hiking or biking or something similar to get focused and get rid of some adrenaline.

Do you have a favorite performance prep activity or habit?

Share it with your instructor: allow them to provide feedback and other ideas to help you get ready for your recitals.

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