Preparing for a Piano Recital
Preparing for a piano recital often times requires more mental preparation than
piano practice. Even if a piano player has all the material learned
perfectly, they still can get nervous and mess up during the actual performance.
Playing in front of a large group of people is a different situation than playing for an instructor, family
members or alone.
In most cases, a piano player is never required to perform material that should be difficult for them at a
recital, so most obvious errors come from becoming flustered rather than technical mistakes.
Learning the material is still a major part of preparing for a piano recital. If possible, you should try to
learn the part well enough that you could play it completely without the sheet
music. For longer, most complex parts, this is not always practical. In either case, you want to reach a point
where you can play the recital material without much conscious effort.
The goal is to learn the part well enough that it becomes part of your muscle memory. Even if you get flustered,
your hands can still potentially keep playing the song even if you get distracted. Overloading on practice does not
help. Generally, practicing any song over an hour does not produce any additional benefits.
Avoid spending too much time thinking about the recital beforehand. You should think about it when practicing or
talking with your piano instructor, but outside that, thinking about the recital is often counterproductive. The
longer you think about having to perform beforehand, the more likely you are going to get nervous and flustered
Most piano players are going to have at least some level of anxiety going
into the recital, but the goal should be to minimize it as much as possible. Thinking about the recital
outside when you are practicing for it does not contribute anything to how prepared you are going to be.
Ultimately, it can only hurt you when it comes time to actually perform.
Playing the piano is a mental and physical activity. Many of the same things you should do before an examination
or other physical activities also apply to preparing for a piano recital. You should be sure to get a full night’s
sleep before a recital. Being well rested is going to help you focus when it comes time to perform. Your movements
also become slightly sluggish and uncoordinated when you are tired.
In many cases, this might be unnoticeable, but it makes a large different when playing music, where being even
slightly off beat is a noticeable error. In addition, you should eat proper meals throughout the day. Playing the piano is not a very physically demanding activity, but eating
properly helps your body mentally and physically. It also removes hunger as a potential distraction.
The biggest problem many piano players have when preparing for a piano recital is that they spend too much time
worrying about it. It is important to know the material well before the recital, but it is not the only thing you
need to worry about to perform properly.
If you go into the recital relaxed and well rested, you are going to be more confident and better able to
demonstrate your abilities. If you worry too much about it, you are more likely to get flustered and make mistakes
you would not make under normal circumstances.