Alright! Your big day has finally come! All of the hard work you have been doing is about to pay off. Its performance time, and you have butterflies spinning all over your stomach. You tighten your grip on your flute and find that it feels cold and slippery to the touch. Oh boy…..here we go…..
Whether its performing in front of family friends, or at large concert somewhere, having the spotlight on you can be a nerve wracking experience. For today’s post, I would like to give you a few specific tips on practicing to perform the flute worry free!
First, acknowledge that fear of performing can be a good thing. This may sound strange, but let me explain.
“Fear, or nerves can actually push you to be on the top of your game, if they are properly controlled.”
It will make you practice hard, and when the performance comes, these nerves will pump adrenaline to your fingers making them faster than ever! So how can we make nerves work for us instead of against us?
First, prepare adequately. Practice hard, and if you have not practiced hard enough then focus on what you do know. If there is a specific line of the piece you are playing where you tend to make a mistake, practice that line 100x in a row correctly. Practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent.
Second, in order to account for nerves while practicing to perform the flute, practice in abnormal situations. Try running up and down the stairs, rest a minute or two to regain your breath partially, then try the piece you will perform. Practice skipping a note, or a measure and then jumping back into the piece. Stand on a chair while playing (be careful though!). Practice in front of family or friends before the actual performance.
Third and despite your best efforts, there are those emergency situations that call for you to perform a piece that is not 100% ready. In this case, do not think about the any note or specific spot in the piece you are worried about. Focus on the lines directly before, and directly after. Do what you can and don’t worry about the rest. Focus on the beat, and keeping the flow of the song, and most the time you will find that you can glide right over the trouble spot with ease. Then you can go back later and fix it for good.
Lastly, during the performance do not let your nerves get the best of you. Focus on controlling your breathing before and during breaks in the piece. Because the flute is a wind instrument, any shakiness in your breath will come out in your tone. Really strive to open up the back of your throat and compensate for any tightening that can come from nerves. If looking into the crowd makes you nervous, focus on a single spot on the back wall. Try not to look at the floor, or fidget around too much as this will distract from your performance.
Step out there and be confident! You can do it! No matter your skill level, show everybody that you have been working hard. Playing the flute is impressive, and people will love to hear what you have done with your time. That’s what you have been practicing for, right? Good luck!:)