A lot of people often wonder if last-minute practicing before the “real thing” is actually helpful. Just like some furious practicing to warm-up before a sports performance or looking over flash cards before a GED or an ACT exam. Well, this may seem like a highly productive exercise but the question is: does it really help?
Great athletes and performers understand that they’ve already done all the work. They know that during the last few hours before the big thing, the most important thing is that they get into the appropriate emotional, mental, and physical state if they want to to perform at their best.
In the same way, students need to understand that taking practice tests will prove more effective than reading through a book during the last minutes before an exam.
With playing the violin it’s no different. Regardless whether you to want to meditate, take a nap, say a little prayer, or play some long tones or some slow scales to get connected to your instrument, the experienced great performers do whatever they want to get into the right mindset.
You could also want to eat something like a banana or a peanut butter sandwich while you hop on just one leg, you know what you need, so just simply do it! Don’t let any circumstances get in your way, regardless what others around you may think about your game plan or rituals.
Just keep in mind that you didn’t get there to impress some other competitors, just like they won’t be able to help you. You’ve come there to perform at your best and to do whatever it takes to perform as good as you can.
Just keep in mind that Mickelson was always having a game plan. He didn’t just have a game plan for the 18 holes he would be playing, he also knew exactly what to do before teeing off. In his career, Mickelson always had a game plan before the game was on. So remember, when you encounter a pressure situation, your game plan should dictate the situation, rather than the other way around.
So what do you need to do before an audition? What do you need to do when you’re surrounded by all those people who are there also for an audition, and when the tension in the room is palpable? Are you having a particular game plan? And do you think you can cope with the situation? Will you be able to ignore everything and everyone around you and do what you’re required to do?
Or are you becoming self-conscious? Will you neglect the necessity to go get yourself in the proper mindset for maximal success before you’ll be walking onto that stage? A good game plan requires you to plan it all out, to choreograph and test, to refine and practice your warm-up, to exercise your pre-audition or pre-performance act. Just take a little time to reflect on the following things:
1. Develop a good game plan
If you’re looking back at your recent most successful performances, do you remember what you were doing the minutes and hours before getting on the stage? What were the ingredients that got you all set to play at your best level? Well, I hope you remember those things so you can write them down and be sure to include them in your best game plan for and audition or a performance.
Conversely, think about what you did during the minutes and hours right before you delivered your worst auditions or performances? What exactly is it that you should NOT do based on your earlier experience?
2. Rehearsal matters!
You may very well set up some mock performances or auditions, and rehearse and refine your game plan. This way it may start to feel more natural to you to be in a similar situation. Having a good game plan is one thing, but to act on it entirely is quite another.
You surely don’t want to feel awkward about your game plan, and this may very well be the case if you haven’t rehearsed it through and through, and if you haven’t tweaked it all the way till it feels good to you so you can execute it properly on the big day.