In just two weeks from today on April 29 at 4:00 p.m. we will be sitting in Grace Presbyterian Church listening to your wonderful children play their piano pieces.  They have worked hard this year and I have seen some amazing improvement in many different ways, from better sight reading skills to better practice habits, deeper understanding of musical concepts and more confidence in expressing the music.  This recital is an opportunity for the students to share with their families and friends and other students the results of this progress.  It is a high point of our year together and we all look forward to it.  Hopefully the students will continue to practice consistently in the next two weeks but are there other ways to prepare and how can you as parents help?

In the last 20-30 years there has been a lot of research done on the psychological aspects of performance whether in music, sports, or really any other discipline where someone must perform under pressure.  The author, Don Greene, has written extensively on this subject and has worked with primarily athletes but also musicians to help them prepare not only with their own individual practicing of their discipline but the mental preparation as well.  What research has shown is that performance under pressure takes a tremendous amount of mental energy and this has to be fueled by adequate rest and eating well prior to the event.  Here are the key recommendations of Mr. Greene for optimum results in a performance:

1. During the 2-3 wks. prior to a performance, get increasingly more sleep (8,9,10 hrs.) and drink more water 4-6 8 oz. glasses per day

2.  Keep up regular exercise

3.  Mentally think through how you want the performance to go

4.  Restrict sugar intake, especially 2-3 days prior to the event and certainly on the day of the event.

5.  Get plenty of rest the night before- no sleep overs!

6.  Bananas are a good “brain” food and are often the food of choice for many performers on the day of an event

Parents can be of tremendous help during the last stretch before a recital, by keeping the schedule as simplified as possible and not adding in a lot of extra curricular activities.  This tends to be a busy time of year, I realize, and we all do the best we can, but if possible, keep life as simple and routine as you can and maintain the regular practice schedule.  Doing these few simple things will give your student the environment they need to realize the best possible outcome on the day of the recital.