I’m writing this article inspired by my experience at my last concert. The circumstances pushed me to need to be in two different “modes” at the same time. It was then when I realised one can only be in full concert mode and nothing else.
Basically, the needs of music need to become our priority if we genuinely want to project the musical message in all its possibilities. In that sense, the two hours before the performance are crucial, mainly because we should use them to disconnect from the outer world. This is something we should definately comment during your piano lessons.
We are trained to be aware and pay attention to all what happens around us. Even though multitasking is a precious skill, when we play, we should only apply it to multi-task elements that relate purely to what we have to play. Clear as it might sound, doing this may prove to be difficult. The stimulus we continuously receive from our environment is far from helping us concentrate. The best cure for this “lack of focus”-maladie is the preparation and delivery of a robust concert plan. This plan will depend on your role and responsibilities at the concert.
If you, the same as me, are in charge of all the decision-making process, then every aspect of the organisation should be double confirmed at least 48 hours before the event taking place. If it is a recorded concert, the equipment is the main priority. Every contingency must be taken into account. Materials should be organised in such a way in which they are easily accessible, and its re-storage is intelligently planned. You should think about all what can go wrong and prepare for its resolution. It is advisable to bring additional adaptors, extension leads, and at least one new stand -you never know when your precious stand can break.
Timings are also fundamental. Believe it or not, during the last concert I had to deal with a double booking of the hall itself. Apparently, there was a filming session going on at the premises which overrun, and we ended with having to sort when and where the children orchestra would have to rehearse. Having to make these kinds of decisions can certainly bring you out from your comfort zone. My advice: make sure you double check with your venue if everything is arranged for your concert at least 72 hours before the performance itself. In this way, you count with enough time to sort out any possible issue that might arise.
Last but not least, you need to count with someone of your trust who can resolve any problem that might occur when you are entirely dedicated to delivering the concert -during your rehearsal and the concert itself. You should train this individual very carefully indicating what you expect him or her to do if anything happens.
Finally, you should be prepared to handle psychologically the fact that not all is going to run as smoothly as you expected.