Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tips for an outstanding concert season.

Here are some tips for a really great Summer concert season.

1. Play your instrument at home several days a week. Just warming up and playing 15-30 minutes at least every other day will do wonders for your tone and endurance.

2. When on stage, give your full attention to the music. Learn to filter out the crowd movement, car traffic noise, smells from the concession stand, etc.

3. Spend some time outdoors each day so you get used to hot weather. The bandstand has a concrete floor which heats up from the sun shining in on it during the day. That heat radiates up in the evening, which keeps the temperature pretty constant on the stage, for better tuning. But it can be pretty hot there.

4. Sit up straight with your back away from the chair. It lets air circulate and keeps you cool. It also improves your breathing and tone.

5. Before each piece, glance through it and find the key changes and tempo changes. Just realizing that the changes are there will help avoid unpleasant surprises.

6. Keep your attention equally divided between the three main components of playing: reading (the music and the conductor), playing, and "checking" where you listen to yourself and check that you are playing the right notes and rhythm "in tune, in tone, and in time" with the rest of the band. Part of the process is to recognize when you have the melody and when you are a "supporting actor." Make sure the melody is clearly heard, whether you have it or not. The general rule is "if it looks like a melody it probably is."

7. Check the band's web site for each week's program. If you have a recording of any of the pieces we are playing, listen to that recording. If not, check to see if there is a really great performance on YouTube or if you can get it for 99 cents at Amazon or iTunes. You can also often find recordings that you can listen to on your computer or phone at www.jwpepper.com which is where we buy most of the band's music. Just listening to it will "tune your mind" to what it is supposed to sound like. Your subconscious mind will lead you to play so you sound like the recording you heard.

8. INVITE LOTS OF PEOPLE TO COME OUT TO THE CONCERTS. We always play better and have more fun when we have a large audience.

9. PUT THE CONCERTS ON YOUR CALENDAR.  Then when something "comes up" say "I already have something then.... It's the Stonewall Brigade Band Concert... I would be honored if you would come and listen to our concerts."