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Oratorio soloists often talk about what it’s like to walk out on stage, sit quietly for 20 minutes or more and then sing.

I found myself in a similar situation last weekend.

Playing complete programs has happened more often in my life recently.  The difference gave me something to think about.

In last weekend’s chorus concert, I played the first, fifth and sixth pieces.  In between, I gave pitches.

How do these two scenarios differ?

In a full program, there are variations in tempo, volume, articulation and mood​ from one movement to the next.  Finding a way to use one’s energy well through out the program is important.  However, even with the frequent changes, one is playing throughout.

In the other situation described here, ​there are times of almost complete uninvolvement.​  When I first began performing, I found it difficult to “turn on” the required technique, energy and focus at the appropriate moments.​  The feeling I had was, “Play!  NOW!”  And that made me tense.

As collaborative pianists, we wear many hats.

Sometimes we are playing constantly ~ at other times, intermittently.  In the second case, we need to be able to find the switch in order to turn it on.

The first thing to master is knowing​ what is required.  What type of concert are we playing?  Activating the switch can be practiced, more or less.

What does it take?

To play after being on stage for several minutes doing nothing, one needs everything mentioned above:

  • good technique that can be “fired” at will
  • energy that can be turned on when needed
  • focus so we don’t lose it when it counts

Being very familiar with the music​ is a huge advantage.

And of course experience helps.  So get out there and play!

Thanks to C.I. for the topic idea!

Do you wear a variety of “hats?”  How do you approach playing portions of a concert?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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