Emma Tomlinson has provided this great checklist for preparing for practice or performance. Remember warming up is important. You might find it easier to print this page or download the PDF.
Tune: Sounds obvious but take time to tune and prep instrument. Do not be rushed through tuning, it’s important to feel secure
Warm up: Both hands/arms – slow, basic but controlled movements. Breath into the movements ensuring complete relaxation and consistency in tone. Read our different arm and shoulder warmup exercises.
Water: Stay hydrated before and during performance.
Stretch: After warming up it is essential to stretch arms, hands, back, shoulders. Again, breath into stretches with an aim to improve relaxtion before performance
Tune again: Check tuning once more
Beat: Once on stage imagine how you want your music to sound then start a beat internally before you begin. Once this is established and you are focused and relaxed, join the beat and start to play.
Take Your Time: Don’t be rushed and do not rush into starting – only start when you are comfortable and ready.
Breathe and Relax: During playing try not to tense up, remain relaxed and remember to keep breathing with the phrases of the music
Enjoy: Enjoy your playing, tell a story and connect with the music and your audience. Don’t let mistakes cause tension.
Stretch: It’s important after playing to stretch again and release any tension that has built up from playing.
Positively Analyse: You can be your own teacher. Positively engage with your performance/practise session and pinpoint areas for improvement. Read Emma’s practice checklist.
Be pleased: Regardless of how the performance went be pleased and take the good bits – learn from the mistakes for next time. Music should never leave you dissatisfied; especaily music you’ve created.
Emma Tomlinson is a viola/fiddle player and tutor from Liverpool and has moved to Glasgow to pursue a musical career in classical, traditional performance and composition. Her current projects include ‘Routes’ a Trad. String Quartet and she is composing for McFall’s Chamber for the Distil Showcase in April. Emma provides instrumental tuition for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s outreach program, Music Works; Glasgow Fiddle Workshop and for Kilmarnock Music Service. Her performance history includes Celtic Connections with Routes, music festivals with Liverpool based band, The Random Family and freelance work for String Quartets and Orchestras. She studied a Masters of Research degree focusing on Chamber Music and also holds a BSc Hons in Music and Psychology. She has studied Viola under Alex Robertson (RNCM) and on the Lake District Summer Music course under Garfield Jackson (RAM) and Yuko Inoue (RAM).
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