I came across a wonderful chart that I’ve decided to share with my students as they prepare for their upcoming recital. I made a few changes of my own to make it more appropriate for all age groups. If you want to view the original article, you can click on the following link: Practice Makes It Easy: Recital Preparation.
I’ve always been a big fan of practice charts. They help instill the importance of making consistent practice an everyday habit. When used properly, they can also help students make the direct correlation between their improved performance and the time they spent working on their music. A secondary benefit of using a recital preparation practice chart is that it’s an effective tool to help relieve the specific performance anxiety that stems from feeling that “I’m going to be so embarrassed if I mess up in front of all these people because I really don’t know if I prepared my music well enough” .
For most of my students, I use the preparation chart in the following way:
After the student has selected their recital song(s), they are asked to play through each one 3 times daily.
The student will then rate each daily practice session as either Good, Great or Wow.
In the beginning, most students are just learning the music and feel as though they are still in the practicing stage. These less than ‘Good’ days don’t get marked on the chart because I don’t want students to look back and feel that they are recording their failures.
The goal for each student is to have at least 30 Good, Great or Wow days practicing their recital song(s).
As with most endeavors in life, preparation is the key to success!!
The dominant 7th arpeggio is based on the dominant 7th chord. This chord starts on the dominant note (or 5th note) of the major key. The structure of every dominant 7th chord is: root note, major 3rd note, perfect 5th note , minor 7th note. Let’s use the key of C Major as an example.
The dominant note of the C major scale is G. G now becomes the root note of the dominant 7th chord. The 2nd note of the chord has to be a major 3rd up from G which is B. The 3rd note of the chord will be a perfect 5th from G which is D. Lastly, the 4th note of the chord will be a minor 7th from G which is F. To recap, the notes of the dominant 7th chord on G (or G7 chord) are: G, B, D, F. Below are the dominant 7th arpeggios for the primary major keys.
So……. you’ve practiced really hard, done all of your preparation work and got plenty of rest the night before. Now, you’re at the audition with your stomach tied in knots over what the sight reading excerpt could possibly be. You try not to pass out when one of the judges places the music on your stand and instructs you to take a minute to look it over before you proceed to play. What do you do when your heart starts to race and your mind temporarily draws a huge blank? Below is a checklist that I recommend going through (in your head) to help you make it through any sight reading ordeal:
Take slow, deep breaths. This will help you to calm down and prevent hyperventilation.
Make sure you look at the time signature, and try to make a mental note of where the main beats are as you briefly glance through the notes.
Look at the key signature as well when you look at the time signature. While you’re looking over the excerpt, try to quickly identify any fingering patterns that you’re accustomed to playing for certain note sequences.
Pay attention to where any accidentals occur so that you’re not completely caught off guard when you start playing.
Find the most difficult passage in the excerpt, and select your tempo based on how fast you feel you can comfortably play that segment.
Remember that you should always go much slower than the indicated tempo marking. If you don’t see a tempo marking, then pick a reasonable adagio speed. The judges will be more concerned with the accuracy of the rhythms and the intonation of the notes rather than how fast you can play them.