Year 12 HSC Music Performance Preparations | The Final Stretch
As you race towards the finish-line with your studies in Music and perfect your own musical style, it is important that you continue to apply a consistent practice routine as you approach the finish line.
The recent Commonwealth Games was a fantastic opportunity to marvel at elite athletes who excelled in their area of specialisation and these games were so inspiring as we watched the world’s top athletes do what they do best.
So what are some of the values and learnings we can observe in thinking about athletic excellence and how do they relate to musicians who also strive for performance excellence?
In developing high level musical skills and related techniques as performers, practice, repetition and preparation based around the structuring of effective practice sessions is key.
As you prepare for the Higher School Certificate as advanced level musicians, there are so many similar principles to the training of athletes when it comes to utilising your time effectively and efficiently in the final stretch. After all, just like sprinting, gymnastics and swimming, the art of performing music is a physical act that is founded on perseverance in perfecting a skill, the building of strength and stamina, and the importance of timing and execution.
Over the coming weeks, as you prepare for the final stretch with the preparation of repertoire, consider the following strategies as you aim for further enhancing your technical skills and overall musicality.
EASE INTO IT
Warming up and getting yourself ready for practice is incredibly important. Think about related techniques within your repertoire and use technical exercises to build capacity and fluency. Think about the preparation of the athlete, do they go into a sprint without an effective warm-up?
PLAN YOUR PRACTICE
Pulling apart a piece of music and critically analysing areas that need refinement, is an important strategy when it comes to perfecting any performance. Top athletes will always commence a training session with a specific intention and game plan. Similarly for the musician, structuring musical practice sessions with similar foresight and discipline, will be beneficial in achieving your musical outcomes. Avoid simply starting from the beginning of a piece. Chances are you’ll end up getting to the challenging sections within a work and make the same mistakes.
SET A CHALLENGE
Pushing boundaries is a key mindset for athletes and musicians. Think about your limitations and find ways that can build and further enhance your skills. This could be using warm-ups and technical exercise that can extend your vocal range or allow you to complex rhythmic patterns. Growth is one of the rewards when we practice as musicians. Challenge yourself over the next month, stretch your abilities and find places to grow as a musician even during this final stretch.
TAKE A BREAK
Preparation over time and the constant building of skills is important in the development as a musician. Similarly is the time to step aside from a piece of music and let it settle. Overplaying a piece can cause a performance to feel somewhat laboured and contrived. Take some time for yourself, even the greatest athletes have days off, and the same is true of musicians. Resting a piece will allow you to approach it with a fresh approach and allow you to rejuvenate this into another wonderful interpretation.
BE FAIR ON YOURSELF
Don’t expect to perform optimally every time you start a practice session and don’t punish yourself if you struggle at times. Keep everything in perspective, accept some times in not performing at your best and chances are, with a break, you will perform brilliantly in the days that follow.
- Year 12 Music Showcase – Monday 29 August
- Year 12 HSC Practical Submissions – Monday 5 September
- Year 12 HSC Practical Examination Dates – To Be Advised by NESA
OTHER STUDY TIPS
- Compositions should be scrutinised and score annotations amended
- Review past papers and learn all music quotations
- Revise all musical terminology and conceptual links
- Think about feedback provided by teachers and aim to further enhance writing skills
- Review Preliminary Course notes to further your knowledge of musical styles and periods.