|On September 10 we talked about violist Paul Neubauer. Neubauer was the youngest principal strings player in the history of the New York Philharmonic when he joined. He played as soloist for them more than 20 times. He has a bit of advice to share about the beginning of a performance.
"Stage deportment (the way you act on stage) is important; you have to create a mood even before you play, not only for the audience but for yourself. Pausing a few moments not only looks more settling for the audience but gives you a chance to focus in on what you're doing as well."
He's right! Creating a mood helps you to focus -- to concentrate. And when you concentrate you do better! That's just common sense.
So, when it comes time to practice, pause for a moment and think about what you are about to do. At the start of each lesson, my daughter's Suzuki teacher used to have her bow to the teacher and say, "Please teach me, I want to learn." That created a mood . . . a mindset in which she understood why we were there.
When you practice, even if you are all by yourself, take a moment and remind yourself why you are there. Take a deep breath before you start and focus your attention. That is the start of a good quality practice!