Performing

Posts about performing music, recitals, concerts. Topics could cover stage fright, how to have a good recital, etc.

Musicians do a lot of physical work, which of course changes depending on the instrument they play, but there is always some degree of physical activity which could lead to injuries.

It’s very common for musicians to have injuries along their journey, but the biggest problem of all is that many musicians don’t care too much about a bit of pain in the wrist, or a bit of strain on the vocal cords.

The thing is that it should, because the more it gets sidelined the more the injury becomes worse and eventually leads you to stop  performing and no one wants that.

Most of these injuries come from not learning how to play or sing properly, which is one of the first tips to avoid injuries.

A Few Common Injuries

Among the most common injuries for a musician are:

  • Tendinitis/tendinosis.
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Bursitis.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Strained vocal cords.
  • Back, neck and shoulder strain.

As you can see from your wrist to your back, your body may or may not suffer some of these injuries if you don’t learn proper techniques or put too much strain on your body.

How To Avoid Music Injuries

Learning is not just about being able to play, it’s about playing the right way in order to allow your body to feel comfortable.

This in turn lets you explore the possibilities of your instrument or voice more comfortably.And of course can prevent most injuries, which is our main focus here.

Let’s take for example a music student who is in a  rock band.

Rock is very well known for going against traditional or proper techniques in favor of feeling and creativity, but this comes at a cost.

This student may have seen that one of the most common ways to play rock is down strumming, but it’s not really an easy thing to do, mostly because you need the right technique.

These little things need to be one of the top priority for music teachers, and it can be easily overlooked since you’d have to check up on every student to see if they are performing properly.

No Warm Ups

Just like an athlete, no warm ups means tension, tension leads to injuries, so teachers need to remind their students to do warm ups and be very specific on how to do it the right way.

For singers, it’s also good to warm up even days before a performance and stay hydrated.

There are no excuses to avoid warm ups, as they will make you avoid injuries and  will give your body a lot more room for better performance.

Not Enough Rest

Playing and singing for hours non-stop can trigger a few injuries as well, that’s why resting is an important part of being a musician.

Accidents

Accidents can happen to anyone, but if you are a musician and the affected part of your body is essential for playing, then you probably have to pay attention for a full recovery as soon as possible.

Evaluate Yourself and See a Doctor

You don’t need to be in a terrible state or in an emergency in order to go to the doctor, and this is one of the most common mistakes people make.

The idea is to avoid problems in your body and take care of things before it gets worse.

This mindset will help you be in better condition as a musician.

Parents, therapists and doctors, are very well aware of how stubborn musicians are to stop or change when and how they play, but this is a very serious subject.

If it hurts or something feels off, it’s time to do something, because it is definitely better to stop playing for a few months than to have  a more permanent injury.

It sounds like plain logic right? Still musicians are still pushing their bodies beyond their limits.

In order to avoid losing the ability to perform altogether, remember to get medical help and stay in shape.

 Scheduling a Technique Reminder Lesson

An easy way to remember to check on your students is to schedule regular technique checks. 

As music teachers, it’s important to remember to pause and remind students of technique/posture and for those who teach advanced students, it may be a good idea to ask the students if they are experiencing any uncomfortable or painful side effects of being a musician. 

To help yourself remember, perhaps schedule a particular lesson every couple months to intentionally ask and communicate with your students. You can do this easily through Music Teacher’s Helper in their lesson note section! No need to remember to do this on your own. Try out a free 30 day trial today. 

 

 

Read More

Every music student will eventually face one of the most exciting and scary moments…the live performance.

As teachers, it’s important to prepare students to be ready when it comes to playing in front of an audience. There are a few things you will need to address.

First of all, it’s important to know that the focus here is going to be about music students in general, which could lead to all sorts of genres of music.

Everyone is different

Remember that every student is different.  Some students may have a harder time performing in front of people than others.

While as teacher you should give the same attention to every student, it’s important to ??

Stage Fright

This is the main hurdle for some musicians when playing for the first few times, however the worst aspect about stage fright is actually before actual performance.

For many musicians, stage fright, nerves or butterflies in the stomach go away the second they begin their performance.

For some it may be a bit more of a problem as it gets in the way of the actual performance with a cloud of doubt and insecurity.

This is normal and the best tip out there is to get used to it, like many things in life, being out of the comfort zone is not an easy thing. It’s scary at first but it’s also easy to overcome those fears with time.

You have to remind your students to not worry during the pre show routines, the most important thing before a live performance is to be focused and prepared, because this will carry your students throughout their stage fright when the time comes.

Live Behaviour and Mistakes

A musician’s focus is of course the music, but it is a show, and you need to let your students know that the show must go on, always.

As musicians get more comfortable in their “live performer selves” they will develop a stronger presence, but the most important thing for beginners and music students is to deal with mistakes in an elegant way.

It’s almost impossible to avoid mistakes, and you need to remind them of that hard fact.

What can be avoided is a poor way to handle those mistakes, which is to stop playing or making funny faces to indicate they made that mistake.

This is one of the most common mistakes young music students make, and the best way to overcome this, is to practice.

It should be clear however that there are two ways of practicing, general rehearsal and practicing specific parts of a musical piece.

When practicing a specific part, stopping is necessary, going back and doing it again, listen closely and fix every little mistake as much as possible.

But when rehearsing, the idea is to play or sing as if you were live.

What this does is that you get used to following the general structure of the music no matter what, making every mistake a tiny bump on the road instead of a stone wall.

Live Supervision and Support

For the younger students, it’s always good to let them know you will be there, not just as adult supervision but support.

If your students see a figure with whom they feel comfortable, their eyes will turn to them and it will no doubt give them confidence.

On the other hand, it’s always good to supervise and keep things under control if there are any unwanted surprises or negative behaviours.

A Few More Tips

Live

For pianists, it’s a good idea to have them practice the entire sequence from coming up to the piano bench to finishing the piece and bowing.

If you test them by placing the bench incorrectly on purpose and let them adjust it the right way, they will be better prepared for small situations like that.

In order to overcome their nerves, it’s a great idea to have them play in front of people, maybe start small, playing in front of their family, then small groups of friends.

This will help them get used to being heard and seen, while maybe also have a bit of feedback on where they lose strength throughout the performance which can be very helpful and important in their career as musicians.

Performances in the Calendar

Having a music organization software program like Music Teacher’s Helper can help you organize all of your performances. You are able to keep a calendar and add which students will be attending that particular event. You can also keep track of cover charges in the event as well! Come try us out for free for 30 days by clicking the Sign Up button at the top of the page!

 

Read More

The question of how hard is it to play a pipe organ cannot be simply answered with how difficult it actualy is to play, because there is also the fact that this is not an instrument you can easily purchase and bring home, so why would you learn to play such a bothersome instrument? and how hard is it to master?

History of the Pipe Organ

The first organ design. Greek.

The Organ has been around for quite some time, dating back to 200 BC in Greece, and it is beleived that it was made by a man called Ctesibius, however he did not mean to make a musical instrument ike the one it came to be, it was mostly to explain and demonstrate the principles of hydraulics.

Many years after that it started being used as an instrument and eventually around 400 BC it was used during weddings and other celebrations.

The first organ design was also not sustainable, and eventually the design was made simple by replacing the piston, valves, and water cistern. However after this redesign the world did not see much organs until around 900 BC when the medieval church organ came to be and after that it kept evolving while its popularity increased all around Europe.

Hard To Play?

Saying that it’s hard to play may be accurate, of course any instrument is hard to play at first, but there are a few things that make this instrument a bit more intimidating than others.

The thing about the pipe organ is that there are many things you need to be aware of when playing it.

It’s not the hardest instrument to play but it’s by far the easiest,to master the instrument and feel comfortable, your body needs to do a lot of things at the same time, more specifically, it requires you to be thinking about five different things at same time while playing.

You’ll be playing the keys on the organ, using your feet to control pedals and holding the notes, since there is no sustain pedal like on the piano.

When it comes to stops, which produce the range of notes needed, you will also have to control the sound by changing the positioning of these stops.

In conclusion, easy to learn, very hard to master.

Katelyn Emerson

In an interview with bachvirtuosifestival.org Katelyn Emerson talks about her experience playing in beautiful cathedrals.

BVF: Share your feelings about playing in some of the most world-renowned cathedrals around the world?

KE: Since even the smallest of pipe organs has a few dozen pipes and the largest have several thousand, it is far too cumbersome to bring along one’s own organ when traveling, so one of the most unique and interesting parts of being an organist is getting to know a new instrument (or more than one!) for each recital. What comes along with such a unique challenge is also being able to view extraordinary place from the most unusual angles: seeing the Cathédrale Notre-Dame from the balcony, being the organist of whom hundreds of tourists are taking photographs at the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland, seeing the façade of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ from the console on the stage during a recital, enjoying the incredible serenity of Spain’s Montserrat Monastery prior to the concert – all of these are experiences that I would never have had if I weren’t fortunate enough to do what I do. Perhaps the most important thing is simply being interested in having such experiences. So much of the time, playing the organ seems to require interest in history, in architecture, and in art before any note is played. Without the curiosity in what makes our world, our lives, and our music “tick,” such experiences merely become a completed checklist, not life-changing memories

The pipe organ has special connections to specific places which makes it a very unique instrument.

Click the link for an interesting beginner’s guide.

Read More