~ How do you go about preparing for a concert? I’ve been asked to perform, have never done such a thing and am very nervous! ~Scaredy Cat

Dear Kitty,

Been there – done that! Every appearance has its own quirks – every crowd their own personality – every stage its special challenges. “Preparation” is the key word also known as “practice”. The smallest simplest performance can go so awry when you fail to prepare.

  • Tune list – start with something a little easy, a confidence builder. Should be something everyone recognizes and can relate to.
  • Think variety – Mix it up – slow, fast, new, old, gospel, traditional, contemporary, Celtic, Christmas, self-composed – whatever you have in your repertoire to work with.
  • Not every piece has to be a knock-em-dead arrangement.
  • Practice every tune that day – as close to performance time as possible. It’s sort of like downloading from your “hard drive” memory to your “RAM”.
  • Even if you have to go on late, go on “TUNED”!
  • Don’t go on late!
  • Wear matching socks, and don’t forget your hammers (don’t ask me how I know!)
  • Ask about dress – what they might expect.
  • Start your performance knowing you’re gonna mess up. It’s inevitable! You’ll play thousands of notes in a half hour – maybe even 10,000 or more. You’re not gonna nail every one of them. So, don’t get flustered when it happens – just keep goin.
  • Enjoy yourself and the crowd will have fun, too!
  • BREATHE! I catch myself in a stressful part of a song and I’ll almost blackout from forgetting to breathe!

Hope this helps – it ain’t rocket science but it might keep the cat from gettin skinned alive!!


Posted in: Ask Russell