This week I heard two fabulous graduation recitals at Temple University. Afterwards the performers received kudos and congratulations from their friends and family. And many of their well-wishers had the same question for them: “What’s next?”
It’s the day after. After the big recital, after the orchestra concert, after the important audtion, after whatever it is that you have been working hard to prepare for. You’ve worked, worried, sweated, had nightmares and now it’s over. So what’s next?
Ideally, you should have already had a plan in mind. But in case you didn’t, here is a quick checklist to help you get moving again.
1. Party a little. Pat yourself on the back, shout a big woo-hoo, have an extra dessert. You earned it.
2. Say “thank you.” Take a moment to thank a special person or two who helped you get through it. Your teacher, your best friend, your parents all may have played a crucial role in your success. Gratitude is always the right attitude.
3. Make two lists. A day or two after the recital, when your head has cleared, it is helpful to write down what you did right and what you would do differently next time. Put the lists in a file where you will be able to find them when you start preparing for your next performance.
4. Clean up. Spend a day or two doing slow technical work to relax and retrain. In the rush of concert preparation, we tend to lower our standards for our technique. Some slow careful work will clear up any bad habits and reduce tension.
5. Raise the bar. Pull out your “dream piece,” the one you really love that you don’t expect to play any time soon. This is the perfect time to stretch yourself and reach for the stars.
6. Go practice!
Congratulations to Elizabeth Steiner, harp and Michael Chaffin, double bass on their recitals!