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As a Music teacher, I often get very frustrated by my students and their lack of preparation for Performance Assessments. Here is a list of the 10 most common mistakes they make.

  1. No regular schedule for rehearsal
  2. No plan for what to do in rehearsal
  3. Not recognising problems within their performances
  4. No warm ups or cool downs
  5. Just play through the music without purpose
  6. No focus on developing technique
  7. Rehearsing in weird performance positions – on their bed, lying down, cross-legged on the floor!
  8. Only rehearsing the parts they can do OR only playing pieces that they like
  9. Do not seek feedback OR simply don’t act upon the constructive criticism that has already been given
  10. Not rehearsing with a supportive audience – family members, friends and class members

Sometimes, when a student is supposed to be working with an ensemble, they then make these mistakes

  1. They don’t know their part before the set rehearsal
  2. Rehearsing as if they are performing to each other and not to an audience
  3. No focus on balance
  4. Just go through the motions
  5. No focus on the end product

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So to avoid the common mistakes do this instead

  1. Create a schedule and stick to it! Think of rehearsal as “study” for this subject
  2. Create goals – small ones for each rehearsal, and bigger ones like “I will have learnt the lyrics to the song by….”, or will have learnt all pieces by (insert date)
  3. Record and watch your performances to identify problem areas to focus on and fix
  4. Warm up!!! Do the exercises that your teacher has suggested – they know what they are talking about and only ask you to do the exercises because they know it will help
  5. Have a goal for each piece of music you are rehearsing – is it to fix the mistakes in timing? mistakes in pitch? mistakes in fluency? And WORK on these problems
  6. Aim to develop your technique – this might be breath control for vocalists, stamina and muscle memory for instrumentalists, posture, etc…
  7. Rehearse the way you are going to perform the final piece – is this standing? sitting? on a stool? Try doing this in front of a mirror OR record you performance so you can watch yourself back
  8. Focus on the whole program that you are going to perform. Rehearse all pieces so that you can get them all to a similar standard, this might mean focusing on problem areas first
  9. Seek feedback from your teacher and then apply it! Know that your teacher is not trying to hurt your feelings, you are a reflection of them and they want you to be successful and the best that you can be
  10. Rehearse in front of an audience, often. This will help you get over stage fright and it will highlight problem areas within your program/pieces. Also try to rehearse in the space that you will be performing in as much as possible, it will help you to get a “feel” for the space and make it less scary on the performance day.


Don’t forget about your ensemble and remember these tips

  1. Know all of your parts and what you need to have learnt before coming together with your ensemble
  2. Rehearse as if you are performing to an audience
  3. Know your equipment and ensure that you have balance for each piece performed with the ensemble
  4. Have a plan on what the ensemble needs to focus on and work on those areas with purpose
  5. Focus on what the end goal is – work towards this as a group, be sure that each member of the ensemble knows what they are supposed to do

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Until next time

Happy teaching

Julia from Jooya

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