A list of ten tips for competition playing by the great Heike Matthiesen.
I have one to add: Play to your strengths and don’t be overly concerned with the ‘classical’ world and proving your academic worth. Even the most academic of works are still works of musical art. Don’t forget that! For example, you might think you’re proving something with that Bach lute suite or Carter’s Changes but if you can’t pull it off then don’t play it. If you can pull it off then go for it, knock their socks off. But the last thing you want is for a judge to write the comment “admirable effort”. You want them to write “this player just blew my mind!”
10. Have fun! The magic time in your life when you play competitions is challenging, you work like crazy, you meet wonderful colleagues, sometimes you play terrible, sometimes perfect, sometimes you loose, sometimes you win, but as a musician you always learn so much: To perform under superpressure, to survive crazy travelling, to practice sense-fully in a hotel where you hear 24/7 somebody else practicing the obligatory pieces, when to rest, when and how to work, how you should have prepared and how to prepare better next time .. and when to party!!!
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