[1.III.14.7] During the Recital

Nervousness is usually worst just before you start to play. Once you start, you will be so busy with the playing that the nervousness will tend to be forgotten and will decrease. This knowledge can be quite reassuring, so there is nothing wrong with starting play as soon as you sit down at the piano for the recital. Some people will delay starting by adjusting the bench or some clothing item in order to have time to double check that the starting tempo, etc., are correct, using MP.

Do not assume that there won't be any mistakes; that assumption can only invite more trouble because you will be lost when a mistake does occur. Be ready to react correctly with each mistake, or more importantly, anticipate an impending mistake that you may be able to avoid. It is amazing how often you can feel an impending mistake before it hits, especially if you are good at MP. The worst thing that most students do when they make a mistake or when they expect one is to get scared and start playing more slowly and softly. This can lead to disaster. Although finger memory is not something you want to depend on, this is one time you can take advantage of it. Finger memory depends on habit and stimuli -- the habit of having practiced many times, and the stimuli of previous notes leading to succeeding notes. Therefore, in order to enhance finger memory, you must play slightly faster and louder, exactly the opposite of what an anxious person would do during a recital (another counter-intuitive situation!). The faster play makes better use of the playing habit, and leaves less time for moving some wrong muscle that might derail you from the habit. The firmer play increases the stimuli for the finger memory. Now playing faster and louder are scary things to do during a recital, so you should practice this at home just as you practice anything else. Learn to anticipate mistakes and to avoid them by using these avoidance methods. Another method of playing through mistakes is to make sure that the melodic line is not broken, even at the cost of missing some "accompaniment" notes. With practice, you will find that this is easier than it sounds; the best time to practice this is when you are sight reading. Another way to play through mistakes is to at least keep the rhythm. Of course, none of this would be needed if you have a really secure MP.

If you have a blackout, don’t try to restart from where you blacked out unless you know exactly how to restart. Restart from a preceding section or a following section that you know well (preferably a following section because mistakes usually cannot be corrected during the recital and you will probably repeat the same blackout). Secure MP will eliminate practically all blackouts. If you decide to replay the blackout part, play slightly faster and louder; not slower and softer because that will almost guarantee a repeat of the blackout.

In a concert hall with good acoustics, the sound of the piano will be absorbed by the hall and you will hear very little of the piano sound. It is obviously important to practice with the recital piano in the recital hall before the event. For a grand piano, if the music stand it up, you will hear even less; always make sure that the music stand is down. If you need to read music, place it flat over the tuning pin area.