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6 Essential Tips to Help Your Child Before for a Music Competition

 by Autumn Huerter

Two young students play the piano together at a recital

Spring is here and any music student knows what that means: music competitions. Students of all age groups are gearing up to compete in league, regional, and even state competitions for both choral and instrumental music. While this is a very exciting time for any student and parent alike, it can also be very stressful and filled with a lot of anxiety and nervous energy. As a parent, you want to help your child feel as prepared as possible for what lies ahead.

That, however, is sometimes easier said than done. Even if your child has been taking music lessons online or face to face, they might still be nervous or experiencing stage fright. Thankfully, there are some tips that can be used to help them feel more comfortable and confident heading into competition season. 

#1.) Begin Preparation Early

Depending on your child’s grade level, most music competitions are still a month away. While this isn’t a lot of time to work with, it is still enough to get prepared and check in with your student. See how they are feeling about their piece, what their progress looks like, and talk out any fears or concerns they may be having. If they are taking music lessons, have a conversation with their instructor and get their thoughts as well. Work as a team to come up with a plan that works best for your child.

#2.) Amp Up Practice

In the months and weeks leading up to your child’s music competition, adequate practice time is going to play a vital role in how well that they perform. Concentrate on consistency and ensuring that your child has ample time to practice every single day. Not only that, but they will also require a space that is conducive to fostering learning and creativity. It is difficult to really concentrate on your music if you are constantly facing distractions, such as interruptions from a phone or younger siblings. 

#3.) Record Practices

Perhaps one of the best tips that any experienced musician will offer a student is the encouragement to record their practices. Thanks to cell phones, it is now easier than ever to record both video and audio. If the student is able to both hear and watch themselves back on a recording, they are more likely to see and hear any mistakes that they might be making. For example, if their posture is off or how they are holding their instrument isn’t ideal, this is something that they will be able to spot and immediately correct. 

Remind them that it can be tough to watch or listen to themselves playing, especially if they are just starting a new piece of music or attempting a piece of music that was previously above their skill level. However, do your best to encourage your child while also prompting them to not be too hard on themselves.

A young woman records herself playing during her music lessons online

#4.) Do a Mock Performance

Playing for a teacher or parent is one thing, but performing for a competition can be a completely different experience. So much changes when it comes to competition, from the venue to the audience to the attire that the student wears. That is why it is vital to schedule a few times to have a mock competition performance and leave no details behind. 

For example, have your student practice their piece while wearing the outfit that they are going to perform in. While this might seem a bit silly, it can actually be a game changer. Consider any clothing that might restrict one’s movement, such as a suit jacket. This would be completely different from when your child wears a t-shirt or hoodie during practice. Working out all these things in advance will ensure that your child is comfortable and acclimated to what a real competition might bring.

#5.) Provide Moral Support

Whether this is your child’s first music competition or they are a seasoned veteran, they are bound to have fears and insecurities. It is very important that you be their rock and provide moral support every step of the way. Provide positive affirmations for them and let them know that you are always on their team, no matter what. 

Also, if your child is taking music lessons online or face to face, have a conversation with their instructor. They will have more detailed advice on how you can help your child specifically as well as provide more information on any troubles or issues they may be facing. The more people that are standing in your child’s corner, the better. 

#6.) Remember That Mistakes Happen

Last but certainly not least, remember that mistakes are going to happen. It is rare to see a judge hand out an ‘absolutely perfect’ score, as students are bound to not give a flawless performance. Remind your child that there is a lot that they can learn from competition, especially if this is their first time. 

No two performances are ever identical and so long as they tried their best, they shouldn’t feel discouraged or down on themselves. Music is a lifelong journey that can’t be based on a single performance or one bad day. Even the pros have instances where they don’t feel their best or deliver a performance that is below their usual standard.

Prepare With Music House

There are many different avenues that you can take to help your child gear up for a competition. However, one of the best ways by far is allowing them to become a part of a musical community such as Music House. When taking music lessons online or face to face, they are working with an experienced, seasoned professional who understands the realm of recitals and competitions inside and out. They are more than equipped to provide your student with all of the knowledge, resources, and encouragement that they need to be successful. 

If you are interested in learning more about Music House and the many programs that we have available, contact us today! Private music lessons, core classes, summer camps, and band workshops all play an instrumental role in helping your student become their very best. 

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Written by Autumn Huerter
Autumn Huerter
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