Pithy advice for classical guitar performers

 

What follows is an extract from an article by Renato Bellucci on his mangore.com website. Renato is both an accomplished classical guitarist and a luthier. Over the years, he has come in for some severe criticism regarding the quality and value of his guitars, but there is no doubt that he has a deep understanding of both the instrument and performing on it.

Here is his advice concerning performing before an audience.

‘Advice I have and a lot has been written about the practical things we can do in order to give a good recital. These are some of the things I learned and apply to me.

DO NOT PLAY A PIECE OF MUSIC IN PUBLIC UNTIL YOU LIKE IT IN PRIVATE. Do not think for a second that the mistake/s we make while practising won’t appear on stage. They will FOR SURE.

PLAY MUSIC YOU REALLY LIKE and avoid competitions unless this point and the previous one are ok and make sure you go there to win and not to learn. Everyone knows who the winner is after the first round is over… the rest is meeting the scheduled dates. Learning should be left for practice time, not for competitions and as Berlioz once said: “Competitions are for horses, not for musicians”.

REMEMBER THAT ONLY 0.5% of the public will notice a mistake unless you put a TAG on it (like saying I am sorry).

99.9% of the people attending are there to cheer you up, make sure you are one of them.

If a PRO is there, you are lucky.

START THE PROGRAM WITH THE PIECE OR PIECES YOU ARE TOTALLY FAMILIAR WITH. In other words, start-off with the right foot, unless you are in for the thrill of your life.

IF FOR ANY REASON YOU DECIDE THE CONDITIONS ARE NOT RIGHT FOR A GIVEN PIECE, SKIP THE PIECE. Trust your feelings, nobody gets a receipt on the way in or out of a concert hall.

CHANGE THE STRINGS AT LEAST 3 DAYS BEFORE A CONCERT.

IT’S PERFECTLY OK TO HAVE YOUR SCORES ON STAGE.

YOU ARE NOT THERE TO IMPRESS ANYBODY.

REST ON THE DAY OF THE CONCERT, even better, have a great time, laugh a lot!

ENJOY THE MOMENT and make your own personal list.

LOOK FORWARD TO A BAD REVIEW, It’s better than no review at all and you were at least worth the ink’.

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