Know Your Goals

When it’s time for a concert, you should know what your goals are.

It might seem self-evident: give the best performance possible of the music you’ve prepared. But there are more and subtler possibilities to consider.

For example: my group, The Rockford Aces, are preparing to perform at the ACDA-Michigan Fall Conference in 2 1/2 weeks. As such, their concert tomorrow isn’t a culmination, but a waypoint. My goals for tomorrow’s concert were:

  1. Make sure the most challenging music was learned by heart, and performable. Sometimes the best way to know what you don’t know is to perform it and see what happens.
  2. Learn about the stamina it will require to give the performance on Oct. 28. Again, you can’t really experience the demands on your focus and energy that a performance will give until there is an expectant audience in front of you.
  3. Boost confidence so the final two weeks can be about honing. Until you’ve performed music, you haven’t owned it. Tomorrow’s concert should give my students confidence to carry them across the finish line.

What goals do you have for each of your ensembles in their next performance? What goals can you set beyond “perform the music well”?