Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

We had been waiting for this moment. Finally, a performance that could make us proud. As we walked onto the giant stage, each step felt like there were bricks tied to our shoes. Sweat glistening on our forehead. We set up just as we practiced, and we looked up as the tall black curtains swept off the stage. We took one last look at each other in anticipation, I sniffed, and we played. Immediately after we played the last note there was a roar of applause. Although we blinded by the blazing lights, we knew that the audience shot up in amazement.

Yes… I know, you may be thinking “this is a test preparation essay so why is he telling us about a musical performance?” Well, I have been playing the violin since the age of 4 (for 13 years) and in the world of music, your “test” is always a performance. Now, I would like to express the ways that I like to prepare 30 minutes before a musicians test, the performance.

Assuming that one has already put in the hundreds of hours of practicing that it takes for a piece to be ready to perform, I would advise them to have at least 30 minutes of preparation before their concert. Since at this point you are cold (meaning you haven't played in a bit) I would suggest that you spend the first 5 minutes playing very slowly a part in your piece with a lot of notes that are difficult for you. After this step though, preparing for a big performance is 1 big mind game. It’s a game of chess, your artistic, confident musical brain, vs anxiety. In order to win this battle, from here on out, although you are only in your practice room, you need to imagine yourself on the biggest stage you can imagine. With this mindset, play through your whole piece. After you are finished you should only have a few more minutes until your performance. I use these minutes to focus on my battle once more. Taking deep breaths really helps me get rid of anxiety. During your performance, I recommend simply having fun.

Cameron from Michigan
High School Senior
East Kentwood High School