Planning a Solo Concert

For some reason, that classic Murphy’s Law, Anything that can go wrong – will go wrong, applies particularly well to violin student concerts. I’ve seen my fair share of disasters during over three of decades of teaching. “A shower of bows fell on the stage,” was my colleague’s description of our tour group’s concert disaster in Singapore. Players were a little too close to each other on stage and one small stumble in the back row set off a domino effect that ran through the whole group. Perhaps the humidity had something to do with it. Snapping strings, crashing chin rests and breaking bridges were unexceptional occurrences. Starting to tune student violins before one memorable concert, I was dismayed to realize that the venerable old grand piano on stage was tuned over a semitone too low and I’d failed to check it. We had no choice but to carry on, with our strings feeling like rubber bands.

In retrospect, many of these calamities were avoidable. Our concert planning has improved over the years and now major mishaps are rare. We work from an exhaustive (if not exhausting) checklist that has all but eliminated groans and gripes on the big day. Now we can relax as the production gets under way, knowing we’ve got everything covered. It’s a great feeling. Things may go wrong – and little ones still do – but they are never serious enough to sink the show. Read More →

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