My Performance Manifesto

Last week I wrote about my music teaching manifesto. This week I’ve created my performance manifesto. This list feels like a work in progress, but it’s a peek into how I approach my gigs which is as much about being prepared to deal with people and unexpected situations as it is about playing music. Feel free to share any of your gigging guidelines in the comments.

1. Dress appropriately for the venue and style of music I’m presenting.

2. Have any written details (contracts, directions, emails, etc.) of the gig in hand.

3. Find my contact person and be friendly with the staff at the venue.

4. Soundcheck and tune at the beginning of the gig and constantly reevaluate.

5. Be the version of myself that I want the audience to experience. Leave any negative vibes at home.

6. Have as much material memorized as possible.

7. Present a variety of accessible music but challenge the audience with some more unusual pieces.

8. Engage with the audience (verbally and non-verbally as appropriate) from the stage.

9. Be open to unexpected requests but know when to say no.

10. Remain grateful for the opportunity to present my music to live audiences.

Photoby Marc Mennigmann HANDS Project

My Music Teaching Manifesto

I’m a big fan of happiness guru Gretchen Rubin who encourages people to write a manifesto for activities they are regularly involved in. This week I finally sat down to write my own music teaching manifesto. Ten basic goals that I try to achieve in every lesson and class. I know that I sometimes fall short of these, but hopefully having them in writing will keep me focused on what matters most to me will and help my students to understand what I hope they can expect from me. Each of these is simply a headline-style reminder. I’m sure I could write several paragraphs about each of the topics and may well do so in future posts.

1. Do all I can to inspire an enduring love of music-making.

2. Provide a welcoming environment conducive to learning. Including a safe place to make mistakes.

3. Teach students practice concepts so they can make progress without me.

4. Give clear instructions, honest feedback, and documentation of progress.

5. Encourage independent thinking. Students should develop their own musical personalities.

6. Help students to build a repertoire of pieces for performance.

7. Build confidence by finding students opportunities to perform or play with others.

8. Understand each student’s motivation, goals, and style of learning.

9. Keep it challenging but light. Students want to have fun as well as learn.

10. Continually reevaluate old approaches and look for new ones. I have to keep learning, too.

Do you have a manifesto related to teaching or presenting music? If so please share it in the comments!

Photoby Marc Mennigmann HANDS Project