Spring semester is always packed with performing opportunities for collaborative piano majors at Juilliard, with degree recitals, auditions, and juries all on the horizon. My schedule is no exception, and I am so excited about all of the performing I’ll be doing over the next few months. But I have to admit, as I stare at the stack of music sitting on my desk that I’ll somehow have miraculously learned and performed by May, I’m a little nervous about pulling it off.
So how do I prepare for several different performances (with different repertoire) all happening around the same time? I’ve found that spreadsheets are my best friend: at the beginning of the semester, I made a massive chart with all of the repertoire I’ll be performing and when. It really helps me to see everything laid out visually. Then, I get to work and start practicing, usually beginning with my hardest pieces or movements first. I gradually add in smaller, easier movements one at a time. I’ve found that it’s helpful to practice things in small bursts, rather than everything all at once. For example, I’m playing the Corigliano Violin Sonata on an upcoming degree recital (which has a fiercely difficult fourth movement), so I spent a few really concentrated days working just on that last week, and then took a couple days off from it to focus on the Wolfe songs on my upcoming Liederabend.
Another exciting performance coming up is a tour to Dublin and London! Over spring break in early March, I’ll be heading to Ireland to begin rehearsing a program called “Drums and Guns,” featuring music and poetry commemorating the centennial of the 1916 Irish uprising. I’ll get to perform with three singers from Juilliard, as well as students from the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. We’ll do the program in Dublin and London, then return to New York to perform here at Juilliard. I’m SO stoked about it. More details to come soon!
Once I’m back stateside, I’ll gear up for a collaboration between the Juilliard Orchestra and the Dance division for their Repertory performance, featuring Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (an already massive work for choir and orchestra, now with dance!). It’ll be my first time playing for a dance performance, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Lots to prepare, but lots to be excited about!