Last Minute Tips on Preparing for Music Festival

The 32nd Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival 2018 is finally here and hundreds of children and some adults are presently undergoing the rigours of last minute preparations. Some competitors live for this, some are merely tagging along for the experience and some may have been coaxed into participating. Nevertheless, many new talents are discovered and young careers sparked from this experience and you can bet on every competitor remembering their days in Music Festival.



Sponsored by

The Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Association was incorporated by an Act of Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (No. 15 of 1972) empowered “to promote and hold music festivals and to do all other such things as are incidental to the holding of such festivals; and to do all other things necessary for the encouragement of the appreciation of music.”

Music Festival is a staple on our country’s Arts’ calendar and one of the institutions that feeds positively to society. It’s not expensive to attend so put aside a night or two over the next couple weeks to support. One of the ways to combat the ills of our society is to celebrate and encourage the positivity.

IMG 6965

This blog was conceptualized with the performer/competitor in mind. As a past competitor, I know how anxious this time can be. However, over the course of my short career with its fair share of intimidating and ‘frightening’ performances, I have picked up little pointers along the way that may help you with preparations. If you or someone you know is competing over the next few weeks, here are a few tips that may help with final preparations, (especially for my fellow instrumentalists).


Practice in front a Mirror

 It sounds strange, and may not be helpful to all, but if you have a problem with anxiety and have never faced even the smallest audience, let your first audience be your reflection. Work your way up from there.


Perform for friends and family

 Tell your friends/family to be seated in your practice space for a specific time. Enter and meet them there, settle and perform. This could be your living room for example or your school’s courtyard. Play your piece beginning to end without playing over parts with mistakes. Simply take mental notes of your trouble-areas and work on them afterwards. Do as many of these little performances as you can in the lead up to competition day.



Replicate conditions expected on performance night

 Other than facing an audience for the first time, there are some conditions that can catch you by surprise and serve as distractions on performance night. A common one includes temperature-change. The performance venues can be very cold to some performers and can slow you down and even cramp essential muscles. This is always difficult for me to deal with as a classical guitarist where precision is required from every finger. Practice your performance in air-condition!

 Other strange conditions that may be shocking to a first time performer include performing under a bright spotlight and performing in different types of clothing. As best as possible, try to practice for all these peculiarities. If you plan on wearing a suit or a tight dress for instance, ensure that you can comfortably play your instrument in it. Let your little practice audience shine a torch on you as an improvised spotlight!



 Remember to breathe deeply. The adrenaline-release before a performance can cause you to speed up and lose control. Remember to breathe and keep in touch with what’s happening in the moment. Try to relax and focus!!


Picture your audience naked?

 A common and humorous tip that performers throw around to help you face an audience is to picture the audience naked. This probably serves more as a joke than anything else. Trying to imagine anything other than the music you supposed to be performing in that moment will be distracting.

 Perhaps better advice may be for you to remember that your audience is simply human at the end of the day. We are all imperfect and we all make mistakes. If you do mess up, remember that you are not the first and will not be the last. Take your notes for improvement and only look forward. Every subsequent performance is an opportunity for redemption.


 I hope these tips were helpful to you and I wish all performers the best of luck!


Thank you for reading. If you liked what you read, please share with your friends. Look out for new blogs every Sunday.

To join my mailing list, please fill in the form below. Email me at for sponsorship opportunities.


Check out my music



© Stefan Roach 2013