Arts & Entertainment, Music

The Performance Mindset

Itzhak Perlman

Lesson time 22:21 min

From overcoming anxiety to achieving total focus, Mr. Perlman shares his tips for performing for a live audience.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Total Focus • Connect With the Music • Don't Overdo It • Judging Your Performance • Performance Anxiety


INSTRUCTOR (VOICEOVER): My process is to go over the piece to see if I'm comfortable technically with everything. And if I'm not, then I go over it slowly. The important thing going on stage is you don't want any surprises. When you approach a new piece, it's nice to look at the score and see what's going on. If you can play it with piano and see what it sounds like and so on and so forth. Then basically study the notes. See, what that is-- I-- a good thing to do is let's say if you have a passage that's slightly complicated make sure that the fingerings that you use are comfortable for you. And then comes the most important thing, which is once the fingerings are comfortable write them down in your music and only play those fingerings. Bowings and fingerings, once you reach a situation where they are comfortable for you, keep playing them. Don't change the fingerings. Don't change the bowings. Keep repeating them as you practice. What does this do? It means that it stays in your head all the time so that when you let a piece go, let's say, for a year or two and you want to come back to it, the fingerings and bowing are like a copy in your brain, and it makes it much easier to bring a piece back. If you keep changing fingerings and bowings, first of all, it's difficult to study a piece by heart. The most important thing about studying something by heart is-- obviously number one is repetition, but if you repeat something and every time you repeat that you do-- you use a different bowings and a different fingerings, every time-- then-- then your brain doesn't really have a pattern. You see, you need all the patterns. You need to be able to see the music, and you need-- you need to be able to actually repeat the same set of fingerings and the same set of bowings at the same time. The important thing-- that's extremely important. Because otherwise it's all helter skelter. And it's not going to-- it's going to make it very, very difficult to-- to study things by heart. When I'm playing, I'm absolutely and totally focused on what I'm doing musically so that does justice to the music. It's very funny because my wife tells this story and-- because I was playing, and there was an earthquake and I did not know it-- there was one. And afterwards said, didn't you see the chandelier move and stuff? I just-- I was busy playing the concert. So when I'm concentrating on something, I'm not going to start worrying about a little old earthquake or something like that unless-- so you know, I did play at one time a concert-- actually it's very funny-- in LA where the fire alarm went off in the middle of the concert. And nobody knew what to do. As a matter of fact, we were sort of on the stage, and the alarm goes on, you know. And finally after a few seconds somebody from the audience says, what should we do? Should we leave or should we stay? And luckily it was just a computer glitch that-- that triggered the alarm. So all sort of little thin...

About the Instructor

The world’s reigning virtuoso violin player, Itzhak Perlman performs for presidents, royals, and classical music lovers around the world. Now the beloved Juilliard instructor and 15-time Grammy Award winner brings his passion for teaching to a wide audience for the first time. Learn fundamental techniques, practice strategies, and how to add richness and depth to your sound. Give your most dynamic performance yet.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Itzhak Perlman

In his first-ever online class, virtuoso violin player Itzhak Perlman breaks down his techniques for improved practice and powerful performances.

Explore the Class
Sign Up