Link to the full video below:
Shayna is one of the students that will be performing at her first Eisteddfod under the Beginner category this year. As many students and parents are wondering what to do and how it works I have decided to answer some questions and give some pointers.
Generally it is a good idea to be at the venue at least 15 minutes before you play. Stay calm and don’t overthink it. There are a lot of people around to help you should you be unsure about where to go. Remember, just ask for directions.
Remember to bring along your book as well as a copy of the piece you will be playing. Make sure that you pieces are pasted into your playing book except the copy.
When your name is called, take your book and copy and walk over the judges table. Greet the judges with a smile and hand over your copy to one of them. Go onto the stage and move to the piano. Now, here is where things might starting getting scary for new students. Some students may only have a keyboard to practice on at home or even a digital piano while at the Eisteddfod, there might be an upright piano or even a grand piano waiting for you on stage.
Don’t be afraid of the size of the piano, just focus on the keyboard as it will look familiar. Should the keyboard of the piano be much bigger than yours do the following. Place your book on the book stand on the piano. This might be a bit higher than your stand at home. Remember to open up your book, we cannot play with a closed book. For short students, sit on the edge of the piano chair to make sure that your feet don’t dangle in the air. Placing your feet firmly on the ground also gives your body and mind a sense of security.
Always make sure you sit in the middle of the keyboard. Look for a name written in the centre of piano. This is normally the middle. Now, to find middle C, especially if your piano at home is smaller in size, take your right hand and extend it to the keys and to the middle of your body. Now find the group of two black keys with your hand. You now have Middle C. Move your hands to the correct position for the piece you will be playing. Take a deep breath and start your performance.
When you play and you make a mistake two things might happen. You may forget all your notes and don’t know how to continue. This is okay! Remember you are a beginner performer, playing to people for the first time. The judges will understand this. Stop, take a breath and start over. Should you know how to continue, do not restart! Rather correct and continue your notes.
Once you have completed your performance, get up and take your book. Turn to the judges, smile and bow. Turn to the audience and bow again. Now walk of the stage holding your head high no matter what happened during your performance and go give mom or your teacher a big hug. Take your seat again until there is indication of a break.
Remember, you are a beginner. No one expects you to play perfectly and without mistakes. It is a long road to be able to do that. Sometimes we will play well and other times things will go wrong. Don’t feel embarrassed and don’t think that you have disappointed the people, your parents or your teacher. You are very brave for doing such a noble thing.
Good luck and enjoy the experience. I am very proud of you.