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All right, I'm a freshman in college in a music ed major. I was just wondering what everyone's opinions are on practicing leading up to an audition/jury/recital. I'm talking the week before until the day of the performance. Do you practice more, or less?

I found in all my ensembles, from band to choir to musicals, rehearsals are pretty laid back until a week or two before a concert, then things get insane. My theory has always been that you should be doing more practicing months before, and once you're within a week, you should be backing off more. The night before and day of a performance especially concerns me. I'm torn between feeling like I need to work out some extra technical things and feeling like I need to keep myself from getting tired. I don't want to make my jaw get tired or bite through my lip a lot right before a big audition or jury. So what are your thoughts?
 

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When I am getting ready for a big performance, I try to start upping my practice routine as far an advance as I can. My goal is always to get so familiar with the pieces I am playing that as the day approaches, the routine gets very easy. I'm performing something special with my wife this Monday night at our church's annual revival. That's a big event for us. And at this point the music is so ingrained into me that I can almost step outside of myself and just listen while I'm playing it. There's no stress and no overwork at this point. And that's where I want to be. There's no need to take off a day or step up more.

I believe this is a good way to prepare for anything.
 

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I'm with EG! Front-load the practice so you can relax the day before the audition.

Prior to that though, the axiom is to practice till you can't play it wrong.
 

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I'm going to disagree (slightly). You should crank up your rehearsal routine in length and intensity for about two weeks before the show. Example: In grad school, our sax quartet's typical rehearsal schedule was three times a week, roughly 2 hours a session. Starting about a month ahead of a competition, we would start meeting four times a week when other obligations didn't get in the way. A week or so ahead, we would start trying to meet for two-a-days. This proved to be a successful formula for us most of the time.

I would agree that the day before should be a run-through, maybe going back over one or two rough spots.

I am a strong opponent of rehearsing the day of a recital/competition/concert. 20 minutes of scales, max. I absolutely hate running a program the day of - you waste the energy and face.

But you also need to consider what works best for you. I try not to play the day of a recital, but I know other good players who do exactly the opposite. You said you're only in your freshman year - part of the point of a jury is to help you figure out the rehearsal schedule that is most effective for you.
 
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