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Juries are upon us. It is the time of panicking freshman, smug recitalists (because they don’t need to perform a jury), and general Stress in the music department. However, that doesn’t need to be the case. Juries are not a horrible trial placed upon innocent musicians – instead, they are a celebration of the hard work and learning you’ve done this semester. Here’s how to make sure you celebrate it well.

Remember you are prepared. Your entire semester has been you learning pieces and improving your musicianship. You are ready for this. Your goal in the week before the jury is just to polish your pieces and any technical requirements, that’s all. You are ready.

Set up your stuff the night before. Don’t run around the day of your jury looking for stuff. Set up everything you need the night before, including copies of your sheet music if necessary, all of the stuff you need for your instrument, the outfit you will wear, and anything else you want. This will reduce your stress on the day of your jury.

Don’t over-practice in the 24 hours before the jury. One of the best ways to psych yourself out before a jury is to practice a ton the day before, stressing over every mistake. That’s how you really pound the idea of making a mistake into your head. In the day before a jury, just practice a bit – maybe 30% of what you’d normally do – and focus on playing your pieces straight through without stopping to correct anything. You’re just polishing, remember. Performing straight through a piece is important to get you ready, and nitpicking at this point will just give you heartburn.

Don’t consume much caffeine before the jury. Do you want the jitters? Drinking a large coffee the morning of your jury is how you get performance jitters. If you’re a caffeine addict, sure, have a little to prevent withdrawal. However, don’t overdo it.

Breathe. In. Out. You’ve got this. You’re gonna be okay.

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