PRECONCERT RITUALSStefan Jackiw
by Renée Huang, Director of Communications
Professional musicians often spend much of their lives on the road performing in concert venues around the globe. Amid the hectic travel schedules, rehearsals, practice time and adjustments to a different time zone, culture and climate, regular routine is sacrificed. We asked Stefan Jackiw to share what pre-concert rituals help keep him grounded.
“My routine on the day of the concert is all about optimizing my mental preparation for the performance, not practicing the violin. By the time concert day arrives, it’s usually futile to cram in desperate last-minute practice, and hopefully I’ve done all the necessary practice preparation in advance. So, instead of logging practice hours, I always try to nap before leaving for the concert hall. This refreshes my mind and body and hopefully quiets some of the noise buzzing around in my head.
After my nap, I like to eat an energizing meal. Spaghetti with meatballs is an old standby, both because it’s carb heavy, and because the routine of that particular dish in my pre-concert ritual is oddly soothing.
Once I’m at the concert hall, holed up in my dressing room, I warm up by playing through the evening’s repertoire slowly and calmly. Fast practice just makes me more frantic and does nothing to center my mind. Slow, deliberate practice is almost a form of meditation for me. In particular, I tend to focus on the opening few minutes of the music I’m playing that night. For me, the first few moments on stage, before I find my sea legs, are the rockiest, so I like to focus on those tricky passages.
Just before I walk onstage, I remind myself to be vulnerable and open. This is what music is all about.”