Timeing your "peak" for a performance

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Posted by Charles Brooks on May 14, 1999 at 17:42:29:

I'm interested as to how many cellists think about how to time a pieces peak when you start to learn works for a recital. By peak I mean that stage where the work is at it's best before things start going downhill. I find this with all my pieces, after a few months of work I will have one really good day (usually a peformance) and then the pieces will inevitably start going downhill regardless as to how much practice I put into them. If I leave the piece/pieces alone for about a month after that peformance I can come back to it and it will be better than ever - but if I leave it for more than a month then the piece starts to degrade. I find it usually very benificial to have a small recital about a month before an important one - and to leave the pieces alone between the two until about a week before the important performance.
Talking to my current cello teacher about this he drew an interesting comparason with sports fitness. He is a very expierenced marathon runner and pointed out that, when training for a marathon, he will do his hardest workout a month before the race as your anaerobic fitness (I think that was the term) peaks a month after your hardest workout before starting to degrade.
I cant help but wonder what other discoveries from sports medicine might be applicable to the learning of music. There has been so much research and so many millions of dollars pumped into sports psycology and physiology compared to what has been researched into similar areas of music. It is a goal of mine to perhaps do my PHD researching this in conjunction with a medical professional.
I'd be most interested in expierences that other people have had along these lines.

Charles Brooks
(Honours year Cello and Voice student, Victoria university, Wellington, New Zealand)

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