Once the pandemic hit in 2020, many of our daily activities moved online: school, work, and even music lessons. Though many of those events have resumed in person, we discovered a benefit to virtual activities. One of those is present in the form of music competitions: you can now play and present your artistry from the comfort of your own living room--and submit your performance for global viewing!
But how do you successfully navigate the intricacies of an online competition? We have some foundational tips for you to help you succeed:
Present yourself professionally: Even though you may be performing from home, it's still important to dress the part. Wear the same attire you would for a studio recital: a collared shirt, nice pants (no jeans!), a formal dress, close-toed shoes (no sneakers, flip-flops, or slippers!), etc.
Video angle: Ensure the video provides a good angle of your performance. This means that the viewer will be able to see the entirety of your instrument and playing physique.
Video quality: It's difficult for online judges to make a solid assessment of your skills if they have trouble viewing your performance clearly. Use a tripod or a stand to support your recording device (don't have someone hold it). Lighting is important, too! Make sure you are not backlit; otherwise adjudicators may only see your silhouette, which leaves out important visual techniques and physical expressions.
Audio quality: For a music competition, this element is especially important. Try to ensure the cleanest sound quality possible. You can purchase fairly inexpensive microphones online that attach to your phone, or you can find more advanced equipment. Think about balance, too! If you are playing with a collaborative pianist, it's imperative that their playing does not drown out your own.
Performance etiquette: Even though you may be recording in your own home, you should still approach a virtual competition like an in-person event. Be prepared to begin before the video starts, approach your instrument with confidence without any other distracting movements, and hold your final pose for a few seconds until you are able to either stop or cut the recording.
Remember that this video goes into your own personal library of recordings! You may need to find past performances for an application or audition, or you may simply wish to revisit older pieces and see how much you've progressed over a period of time. Ensuring your video performance is of the highest quality will send a message to adjudicators that you are serious about your musical studies and it will provide satisfaction for you as you contemplate a job well done.