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What’s on your pre-performance checklist?

This weekend begins the holiday season for me: I have my first concert of holiday music on Saturday with the Merced Symphony, and it happens to be on the same day as my studio recital! So I’ll have a mid-morning recital with my students, then there’s enough time to have lunch before hopping in the car to drive to the gig. 

One of my standard procedures for busy weekends is to have a performance checklist of items I need to bring with me so I don’t forget anything essential. I’ll also let you know: I’m not perfect, I do forget things from time to time despite having a checklist. 

Since I know most of my readers will have at least one concert before the end of December, today I’m going to share my performance checklist with you. I hope it helps you (or your students) arrive at the concert prepared! 

The Checklist


  • Concert attire (all black, or black bottoms and colorful top) 

  • Black socks/tights

  • Black shoes 

  • No flashy jewelry unless specifically allowed

  • No perfume/heavily scented skin care products

  • Hair out of my face (or hair tie/bobby pins to secure my hair at the venue) 


  • Instrument(s), cork grease, swab

  • Reeds, reed-water cup 

  • Reed adjustment tools 

  • Instrument stand(s)

  • Cigarette paper 

  • Music (or iPad and pedal) 

  • Pencil 

  • Music stand if required


  • Snacks 

  • Water bottle 

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash

  • Unscented hand lotion 

  • Phone charger 

  • Headphones (to use during breaks)

  • Book or Kindle (to use during breaks)

  • Knitting or Crochet project (to work on during breaks)

Studio Recital Gear: 

  • Reed case, soaking cup

  • Reed tools, sanitizing kit, extra cup for sanitizing

  • Programs 

  • Tripod 

  • External battery for phone 

  • iPad/pedal with student’s music as backup

  • Warm sweater 

  • Snacks, drinks, cups, napkins, serving utensils 

Parting thoughts…

Despite my best efforts to stay organized and not forget anything, I still sometimes forget to bring things to concerts and rehearsals. For this reason, I recommend doing one final “Idiot check” after you leave the house but before you pull out of your driveway. Make eye contact with the most essential parts of the list (the Gear section) to ensure you have your music, instruments, reeds, and everything needed to make sound.


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