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  1. Pick songs that suit your instrument and your sound.

It is extremely important that the songs you choose to perform in your HSC are ones that show off your talents rather than music that you like or think would be impressive. It is better to choose a song that is technically easier and nail it, rather than choose an incredibly difficult piece that you don’t smash fully. A song that is perfect for you is impressive in its own right.

  1. Unique song.

While you should choose pieces that suit your talents, you should also try and steer clear from songs that every student across the board will be choosing. You don’t want the markers previous impression of the song to impact their opinion of yours.

  1. Unique arrangement.

As well as this you don’t want the original composers style and reputation to influence the marker in anyway. By simply slowing down a song to your style, or changing a few notes, adding improvisation, adding moments where your talents are shown… and the list goes on.

  1. Good accompanists.

Make sure the people in your ensemble are reliable and also won’t bring you down in anyway.

  1. You’re featured.

While you want a really good ensemble backing you, you don’t want them to outshine you. Make sure you part in the piece is featured at all times and that the band only aids you, not overshadows you.

  1. Music is practiced (with every member of your ensemble).

Have constant rehearsals, it’s not enough to think you’ve nailed a song for your first internal performance and then just leave it until the actual HSC to get back to practicing the song. Make sure the standard of your piece doesn’t decline throughout the school year. You can always improve.

Allow enough time to get your pieces to performance standard. You want to choose your songs ages and ages and ages in advance so that you have time to plan out your ensemble and what you’re going to do to show off your talents. Perfection takes time.

  1. Practice performing (have a go in the HSC space).

The actual performance can be daunting because you’re in an area with a desk full of people marking you. So before the actual HSC, either get into the space and get familiar with your surroundings, or practice your songs in front of an audience or pane full of people.

  1. Listen to others.

Use the advice of your teachers and your accompanists to improve both yourself and the pieces. We can’t always hear ourselves as we’re performing, so getting someone else’s opinion is sometimes the best way to fix the little things in your piece.

  1. In the end listen to yourself.

At the end of the day, you know yourself and your talents better than anyone. Trust yourself, and you’ll do great.

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