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The performance environment is not always a space that performers have control over. However, checking the environment in advance is as important as a sound check.

Your student should be encouraged to check where they will be located on stage. You might want to encourage a parent or carer to do this for younger students. They should review:


Can they get to where they need to be? Do they have to carry equipment up and down steps or across uneven surfaces? Secure areas such as lockers for valuable belongings can minimise stressors. Think about how to get home after a performance as well as arriving on time.


Can they see everything they need to – the conductor, the music, other members of the ensemble, the audience? They should let someone know if, for example, they are stuck behind a pillar, or if there is insufficient lighting and they have to crane their neck to see. Glare and coloured lights can also impact vision. Take care with cables and other trip hazards which can be difficult to see in dark areas during performance.

Layout and set up

Can the position of furniture or equipment be adjusted to optimise posture and performance? Think about the space needed to perform, proximity to others, adjusting heights and angles of chairs and equipment.


Can the heating or cooling system be adjusted to a comfortable temperature? Chemicals such as stage fog, make up, or pigments and paints in set design can cause irritation.

Hydration and food

Is there easy access to water? Think about bringing your own healthy snacks and meals rather than depending on convenience foods.

Touring environments bring a range of challenges such as sleep disruption, tropical infections and a feeling of isolation from family and friends. Think about preparing for this change of environment and taking steps to prevent illness or injury. Designated quiet areas can help to focus or unwind.

Rehearsing in the space includes feeling comfortable physically and mentally as well as playing through the pieces, as well as identifying any obstacles which could be managed. It is not always possible to make changes, so encourage students to learn from different performance environments so they can prepare for any hazards in their spatial environment.

“I have been in very stressful situations regarding lack of time to set instruments up before a rehearsal or inadequate warm-up time or working in freezing temperatures. Outdoor performances need special care due to the temperature changes, even in the summer, so it’s making sure plenty of warm clothes are at hand, standing your ground as regards to appropriate time to warm up, respecting what you do and making sure other people respect what you do!”

- Dame Evelyn Glennie (taken from “Sustainable Creative Careers: Your Own Best Health – Evelyn Glennie”, BAPAM)