DCI & WGI: Perform Like a Champion

You’re on the bus. You have 15 minutes before arriving at the lot, and then it’s time to perform like a champion. Good thing you read this beforehand.

1. Every Rep is a Show Rep

“Rep” is short for “repetition,” and I often ask my students, “What are we trying to accomplish through these repetitions?” Answer: improvement and consistency. We do this by logging correct repetitions. “Do it right so many times you can’t do it wrong.”

“Practice the way you want to perform.”

When you change your thought process or behavior for the performance, the outcome becomes an unknown. Sometimes people are confused when I say, “Don’t try harder for the performance.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care. It means you should be trying your best in every rehearsal up to that point.

2. Get it together

This one is very straightforward, but often overlooked and can be the beginning of the end.

“The peace of mind that you’ve taken care of everything in advance is priceless.”

3. Create a routine

Humans are creatures of habit, and this can be used to your advantage. Find which rituals or habits you can pair with your best performance. What kind of music do you listen to beforehand? Pre-show high five? Do you get excited or prefer to keep quietly to yourself?

4. Visualize the ideal scenario

I’m a fan of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s work, and on Master Chef, he often asks the presenters what he should expect to see — for example, before cutting into a steak or poached egg. In other words, he is asking the contestants to visualize the ideal scenario beforehand, which is then used as a barometer against the dish in reality.

You control the situation, don’t let the situation control you.

5. Stay in the moment

Things go wrong. Failure to prepare for anything otherwise is a mistake.

6. Control what you can control

This may be the most important lesson. Really, it’s a life lesson.

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

To hand someone else the power and influence over whether or not you feel successful is a mistake. Instead of doing the work to achieve a specific number or placement, do the work for the love of the process and final product.


My friend Scott used to say before every performance, “Everybody comes off the field happy.” Something about focusing on “feeling great about the performance” rather than a perfectly clinical execution of the show reminded me there’s so much more than worrying about the physical. It’s also about taking care of the mental and emotional side of the process.


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For more info, visit https://marchingpercussionplaybook.com



Professional Musician, Dad, Digital Content Creator, building community one note at a time. #SundaysWithHuei Free live video music lessons @hueiyuanpan

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Huei-Yuan Pan

Professional Musician, Dad, Digital Content Creator, building community one note at a time. #SundaysWithHuei Free live video music lessons @hueiyuanpan