How to prepare for your first time playing at a stadium

Rejoice on the invitation

One memorable day, I received a surprise call from Plácido Domingo inviting me to play for the first time together at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. My dream of playing with Plácido Domingo was coming true AND my first time in a stadium! Imagine my instant ecstatic feeling of happiness and the high dance hopping after the call. Yes, I did dance.

First step that I recommend is to enjoy good news. Let’s all dance and celebrate together on all blissful moments in your life.

Choose love over fear

A few days after the call, hesitation thoughts came into my mind:

“Wait… I only have a 4 weeks to prepare… I’ve never played these pieces before… What if I can’t memorize them?… What if I freeze in front of Plácido and 85,000 people?!!!”

If this line of thought sounds familiar and fear happens in your mind, it is not a big deal, we are human after all… We all have the power to choose and focus on the positive. I decided to transform these thoughts… How? By just doing it. I made up my mind with the determination that this was a wonderful gift to live and a day to fully enjoy.

Prepare all that is in your hands

For me, focus, discipline and rest have been key in my life as a musician, specially during times of excitement and nervousness. Many of us have our routines that create constance in the midst of unrest, so follow your heart and be loyal what serves you best.

For the stadium, I organized study times, hired a singer to practice the music and made detailed lists of things I needed such as a new suit, new microphone, and strings. I also made sure to make time to rest my body with massages and naps which I love. Lastly, I made time to clear the mind I do daily meditation.

Simply do and give your best

This one I learned from Plácido himself. The day of the performance, if you run into any unexpected challenges (which sometimes happen in live performances), whether mics are not working, or a score is lost, or a cue is missed… On stage as in life, choosing to give our best is literally the best we can do. (You can read more inspirations by Plácido here)

Be present and enjoy!

I will always remember the day at the stadium. The best gift you can give yourself at any moment is to fully live each moment of your life. Whether a walk in the park or playing a concert, be present and smile.

I include the video here of this very first time playing with Plácido and at a stadium. Thank you for being here, for reading and I hope this reflection helps you for your next big performance or if you are not a musician, to help you on any upcoming professional experience where you might feel pressure. I’d love to hear from you on experiences that you’ve been proud to face and any recommendations you might have for me as well.

Un abrazo,

Pablo