Try hard to envision this goal far in advance of your performance, when you are in a relaxed state
Before you start working on a particular piece, I would like you to think about the utopia where your music takes you. When you have a clear vision of the summit you are aiming for, the hard days of walking towards it will be filled with joy. Even when you tackle a difficult passage, in spite of all your struggle and the loneliness of working alone, your progress will be the same as climbing a mountain. Try very hard to envision this goal far in advance of your performance, when you are in a more relaxed state.
During the long days of rehearsals, each member of your ensemble will have good days and bad days: in other words, you might get better at certain passages sooner than at others. Setting yourself the goal of catching up with the players ahead of you will bring the whole group to a higher level. The view from the summit is extraordinary and totally worthwhile after all the effort to begin with.
Yoshiko Kawamoto is on the jury for the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition, taking place in Osaka, Japan, from 13–22 May