Calibration routines

All professionals develop routines whereby they use the first piece of a performance to "settle in" and "calibrate" their technique. For this purpose they use pieces which they know extremely well - even beyond their normal level of familiarity with the material. Knowing the piece so well allows them to listen intently and calibrate the sounds they are producing with the acoustic environment.

This also calibrates their playing mechanism, adjusting their timing and kineaesthetic responses to the highest degree. Any professional can tell you how difficult it is to get an ensemble "firing" if the first number doesn't settle in. Bands use soundchecks for this but the acoustics change when people are in the room, so it is always back to that first number to get everbody settled in. Look at symphony programs and you will inevitably see a light and familiar number first on the bill. Now you know why!

Performing music involves all the faculties like few other activities.

Thinking versus doing.