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#1103801 - 07/19/04 07:46 AM I can't believe how bad I sounded!
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I realize this subject has come up before, but I had no idea how bad I could play until last Saturday night. We had some friends and their kids over for dinner. We had talked about having me accompany their daughter who wanted to sing "Over the Rainbow" . We practiced once while I fumbled through an arrangement in my Faber & Faber book. So showtime came and I made it through with a few blown notes but correct tempo. Then I was asked to play something else, and you can guess what happened. There were so many wrong notes under the piano, you'd need a backhoe to move them all. I sounded horrible. The really sad part was I really wanted my friends to enjoy this piece given that neither of them had ever heard it before. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had had to play at a recital.
I think I know the answer to this problem. Play more in front of people, right....
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1103802 - 07/19/04 07:50 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
Don't sweat it man. I get this anxiety all the time, thinking to myself if I was in front of a piano and my friends asked me to play, would I be able to give my best performance? Instead of letting you down, let it drive you. Aim for perfection when you practice.

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#1103803 - 07/19/04 08:36 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
We are always our own harshest critics - and btw - how well can they play?
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1103804 - 07/19/04 08:39 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i guess it is always true to most people that playing for somebody else is a quite different thing from playing for yourself, while the former creates anxiety and the latter doesn't. maybe, as time goes by, it will change somehow or somewhat.

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#1103805 - 07/19/04 09:23 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
nan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/04
Posts: 140
Loc: San Francisco
I sure can sympathize because so far I have managed to avoid any recitals. I make enough mistakes just practicing for my teacher. In my case, I was learning on a digital that was really well below the quality needed to learn. I now have an excellent digital piano and the difference is amazing. So a poor instrument can hold you back. Also, I think it is just a matter of getting so much practicing behind you in order to perform well. I tend to want to learn it as fast as possible because I figure as an adult I don't have much time to get good. This is not right I realize so am working on slowing down and enjoying the process. It's funny tho -- my teacher will say learn the notes and when I get lost start from that point. That was hard for me to do, and it took awhile, but now I find I can read notes so much better and can start from anywhere. So, now she says, don't think about it so much!!! I think that is the zen of learning to play piano. Enjoy the process!

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#1103806 - 07/19/04 10:39 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Mikester: thanks, great advice. Teachum: both of my friends have no musical experience. Of course, they said I sounded great, but they were just being nice.
Thanks for listening guys.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1103807 - 07/19/04 06:33 PM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
Don't feel bad. I bring my best Neanderthal traits out just by hitting the "record" button...even if I am by myself. I won't tell you how bad the playing it can get if someone is...gasp....watching me!

Since he never sees it, I sometimes actually bring a recording of my playing to my instructor to show him I can actually play something at times.

All I can say is thank God lives aren't hanging in the balance.

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#1103808 - 07/20/04 07:03 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
I went to my boss' house to tune her piano a couple months ago. When it was all back together, I started playing my "signature" piece, "Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Jacques Brel. I've played it hundreds of times. About half way through, my fingers simply refused to find the right keys.

Not a big problem, as my boss wanted to play (with one finger).

___

Yes, the only solution is to play more in front of others. That's why I'm working on organizing an Adult Beginner Forum IRL here.

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#1103809 - 07/22/04 05:22 PM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Jd - Sorry for your experience. My parents came into town recently and of course knew I was starting piano. So of course the few pieces I sort of learned came out badly. When they heard me practising by myself a few days later, they said I sounded much better when not in front of them. Sorry for your experience, but at least we can play better than our audience can.

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#1103810 - 07/23/04 07:30 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Jeffrey: You speak the truth...
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#1103811 - 07/24/04 11:23 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
"Don't worry, be happy".
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1103812 - 07/24/04 11:52 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Jeff Bauer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/03
Posts: 1718
Loc: Los Angeles
For any adults here who have taken the plunge to learn piano, bravo. You are ahead of the game, regardless of how good you perform.

I see you as the elite of a large sum of people who mostly think it, but don't act on it.

jdsher: the fact that you feel that way about your playing is nothing more than full on the fire - I am sure you have noticed you went back to practicing with far more enthusiasm than normal after that experience.

Keep up the good work. It's only a matter of time and practice, and you improve every moment you do it.
_________________________
Jeff Bauer | Keyboard Concepts

Yamaha | Schimmel | Bösendorfer | Knabe | Seiler | Restored Steinway

BauerHouse Productions

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#1103813 - 07/24/04 02:49 PM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
HermanM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/04
Posts: 117
Loc: Newport, VA
I've toyed with the idea of not playing for anyone except myself, my wife, and my teacher. I suppose one has to ask oneself why they are studying piano. If it is to gain the satisfaction of making music, then why the pressure to play for others? I just finished reading The Piano Shop on the Left Bank[/b], and the author frequently addresses that very subject. I achieve a great deal of satisfaction by myself when I finally pull off a tricky passage, or end a piece with some nice rit. dim. or something similiar that I could only do on my own piano (can't come close in front of my teacher with the piece of junk I have to play on there).

At any rate, just thought I'd throw that out there for those of us who may be asking ourselves why we get worked up playing for others - why should we play for others at all? Are we studying for them, or for ourselves? Inevitably someone will ask us to play for them, but I might counter, "Go get your own piano and learn to play it - I only play for my wife."

Just a thought.
_________________________
I played it better at home.

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#1103814 - 07/24/04 03:45 PM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
I wonder how many adults really try to learn a totally new skill in their 30's, 40's or beyond, like piano, a new language, etc?

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#1103815 - 07/25/04 01:35 PM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
I can tell you one reason I insist on forcing myself to master the skill of playing in front of others.

It's a skill that one can master, and it is one I believe is within my grasp. I will feel that I didn't scale the mountain if I stop short of the summit, and conquering nerves is (for me) the summit. If someone asks me to play something, I'd hate to spend the rest of my life saying, "Oh, no! I couldn't!" rather than "Sure!" I also think piano is socially isolating as it is, and anything to make it more of a social experience is an improvement. Just my opinion, of course.

JD, hang in there. I can't play well at all in front of others. In my own house. On my own piano. It's better than it was, but I'm not there just yet!
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#1103816 - 07/25/04 01:51 PM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
I wonder how many adults really try to learn a totally new skill in their 30's, 40's or beyond, like piano, a new language, etc? [/b]
I wonder this nearly everyday. I have to force myself not to say "I can't, I don't have time" etc. But my feeling is that learning new things helps to keep us young.

As for playing in public, keep at it, it does get better. My teacher has adult recitals that are "optional" but we all perform like kids required to do so! The more I do it, the easier it gets. This from someone who couldn't play alone with the windows open! (My nearest neighbor is a few hundred yards away!)

While it doesn't seem like it now, it will get better. Like all piano skills, it takes practice!
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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#1103817 - 07/26/04 10:01 AM Re: I can't believe how bad I sounded!
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
I think to perform music is to allow someone to understand something about the performer and the composer. Although I wasn't happy with how I sounded I know that someday, when I am more accustomed to playing in front of others, I will be able to express myself musically and emotionally through the music. I wonder what it would be like to perform a melancholy piece of music that brings a listener to tears. Or play a joyous piece that makes someone feel warm all over. I would like to know what that feels like from the musician's side because I know what it feels like from the other side of things.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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