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#1311587 - 11/24/09 03:04 PM First recital pain
Zenobe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Newtown CT
Well I participated in my first recital on Saturday. I'm 44 and this year I finally am trying to break through and learn how to play music. I started in June with the Alfred All in One Book 1.

My son went first, and sailed through his two pieces. Then it was my turn. 50 people looking on. Started out OK ("Amazing Grace" from the end of the Alfred book. Then I just got lost halfway through, panicked, and had to stop. Terrified. Started again, fumbled through. Like a bad dream.

Hundreds of times playing at home, this reaction never happened. My hands were literally shaking. So many voices in my head saying "you can't do this, who do you think you are?"

My teacher was super encouraging afterwards, but it took my son and daughter, age 12 and 10 respectively, insisting that I will participate again in the next recital, and do better next time, and that I'm not going to quit and give up, and if I do, daughter threatening to wail on me with a plastic water bottle.

I took two days off from practicing, but I am going to go home tonight and get back on the horse.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
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Piano Adventures 3A, Alfred AIO 2

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#1311599 - 11/24/09 03:25 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Zenobe]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5277
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Aren't kids a treat? laugh

Congratulations on still being alive. Altho it is entirely possible that *not* still being alive does not, at the minute, feel like the worst possible outcome.

Your bravery is commendable. There are several people in the ABF who have had this experience, and I'm sure they'll chime in with their take on it, and be much more helpful from a practical viewpoint than I. In the meantime,

thumb

you have my admiration.

Cathy
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#1311600 - 11/24/09 03:28 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Zenobe]
Basia C. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
Congratulation to the huge achievement to play in front of people for the forst time! thumb

So sorry it wasn't a as happy event as you hoped for though. My first recitial was also a little shaky. I was playing flute, and it felt like it was a completely new pice for which I had to look carefully at every not to figure out what to play! I didn't have to stop or start over, but the accompanist had to be very creative to try to stay with my playing. blush

Well, the following recitilas have been better and better. I realize I will very likely not play as good in the recital as I can at home, and therefore need to over practice. By that I mean I have to know the piece much better then I usually would think is necessary.

As I am sure many will tell you it does get easier the more you do it. Practice playing the recitial piece in front of others before the recitial so you can check how it feels.

There are many nice threads on this topic so do make a search to read about all sorts of mishaps and how to overcome them.
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Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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#1311613 - 11/24/09 03:54 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Basia C.]
Waltz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 707
Loc: Massachusetts
I don't think that's too bad of a first recital! Don't worry about not being able to finish; it isn't because you don't have the skill, it's simply a stress response we all get in these situations. The key to doing better is overcoming this type of response, which is exactly what you have begun to do by participating in live performances. Congrats smile
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#1311626 - 11/24/09 04:14 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Waltz]
AlphaTerminus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 549
Loc: Iowa, USA
Hi there. I'm 37 and I too had my first recital Sunday, along with my 10 year old daughter. She played Deck the Halls and did fine. I played Linus and Lucy, and midway through the jazzy part my fingers on my right hand locked up, my left hand started shaking, and I had to take my left hand off the piano because it was making all kinds of racket. I felt literally as if I were going to black out. I forced some filler notes out of the right hand. Luckily, the end of that song is like the beginning so the ending was ok.

I can play that middle part blindfolded, but I couldn't come through at that first recital.

So misery loves company, and I empathize with you!
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Lessons since September 2009
Yamaha C6

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#1311635 - 11/24/09 04:25 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: AlphaTerminus]
Zenobe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 76
Loc: Newtown CT
Thank you for the encouraging words. I love the support of this forum, it really does help. In fact I can say it is a big reason I feel like stepping forward to do something I've always wanted to do, but never been able to. And despite the setback on Saturday, I am learning. I am moving forward. The difference compared to where I was a few months ago is huge.
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#1311636 - 11/24/09 04:26 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: AlphaTerminus]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Maybe this'll help:
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#1311640 - 11/24/09 04:40 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: keyboardklutz]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Welcome to Recital Club!
It never goes as smoothly as it did at home, that's just part of the game unfortunately. Coming back from a "train wreck" and finishing the piece in a half-way respectable fashion is the hardest thing to do in a recital. Now that you've been through that, it only gets better from here.
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#1311649 - 11/24/09 04:52 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Zenobe]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
Congratulations on getting through your first recital! It'll only get better from here. wink Before performing, I always prepare a few "emergency" spots where I can restart if necessary, to prevent the going back to the beginning and fumbling again and again syndrome. Murphy's law has always shown me that if I restart the piece, I'll fumble at the exact same spot and get lost again. Always jump ahead of your problem spot, not behind. It's like avoiding a pothole. I find that the best way to approach a memory lapse is to pretend that you didn't make a mistake and immediately jump ahead to your next safety spot. 80% of the audience won't even notice if you do this.

Personally, my worst recital experience was on the violin. My D string went really really out of tune 1/4 of the way into my piece, and there were no pauses in the piece where I could stop and re-tune it. Tried to compensate with my fingers...but...cry Now that is one flub that 80% of the audience for sure DID notice.

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#1311652 - 11/24/09 05:02 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Frozenicicles]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
At my first, and only recital, I totally fell apart half way through, and lost the thread of the piece. I just improvised for a bit and made sure to finish on the tonic. It was an obscure work, and nobody noticed at all! I think my teacher was happier with that result than if I had done the piece all the way through.
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#1311653 - 11/24/09 05:05 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Zenobe]
VideoTiger Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 14
I encourage to keep it up and don’t shy away from playing in another recital. If there is a will there is a way.

A small advice for future times, the best way to practice how to play in public is just to play in public, especially in front of people you don’t know that well or at all. Tell some neighbors walking by to give you 5 minutes of their time so you can pay them some pieces, someone that knocks on your door for whatever reason, tell them to listen. Invite people over if you can, go to a hotel lobby, a piano store, some place like that and ask in you can play for a little while. Those situations can be tougher than an actual recital so you’ll have some experience under your skin.

Do this as many times as you can in the weeks leading up to your recital. Even major acts usually set up a warm up gig or two in front of a smaller crowds or friends before they go to play in front of larger audiences.

Good luck!

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#1311702 - 11/24/09 07:12 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Zenobe]
TTigg Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 873
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Zenobe

Hundreds of times playing at home, this reaction never happened. My hands were literally shaking. So many voices in my head saying "you can't do this, who do you think you are?"

Ahh the memories.. but Congrats for completing your first Recital!

Well I don't know that I had the voices in my head but I totally can relate to your live 1st recital experience see this thread I was glad to get it out of the way and the one following that wasn't too much better either. I just did my 3rd "live" one this past Saturday, much better so it does get better with practice thumb

Originally Posted By: Zenobe

I took two days off from practicing, but I am going to go home tonight and get back on the horse.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Same to you too and very glad to hear your jumping back on the horse, once we've begun this journey (specially us late starters) we should never give in.. smile
- SC
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#1311713 - 11/24/09 07:35 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: TTigg]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
zenobe, I feel your pain! My first (very low key) recital as an adult restarter, my body completely betrayed me, and I wasnt at all expecting this. I mean i knew the piece pretty well. I was watching my hands shake almost off the keys and even my hearing seemed a bit muffled. Mostly i was so disappointed because I was sure that my piece was going to sound nicer than that. So I breathed deeply, said some calming thoughts and commenced my 2nd piece, but No Better at All frown

Then to pour salt into the would, one of the parents said in a loud and surprised voice "I could see your hands shaking such a lot!". Grrrrrrr. He didnt know he was embarrassing me.

The advice re mini pretend performances for anyone that drops by is excellent. It will get much easier after the first few. I quite like performing now, but if anything about the event is unfamiliar, it can bring on some unwelcome physiological reaction again, never as much though, and you learn to play through it.

Congrats on being back on the Horse so soon,
Canonie
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1312405 - 11/25/09 07:36 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Canonie]
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I still haven't quite gotten over my summer camp this year. Totally froze about 2/3 the way through, tried to finish but ended up apologizing and promising to try during the second half....which I of course did not do.... Funny two years ago I had a great experience for my very first recital.

After that experience it took about 4 days for me to get back on the bench and about a month before I could play that piece without that sick feeling in my stomach.

I don't know if I can do it again.... I'll go to camp but may choose not to perform in the recital. If I do consider performing, I will make sure that I practice performing many times for family and friends before going to camp. I think we have to decide if performing for others is important to us. I have a friend who says that he likes to read but doesn't read out loud.... so why does he have to play for anyone other than himself...hmmmmm
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#1312483 - 11/25/09 10:00 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Zenobe]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Someone a while back described these "voices in our heads" while we are performing as a comedy going on in our brains. For sure! It truly is! One voice starts yakking away and then another chimes in and bam, we lose our focus.
So how to get rid of (or subdue) the talking voices?
I have suffered with this problem for many years and find the following helps:
Redirect your focus when the yakking starts. Focus your awareness on a part of your body, for example, your shoulders, relaxing. Or shift your focus to listening closely to one hand or the other. Be aware of the yakking voices starting and then consciously shift your focus, rather than fighting with the voices.
I think you have a great attitude and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, too!
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Piano Teacher

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#1312520 - 11/25/09 11:23 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Barb860]
AlleyKatt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Congratulations! You should be extremely proud of yourself even if it didn't go exactly as planned. Playing in front of 50 people is not a small accomplishment! At my first recital I was so nervous that I ended up playing with the right hand only for a good portion of the piece.

It's great you have your kids to encourage you! You've obviously taught them well!!

Have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

AK
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"Without music, life would be a mistake." ~ Friedrich Neitzsche

http://www.youtube.com/user/Alleycat299

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#1312569 - 11/26/09 01:36 AM Re: First recital pain [Re: Barb860]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Someone a while back described these "voices in our heads" while we are performing as a comedy going on in our brains. For sure! It truly is! One voice starts yakking away and then another chimes in and bam, we lose our focus.
There's a kind of acceptance that one needs to have. Memory is still (and no doubt always will be) a mystery. Stuff goes into its dark pit and somehow we retrieve it when required. To want the security of knowing we know is asking too much. Chill.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1312950 - 11/26/09 08:21 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Barb860]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Someone a while back described these "voices in our heads" while we are performing as a comedy going on in our brains. For sure! It truly is! One voice starts yakking away and then another chimes in and bam, we lose our focus.


I think you might be referring to my post in this thread

Disaster performance

There were, at a minimum, 3 different voices in the "Monty Python skit" going on in my head...
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My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1357167 - 01/24/10 04:02 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: ProdigalPianist]
TinyHands Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 92
Loc: Reston, Virginia
I have just done mine today. The very first recital in my life. I started taking lesson in September last year.

I played 2 pieces. The first on was a duet (Carol Matz's Waterfall and the second one was a solo (Burgmuller's The Limpid Stream).

(I think) I did well at home and at the lesson. Got all the dynamics nailed down. I was so sure that things would go well, especially the duet. But then right when I stepped on the stage my hands were shaking, then not really hearing the what I played, then not seeing the keys (I mean it is like you see but you don't know what you see).

And we did stop at one point when we played the duet. grrrrrr

I think one big mistake I made is that I arrived there only 10 minutes before the recital started. I didn't go up and practice at the piano on the stage. frown And of course the touch of keys are different from my piano and my teacher's baby grand.

The funny thing is most of the adults made mistakes. So it must be the nerve!

But this won't stop me from doing another recital. (Actually there should be a recital every week!) grin


TinyHands



Edited by TinyHands (01/24/10 04:06 PM)
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#1357459 - 01/25/10 12:53 AM Re: First recital pain [Re: TinyHands]
AlleyKatt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Congratulations TinyHands! You should be extremely proud of yourself! I'm sure things went better than what you thought since we tend to be our own worst critiques.

I know just what you mean about seeing the keys but not really seeing them. I think my hands just go into automatic pilot while my brain is kinda "freaking out"! It can be a surreal experience. I love your attitude about it all and glad to know your experience didn't discourage you from doing another recital.

Congratulations again!!

Alley
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"Without music, life would be a mistake." ~ Friedrich Neitzsche

http://www.youtube.com/user/Alleycat299

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#1357467 - 01/25/10 01:06 AM Re: First recital pain [Re: AlleyKatt]
AlleyKatt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
More more thing OT, TinyHands. I love the quote by Randy Pausch that you have on your signature. What an inspiration he's been to so many, including myself.

Best Regards,
Alley
_________________________
"Without music, life would be a mistake." ~ Friedrich Neitzsche

http://www.youtube.com/user/Alleycat299

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#1357502 - 01/25/10 03:32 AM Re: First recital pain [Re: AlleyKatt]
PianoU1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/09
Posts: 93
Loc: uk
Here is some useful advice for overcoming performance anxiety
golden rules
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Piano Yamaha U1
Studying Grade 8 piano and 6 theory

Currently working on:
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#1357626 - 01/25/10 10:54 AM Re: First recital pain [Re: PianoU1]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
For me eliminating the mistakes in performance is all about reducing risk, which I define as "uncertainty".

Eliminate the risk and you eliminate the problem.

Possible Risks:

- Memorization.

Fixes may include playing each part hands seperately with the opposing hand, not caring for fingering or tempo necessarily. Starting at random measures and playing through. Write out the fingering and practice the piece by only looking at the fingering/ memorize the fingering.

- Fear/ Adrenaline

Fixes may be to play more infront of more forgiving and non caring audiences (senior retirement homes) or play easier pieces than you are capable of.

Those are my big problems when I perform. And yes its easier said than done.
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#1357778 - 01/25/10 01:52 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: D4v3]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
TinyHands,

I just did my second recital last month. I made mistakes, too. The thing is not to stop, and just keep going. You know what key the piece is in, you know the key from practicing your scales, and you know idea behind the piece. So just fake it for awhile!

I totally blew my piece. I just made sure I stopped on the tonic, got up and smiled and bowed and walked off. My teacher was very happy with the improvising. Later, people from the audience told me how great the piece sounded. One of the keys, I think, is to play something nobody knows, Turk, Kirnbeger, and such.
_________________________
Gary Schenk

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#1358038 - 01/25/10 08:15 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: Plowboy]
TinyHands Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 92
Loc: Reston, Virginia
Thank you for support, advices and sharing your stories. I think I already got over it. (Because I don't really remember much what I did. :D) It's just 2 minutes in my life. I am not gonna let it bother me for too long. (But I exclaimed "Ugh!" out loud a few times today after my mind went back to yesterday.)

I totally agree with the golden rules especially the auto pilot one. I think I pulled my solo piece through because of this. But honestly I still wonder how those performers' mind work.

Anyway, the most important thing is I had fun and the recital was inspiring. It's also such a joy watching kids and adults playing music in the same room and we don't even know each others.

TinyHands
_________________________
“Brick walls are there for a reason, they let us prove how badly we want something.“ - Randy Pausch


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#1358044 - 01/25/10 08:24 PM Re: First recital pain [Re: jotur]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: jotur

Your bravery is commendable. There are several people in the ABF who have had this experience...


Actually, everyone who has ever played in front of people has had that experience. laugh
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