Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
Who's Online
71 registered (angga888, ando, AZNpiano, Baroque Style, Anne H, 24 invisible), 1127 Guests and 11 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Topic Options
#1385082 - 02/28/10 08:16 PM Mind Tracks During Performance
tranquillo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/09
Posts: 143
I am looking for tips to enhance concentration during performance. I concentrate very well during practice times, however, when under the most performance pressure, find that my mind develops several tracks of distracting thought.

One track is playing, one track is surveying the audience, and one track is evaluating what I just played. I find this reduces the ability I have to maximize the communication of the piece.

I am not new to playing in public, but have newly returned to lessons which I value greatly.

I am looking for what has worked for you, a variety of tips. Much appreciated.
_________________________
Baldwin
Charles Walter

Top
(ads P/S)

Sauter Pianos

#1385099 - 02/28/10 08:40 PM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: tranquillo]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Train yourself during practice to focus all your attention on the music. Also, play publically as much as possible and when you find a train of thought going off in a non-playing direction, just acknowledge it and let it go. Bring your mind back to the music by counting, or recalling the name of the section you're playing (sometimes I name sections just for that purpose). Basically you have to learn how to distract yourself. The worst thing you can do is comment on your own monkey-mind (monkey-mind is a term from Zen mediation).

Say you find yourself evaluating your playing, and then you think "oh, there I go again, d*mn it!" then that's not going to bring your thoughts back into singular focus. Just let the thoughts go.

I think you have to practice this during practice time. Especially the evaluating bit, because most of the time during practice, we are evaluating our own playing, because that's how we know what to work on next, or whether we're progressing etc. So sometimes decide "ok, I am just going to play and experience this piece. No judging, no monkey mind." If you can't do this in practice, you won't be able to do it in performance.

If you haven't read it already, read The Inner Game of Music. Some people recommend Zen and the Art of Archery as well, but there were some specific reasons why that book didn't speak to my own needs or approach.

Good luck!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




Top
#1385265 - 03/01/10 02:21 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: ShiroKuro]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Store your performance where adrenaline can't get at it.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1385306 - 03/01/10 05:28 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: keyboardklutz]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 783
Loc: Dorset, UK
ShiroKuro is right. In the West we are rediscovering what Eastern religions/philosphies have known for millennia, but we have a new name for it, of course. It's called Mindfulness - stacks of stuff on the Web. It's even crept into the "in" therapy, CBT. (As a former therapist, I pinched it from CBT, for myself and my clients) Our mind will always wander, but as ShiroKuro said, note it, without blame, irritation, or any other emotion, then return to the subject in hand, in this case, performing. (You can, of course, note the emotion, e.g. at wrong note(s) and unemotionally return to the concentration on what you are now playing) You can practise this in all sorts of ways, just for a few minutes at a time, in order to train the mind to quietly return to the chosen subject. E.g. holding a stone and feeling the complexity of its surfaces for a minute. Eventually, you can enable the mind to do this without an external prompt. Mind control? Well, no. As Shirokuro said, it's a letting go of the distractions, with an acceptance that they will occur, and return. And yes, it's good practice to "perform" in private, as if we were in public. Actually, we can learn a lot about our approach to the music this way. Mindfulness also includes the ability to recall the distractions after the event - it's part of the process of training the mind - so we can recall the errors, or, more importantly, the different way of playing a passage in the heat of 'performance' that we wish to incorporate in the future. Maybe a little cresc, rall, accent etc.
It also links with the recent plethora of publications about living in the 'now'. Letting go and returning to the chosen issue is living in the now. I'm sure most of know the wonderful feeling of being totally immersed in the now. Mindfulness enables us to do this, when we choose. But it's not obligatory!!!

Top
#1385353 - 03/01/10 07:50 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: sandalholme]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
One small thing for mindfulness - Don't try to be mindful of the music: mind the music. What I mean is that if you concentrate on not being distracted, or on concentrating on the music, then you are not thinking about the music, you are watching yourself whether you are thinking about the music. You are immersed in observing yourself, rather than immersed in the music. It's a tricky thing, since you have to catch yourself if your mind wanders off, but then you have to put yourself immediately into what you are supposed to be doing, rather than continuing to think about whether your mind is wandering.

It's hard to write down. I think when I discovered it, I programmed myself that "If I am distracted, I will immediately look at the music and concentrate on playing what I have been practising to play." (or something like that) and then doing it.

The only time I got to try it out was at a recital where a little boy shuffled his feet noisily, as if his shoes were sandpaper. I lost the RH, kept going with the LH, and directed my focus back on the music while concentrating on details I had practised all those hours. That shut out the little boy. The only thing that existed was playing the music. That worked.

Quote:
Mindfulness also includes the ability to recall the distractions after the event - it's part of the process of training the mind - so we can recall the errors, or, more importantly, the different way of playing a passage in the heat of 'performance' that we wish to incorporate in the future.

Yes, recalling that distraction was useful. Reliving it, I realized that the boy's shuffling feet gave the message, "Hurry up and finish already." That gave me the impulse (which I would have followed, had the written music not brought me back) to speed up and rush through it. It made me want to pull back, play apologetically, and hesitate. In a conversation, we take cues from the other person, and change the subject or how we talk about it based on his body language. I realized that a performance is not a conversation in that sense.

This led to discussing it with my teacher. What is our relationship to the audience? Do we shut them out and ignore them? If we respond and take energy, will we get pulled out of our centre? It seemed that the performer must be in command, and not be apologetic for his performance. He also has the "agenda" of what he will play. That's the kind of thing we came up with after that little recital, and observing what had happened.


Top
#1385388 - 03/01/10 09:07 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: keystring]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Come again?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1385423 - 03/01/10 09:52 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: keyboardklutz]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 783
Loc: Dorset, UK
keystring: agreed - yes, we are aware of the audience and no, it's not a dialogue as such. I believe the communication from the audience is received unconsciously - unless they get up and walk out, or start booing! - and it has a definite positive or negative effect. A "receptive" audience makes it easier for us to settle and play with freedom. A bored or hostile audience unsettles us, reduces our freedom to express ourselves. We also help to set the audience's mood/communication: if we are tense and nervous, this will get transmitted to the audience, even if unconsciously.
We all know how we sense the atmosphere of a populated room when we walk into it - and can get it wrong, of course - as we can sense the unspoken reaction of a person to something we did/didn't do, said/didn't say, even if we cannot see the other person's expression.
Having said that, we still need to return to our concentration on the music, to communicate it as we feel it. Ultimately, although it sounds arrogant to say it, our own opinion on our playing is the most important.

Top
#1385432 - 03/01/10 10:03 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: sandalholme]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Quote:
I believe the communication from the audience is received unconsciously

On that particular day I played two pieces. The second one carried a powerful emotion. Within 5 seconds the typical restless recital audience became absolutely silent and stayed that way. That silence hit like a "whoomp" and it took a lot of effort not to be distracted by emotion at their response, and losing concentration that way. You want to soak in the audience response, and that will make you lose the piece. That was the feeling.
Quote:
We also help to set the audience's mood/communication: if we are tense and nervous, this will get transmitted to the audience, even if unconsciously.

Sage advice.

Top
#1385463 - 03/01/10 10:45 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: keystring]
Pete M. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 125
Loc: California
I agree with the comments about mindfulness. I'm not a Buddhist, but some of the teachings about meditation and mindfulness really helped me focus on playing (and in turn, increased my enjoyment of it).
_________________________
Looking for piano learning resources or interesting piano stories? Check out my piano blog.

Top
#1387618 - 03/03/10 08:51 PM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: Pete M.]
tranquillo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/09
Posts: 143
Awesome responses, all.

Yes, I can get caught up in evaluating my evaluating, and I like the kindness inherent in accepting that and moving on rather than being distracted with regrets on top of the other distractions.

Definitely something to practice at home.

I have some of my program where adrenalin won't reach it, still working on it.

I learned never to admit nervousness to well-meaning supporters before playing, fast track to sweaty palms. No, it's not about me, it's about the music and its message.
_________________________
Baldwin
Charles Walter

Top
#1387772 - 03/04/10 01:26 AM Re: Mind Tracks During Performance [Re: tranquillo]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: tranquillo
I have some of my program where adrenalin won't reach it, still working on it.
You understand? Then you'll realize putting your program out of reach is only a matter of hard work. This is why a public performance takes ten times as much preparation time as a private, so don't plan that for everything.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top

Moderator:  BB Player, casinitaly 
What's Hot!!
Christmas Header
Christmas Lights at Piano World Headquarters in Maine 2014
-------------------
The December Free Piano Newsletter
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Bottom of hammer hitting top of damper on upright
by JoeThePro
12/21/14 10:09 PM
Getting better
by Kekewak
12/21/14 07:35 PM
Pearl River vs. Samick
by Zekk
12/21/14 03:41 PM
Kawai vs. Yamaha: what to choose
by SeeSharp
12/21/14 02:19 PM
Disklavier Pro Alternatives? C5X Value for money?
by bryan77
12/21/14 01:15 PM
Forum Stats
77391 Members
42 Forums
160048 Topics
2350347 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission