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#1499599 - 08/19/10 10:57 PM Your most embarrasing performance moment?
pianoman6584 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 109
I had taken an intro piano course in 9th grade. I remember my first year of piano, 15 years old, I was basically seen as the prodigy of the class. Within the first couple of months, I had dragged my way through Joplin's The Entertainer pretty much note for note. My sight reading skills were non-existent, but my folder was stuffed to the brim with ragtime pieces well beyond my ability, not to mention I didn't know much theory so memorization was difficult. I just saw notes and memorized the motions.

Well eventually I had a recital at my school and with my palms sweaty and heart thumping, I greeted the audience and sat down ready to begin. Firstly, I had trouble identiying exactly where to begin haha, but some how I did. I started off steady, but then my arms began to tremble and they went out of sync. I survived for about 5 seconds until BOOM, it's as if everything went blank. Where am I, what am I doing here? What happened to all that stuff I learned? I must have attempted to start over about 3 more times until I laughed in embarrasment and walked back behind the stage.

Eventually, I gained more confidence and at the end of the year, performed the Maple Leaf Rag as the finale to the gold recital.

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#1499601 - 08/19/10 11:05 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: pianoman6584]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Glad you recovered from it as you did!

I had something sort of like that when I started performing after a while away from it. I had scheduled some recitals, and at the first one, as soon as I got out there I was shaking, and it wouldn't stop. I didn't really embarrass myself, except that obviously I couldn't have been playing too great ha but it was just so unpleasant..... So, while I was up there, I knew that I was going to cancel the rest of the concerts -- that was a no-brainer; the only question was if I'd come back out for the 2nd half of this one. But then, as soon as I got backstage for intermission, somehow the tension went away, maybe because I had survived ha .....I laughed it off (literally) and was fine for the rest of the concert and for the other ones.

"Most embarrassing moment" was something else, actually 4 moments of the same thing over and over again, a few years ago. I kept putting this Scarlatti sonata on my programs, even though it wasn't going well. I just couldn't believe that I couldn't really play it, even though it was clear that I couldn't really. It wasn't like having my pants down or anything like that ha but the piece stuck out like a sore thumb, and I'm sure I didn't look very smart keeping on playing it. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499602 - 08/19/10 11:13 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: pianoman6584]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 832
Oh boy. I have too many...I guess the worst would be one time when I was asked to play for some local youth honors recital type thing (oh why did they pick me?). I was playing "The Girl With the Flaxen Hair", and I got totally lost. I stopped and asked if I could start over, right in the middle of my performance blush. Meh. However, I have performed the heck out of that piece since, and now I can sit down and play it for you at the drop of a hat. But seriously, I can't count the times that happened to me in my early years of piano performing.

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#1499614 - 08/19/10 11:29 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2359
Loc: San Jose, CA
I was in the middle of accompanying a violin sonata, and suddenly I had to sneeze. So what could I do? I turned to the page turner and did what I had to, without missing a beat. They both gave me the most shocked look for a second, then went on with the job at hand.

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#1499616 - 08/19/10 11:31 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: jeffreyjones]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
You sneezed on your page turner??!
_________________________

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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#1499617 - 08/19/10 11:31 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: jeffreyjones]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I was in the middle of accompanying a violin sonata, and suddenly I had to sneeze.....

Very unusual. smile
Why does that never happen?
I have a theory. ha

I'm guessing it's because of the adrenalin pouring through our systems. Adrenalin (same as epinephrine) is just about the strongest antihistamine there is -- and antihistamines prevent that kind of thing (coughing too).

I'd have to guess that you weren't very nervous or hyped up for that concert. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499620 - 08/19/10 11:41 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Mark_C]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Well...not a performance and not involving me... but my good friend's mother went up to the rail to take Communion when suddenly the elastic on her panties broke. They sank to her ankles - in front of the entire congregation. She calmly stepped out of them, stuffed them into her handbag and went back to her seat.
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Deborah

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#1499621 - 08/19/10 11:43 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: gooddog]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: gooddog
....my good friend's mother went up to the rail to take Communion when suddenly the elastic on her panties broke. They sank to her ankles - in front of the entire congregation. She calmly stepped out of them, stuffed them into her handbag and went back to her seat.





(sorry) ha
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499626 - 08/19/10 11:57 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: jeffreyjones]
pianoman6584 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 109
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I was in the middle of accompanying a violin sonata, and suddenly I had to sneeze. So what could I do? I turned to the page turner and did what I had to, without missing a beat. They both gave me the most shocked look for a second, then went on with the job at hand.


ROFL. I love it, especially "without missing a beat." Haha,

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#1499627 - 08/19/10 11:59 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: pianoman6584]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: pianoman6584
....ROFL. I love it, especially "without missing a beat." Haha,

He didn't miss a beat because he wasn't hyped up or nervous. ha
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499631 - 08/20/10 12:19 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Mark_C]
MikeN Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 579
Loc: Ohio
I remember the second time I performed. I had decided to play Un Sospiro and Chopin Etude Op.10 No.1. Well the Liszt was ok, like anything of my first year it was sloppy, but by the third chord of the etude I had a memory lapse so I faked 99% of the piece and somehow I was able to find the Cmajor chord to end it on. I have no idea why I decided to program such a piece

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#1499634 - 08/20/10 12:26 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: MikeN]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
My most embarrassing moment was during an organ competition. I played my piece which was roughly 8 mins long - and as always - about halfway through the piece my right leg began to shake from nerves. For some reason that's always the way my nerves showed themselves in performance wink I got through the piece - even though I was sure my shaking leg was resulting in horrible mess ups in the pedal sections.

I bowed to the audience and went to walk off stage and down the stairs - and my legs gave way and I fell down the stairs and landed on my backside right in front of the judges.

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#1499637 - 08/20/10 12:34 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: LimeFriday]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: LimeFriday
.....my legs gave way and I fell down the stairs and landed on my backside right in front of the judges.

_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499639 - 08/20/10 12:35 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: LimeFriday]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
(Just kidding. The thread is great.) smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499652 - 08/20/10 01:35 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Mark_C]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
I'm just thankful my sister had stopped videotaping it just after I bowed - otherwise I'm sure that by now she would have sent the clip to Australia's Funniest home videos wink

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#1499660 - 08/20/10 02:07 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: LimeFriday]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: LimeFriday
I'm just thankful my sister had stopped videotaping it just after I bowed - otherwise I'm sure that by now she would have sent the clip to Australia's Funniest home videos wink

.....and we're all thankful that (presumably) you didn't get hurt....
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1499692 - 08/20/10 04:22 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: LimeFriday]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: LimeFriday

I bowed to the audience and went to walk off stage and down the stairs - and my legs gave way and I fell down the stairs and landed on my backside right in front of the judges.

My jaw dropped to the floor, wow! You win LimeF, nothing could top that for embarrassment and sheer drama.

Very sorry you couldn't post a link to video of it though...hehe

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#1499706 - 08/20/10 05:25 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Canonie]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
I've never been known for my class and elegance - lol

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#1499719 - 08/20/10 06:01 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Mark_C]
DianneB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 89
I was a page turner for my college piano professor who was doing a fab two piano duet with another prof. He had a terrible habit of bobbing his head throughout the performance. This time I mistook his head bob for an indication to turn the page...I was wrong, and he struggled through several measures before recovering his pace. I'll never forget the silence and the glaring look he gave me.

He never asked me to turn pages again, thankfully.


Edited by DianneB (08/20/10 06:02 AM)

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#1499739 - 08/20/10 07:31 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: DianneB]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19466
Loc: New York City
I was playing a digital for some fast Sondheim song(can't remember the name ...it was almost like a patter song) a group of faculty was going to perform. I didn't realize that when the piano had been moved towards the center of the stage the plug had been pulled out. So I started the intro and nothing came out...everyone had a good laugh.

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#1499801 - 08/20/10 10:14 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: pianoloverus]
Emphursis1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/12/10
Posts: 118
Loc: England, Leicestershire
I've never performed in public, so no big embarrassing stories from me.
But last night I saw some friends I haven't seen for quite a while (since before I started learning actually), so I sat down, started to play and halfway through completely forgot what I was meant to be playing. I hadn't got the music out, because I thought I had it memorised perfectly. I had to stop and start again, it was horrible.
And then on the second attempt I hit a wrong note or two, played some bits too slowly and other two fast and there was one mortifying moment when I used way too much force with the little finger of my left hand when it was meant to be pp.
When they were out of the room, I tried again, just to prove to myself I could do it, and surprise surprise, I could!
_________________________
Repertoire:
Complete:
Beethoven- Op 27/2 'Moonlight' Mvt.1
Beethoven - Op 13 'Pathetique' Mvt.2

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#1499809 - 08/20/10 10:40 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Emphursis1]
Victor25 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 1676
Loc: The Netherlands
Sometimes I play for my friends and family, and even when its just horrible, I just continue. They think 99% of the time its part of the piece haha, so I wouldn't worry about it Emphursis1
_________________________
Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)

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#1499817 - 08/20/10 10:47 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Mark_C]
musiccr8r Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 270
Loc: Denver
I'll throw one in to keep this thread humming along, since I LOVE these sorts of stories, although I have to admit Mark C., the minute I read your words about "playing for recitals after some time away", my stomach clenched up as my mind contemplated recitals I'll be facing this fall (as an accompanist; would NEVER take to the stage by myself). And I'm even looking forward to them! frown Performance nerves suck.

So this was not embarrassing in terms of audience as much as messing up, just when I thought I was doing well...playing approx. an hour special performance with the church choir. A few of the things were a bit of a challenge for me and I was pleased things were going well. Midway there was communion or some other contemplative event and the director played an organ piece, which was supposed to just wind down and "end" (not a real ending or cadence) on a certain chord which was the same chord as the choir song to follow, so when he paused there I was supposed to jump in and start the intro for that as he got up and stepped up to direct. I got lost in the peaceful organ music and enjoying my break, and had no direct line of sight with him since I'm very short...it suddenly hit me, "Gee, it seems like it's been the same notes for awhile now..." and I pop my head up over my music stand to see him giving me a very wide-eyed, "Will you PLEASE start!!!" eyeball. I felt bad at the time but the memory of it kinda makes me giggle.

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#1499849 - 08/20/10 11:33 AM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: musiccr8r]
Pianoislove Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 3
I was playing Chopin's Waltz in F Minor (op. 70 no. 2) for my teacher's end of the year recital in 11th grade. She had very informal recitals at her house, with no specific order to the program; you had to volunteer by raising your hand. Feeling brave, I raised my hand early on, and got up to play my piece feeling confident. Well, I don't know what happened, but when I reached the first cadence, right before the main theme returns, I went blank. I forgot where I was in the music, the keys all looked foreign. Completely blank. After a few seconds of awkward silence, I somehow found my way back, and played fine until the next cadence. Again, blank. Same thing - awkward silence and a mumbled "sorry" to the audience and then found my way back. By this time I had completely lost composure and was on the verge of tears, and as I played on I kept anticipating and dreading the next cadence, which of course set myself up for failure. Third time - same spot, same thing. I turned to my teacher and said, I'm sorry, I have no idea where I am. She handed me the music in the middle of my performance. I was so mortified. I don't even remember if I made it to the end of the piece, but I do remember crying in my seat through the rest of the recital.

In retrospect, it probably wasn't *that* horrible of an ordeal, but I was an overly sensitive teenager! To this day, 6 years later, I can't even laugh about it.

And a sidenote to Mark_C - VERY interesting about adrenaline and antihistamine! I competed in a concerto competition in college with the first movement of the Grieg, after being hit by the worst head cold the day before. In the hallway waiting to go in, I was sneezing, hacking up a lung, dripping like a faucet etc., wondering how I would ever make it through on stage. As I started to play my symptoms completely went away. I thought it was a miracle, but I guess your theory is a more logical explanation! haha. (And I won the competition smile )

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#1499915 - 08/20/10 01:30 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Pianoislove]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4978
Loc: boston north
WOW P/islove

Glad you recouped to then go on to win a competition.

Many of us go completely blank.

I can easlily do that in a lesson! It is the oddest thing to have happen. Like you stare at the music and do not comprehend, fingers not responding even from muscle memory.

It happened yesterday. Not good when the lesson is on interpretation, looseness, and technique, and ones fingers become frozen/glued to the keyboard - exactly what i am 'not' suppose to be doing. I became like a frozen icicle. ;-(

I guess what I am saying is that it does not need to be a recital, exhibition, or competition. When 'the nerves' kick in, they spoil everything.

I used to be able to memorize by chord structure and studying the piece. That now seems to be gone as I have aged, so I need to rely on reading the music more. When I freeze such as you did, the music is like a foreign language.

Must get a bunch of bananas!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1499939 - 08/20/10 02:27 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: lilylady]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Me: Well, I was playing in a master class led by David Bar Ilan. I was fifteen and mighty shy. The piece was the ubiquitous prelude in C-sharp minor by guess who. Well, I'm announced and I walk out on stage. Bar Ilan looks at the program and says to the audience something like, "well, we've never heard this before, have we ...." to much laughter. I was mortified. Added to my natural performance anxiety, I proceeded to live down to his expectations. I don't think I ever forgave him, and I never again participated in a master class.
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Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1499948 - 08/20/10 02:37 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Piano*Dad]
MikeN Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 579
Loc: Ohio
I would have probably gone red with anger if he did that before I played the piece.

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#1499951 - 08/20/10 02:40 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Piano*Dad]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
rude comments like Bar Ilan's can sometimes do huge amounts of damage. He could at least have modified it, with some kind of "let's see how it is THIS time" or "it gets played lots because of . . . ".
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#1499952 - 08/20/10 02:42 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: MikeN]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
The ability to fire back successfully at someone like that who shows you casual disrespect is a function of your age, wisdom, maturity, and training. I was a bit short on all of these. So I just came a bit unglued instead. smile
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1499956 - 08/20/10 02:54 PM Re: Your most embarrasing performance moment? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19800
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Me: Well, I was playing in a master class led by David Bar Ilan. I was fifteen and mighty shy. The piece was the ubiquitous prelude in C-sharp minor by guess who. Well, I'm announced and I walk out on stage. Bar Ilan looks at the program and says to the audience something like, "well, we've never heard this before, have we ...." to much laughter. I was mortified. Added to my natural performance anxiety, I proceeded to live down to his expectations. I don't think I ever forgave him, and I never again participated in a master class.

I have good news for you. smile
I heard him play, once. I thought he wasn't that good. ha
In fact, there were truly things about him that I disliked -- not so much his playing, but him.

About not 'firing back' at him: you can't really fire back in such a situation. There's a much greater downside than upside.

P.S. Don't give up on still getting past that some day, maybe soon.
Maybe being on here like this can help you get there. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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