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#2154472 - 09/20/13 01:34 PM question about preparing for a performance
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
I'm preparing a piece for a recital coming up in a little over two weeks. I've been playing for 3 years now and my teacher convinced me to participate in some small recitals. It has been really beneficial to work towards a recital and strive for perfection of a piece.

So now I have a new problem that I've never had before. I feel like I'm ready for this performance after practicing for a couple months and now I'm not sure exactly what to do in the next two weeks to prepare. In other words, I sort of peaked too early and now need to figure out how to maintain this performance level for the next two weeks.

Any ideas? Is it just playing it from start to beginning like I would as a performance or would I do better continuing to focus on small sections? Do I practice it super slow? I'm not sure what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

The similar question would be how do I maintain a piece in my repertoire after I feel I've gotten it to the best I can do?

Thanks.

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#2154483 - 09/20/13 01:46 PM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: dcb]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
How about "performing" for friends and family, or in a public place (church, shopping mall). If you have never done this on a stage with lots of eyes upon you, you may discover what many before you have learned. The act of practicing alone is not the same as the act of performing publicly. Good practice at home is essential for building true command of a piece, but maintaining that command during a public performance is often helped by long experience of playing in public.
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#2154488 - 09/20/13 01:58 PM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: dcb]
dcb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 199
That makes sense. It is amazing how you can play something perfectly over and over again at home and then when a dozen eyes are watching it has the potential to fall apart.

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#2154492 - 09/20/13 02:01 PM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: dcb]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5509
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I find that I have to know it well enough that I can fake it in a performance :\ As Piano*Dad says, playing it in public is often quite different than playing it at home. It's a great idea to have several "pre-performance" performances.

As for keeping it in repertoire, I deal with that all the time. I have 40+ some tunes (a little over 2 hours of music) that I play in retirement/assisted living homes. Almost none of them can I just sit down and play if I haven't reviewed them in a couple of weeks. The ones I *can* do that with are the ones where I've spent a lot of time making up bass lines, figuring out the chord progressions, hearing the transitions from one section to the next, and in short understanding the music and not just playing from physical memory. It's like I have to recognize the innards of the tune to have it stick.

So, I try to understand each piece I play - in the way it sounds, in the way it feels in my body, in the way it looks when I play it, intellectually, physically. And some of them stick smile And some I review for a week or two before I play them.

Cathy
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#2154505 - 09/20/13 02:18 PM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: dcb]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Even just practicing recording it could help you dearly. What I mean is: how many "tries" does it take to get a good recording (and not because of outside distractions like the doorbell ringing, the significant other interrupting, etc.) - this could help indicate whether or not the piece is really "ready" and to your liking without the risk of falling apart in public. You could then post your best recording on the Pianist Corner's Member Recordings and/or here for critique. Maybe there are still minute hiccups that could be drilled with slow practice here and there - our own ears are often deceitful!

Lastly, once all of that is good and done, there's no performance preparation that quite compares to - you guessed it - actually performing; anywhere and everywhere for anyone and everyone.

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#2154642 - 09/20/13 05:32 PM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: dcb]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
It's also ok to take a short break -- play something else for a few days, perhaps -- then get back into it with a "fresh" perspective.
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#2154782 - 09/20/13 10:39 PM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: peekay]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1023
Loc: Southern California
There are lots of things to do. I like to have a piece memorized so that I can play it with my eyes closed, with the sound off, and away from the instrument. Pick some spots to start practice at, such as 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4 of the way through. This will reinforce the memory and in case of a fault allow a person to recover more gracefully.

Performing the piece for friends and family is a good idea. A few performers practice with distractions, just so they get used to it. However, in a recital venue distractions aren't that common vs. some other venues.

Good diet, exercise, sleep, in the days leading up to performance are common sense, but often neglected. Day of the event, I eat light, stay hydrated, get some exercise. Day of, I might do one or two quick practice runs, and also one or more mental run throughs.

If the instrument is unfamiliar try and get a chance at it by arriving early, but don't over do the practice run. If the location is unfamiliar, allow plenty of extra time. I like to pack everything I am taking to the venue the day before, when my mind is clear.

If a person hasn't done a lot of performing, try to keep playing no matter what. Among the worst faults are pauses and halts. Try to laugh off any mistakes, because this will help with the nerves. Getting angry or frustrated after a fault, only increases tension.

Remember to breathe. Many novice performers forget to breath, and have the inevitable train wreck after going into oxygen depletion. Take a deep breath before starting just in case. Many performers adopt pre-performance rituals, such as the deep breath, some relaxing music, or an amusing joke, or anything to steady the nerves. Even if memorized, I sometimes like a crib sheet with just the first few notes. If I can get a piece started, the muscle memory often takes over. For me, sheet music is not useful when I am nervous, but others like having it as a backup.


Edited by Sand Tiger (09/21/13 10:11 AM)
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#2154927 - 09/21/13 09:14 AM Re: question about preparing for a performance [Re: Sand Tiger]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
rehearse, eat, rest sleep and then start over again.

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