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#530845 - 12/26/07 06:52 PM Performing
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
Obviously when performing one's going to be nervous, or anxious, maybe feeling that a few days before the performance even, etc. and are likely to not play a piece as good as they would do in practise, on their own without pressure.

But when I have to perform, I find myself growing extremely agitated during the days before, and get ridiculously perfectonistic (is that a word?) about my pieces, to the point that I see the performce as a test, which is almost impossible to pass, and so I grow to dread performacnes and just want to get it over with, apart from a much longer time before a performance, where I enjoy the thought of playing to others because I feel by that time I will be able to play the piece perfect. I know I need to learn that such perfection is indeed impossible, for anyone (and a "perfect" performance from me would still be poorer than most decent pianists, where interpretation is concerned), and I need to enjoy the feeling of playing to other people, despite one or two minor, unnoticed errors.

Does anyone feel that perfroming is a test for yourself, and if you do, what do you do to stop that?

Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#530846 - 12/26/07 08:05 PM Re: Performing
jazzyprof Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2720
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Pray that you become merely the vessel through whom the music flows, on its way to edifying the audience.
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

#530847 - 12/26/07 08:08 PM Re: Performing
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
It is sort of the individual's perspective on performing, I think. If one is thoroughly prepared then a certain degree of nervousness might manifest itself but not to such a point that it would disturb the performance. Being poorly prepared on the other hand would most likely cause severe nerves. It pretty much depends on your self-confidence. Some genuinely enjoy being in front of an audience and display little or no nervousness while others seem to fall apart totally. Then there's the middle ground where some are more confident than others.

Ganz would tell us in repertoire class of great pianists, Horowitz, Rachmaninoff, etc., who forgot or made mistakes. As you said no one is perfect. Henselt, one of the REALLY great pianists, had to be pushed out on the stage. Von Lenz tells of approaching his studio and hearing the most wonderful tones emanating through the window. After entering and in Henselt's presence, Henselt could hardly play.

If you feel nervous then you should play as often as you can for friends, relatives, school, etc. to get over your feeling. If you intend to perform then you must control yourself. Others will have suggestions but in the end it's YOU who must learn to deal with it.

#530848 - 12/27/07 10:28 AM Re: Performing
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Japan
I haven't the performing experience of some people on this board. I know and hate this feeling you describe and it happens to everyone.

But the last time I performed publicly I had hand shake for the first minute. Then, I got a grip on myself and told myself firmly that I had worked so hard and I was definitely not going to let my nerves spoil my concert. I then relaxed and I began to focus on the beauty of the instrument and enjoyed playing the music, without any other distracting thought.

During lessons the teacher would stand just next to me and coldly scrutinise me. I would more often than not start making stupid errors until I got used to this and actually it helped. Playing for an audience, they are removed and can't see much so it is actually easier.

Some music is easier to memorise than others. Most new performers are worried about memory lapses. But if you learn the piece in sections and give them a nickname it helps dramatically.
There was a separate post on this a while ago which was useful.

Always perform repertoire a little below your ability level especially for the opening pieces. And do not do anything different to your last pracice. Wear it like a familar old coat. But wear it well. I think if you can just play a few local concerts and muster through you can then build on the experience knowing what to expect.

I think it also helps to practice your walk and preliminary bow to help you feel familar.
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

#530849 - 12/27/07 11:21 AM Re: Performing
RhondaLynne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 119
Loc: Chicago
Originally posted by Arabesque:
Always perform repertoire a little below your ability level especially for the opening pieces. And do not do anything different to your last pracice. Wear it like a familar old coat. But wear it well. I think if you can just play a few local concerts and muster through you can then build on the experience knowing what to expect.

I have performed twice now for what we call here in Highland Park "LateNite" and the very first thing I learned is to start with something easy. It warms me up and helps me relax (although relaxing for me at this point means those hands on the keyboard might belong to me but I'm still not sure). I've read and heard that you loose something like 25% of your brain power when you perform, so you have to know your pieces 125% (or something like that), not just 100%. And it is also true that no one really knows when you play wrong notes, except maybe that Hallelujah chorus bit someone posted on another thread. \:D


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