Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside..

Posted by: TTigg

Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 03:24 PM

good god that was nerve raking!

I've been learning piano now for approx 5.5mths so my teacher encouraged me (even though I am the only adult student) to take part in the recital for November (they hold them twice a year). So my piece was "At Sunrise" by Wayne Gratz. A New Ago artist and I simply his work.

So alongside my Alfred #2 homework I begin trying to polish up the piece. I've also got the music on my iPod and as I begin to get further in I spot more and more accidentals and or "changes" made by the artist. Sure I expect some changes here and there but the middle section was beginning to give me grief.

Well since Mr Gratz had emailed me thanking me for my order (for his book) I decided to email him back. That's when he confirmed "ah yes, the musical notation is quite a bit different to that of what I recorded. I was trying to simplify it.


Now simplify I get but man, the ENTIRE middle piece had changed, so I just had to "do what I could" with it. So I practiced, practiced and then just for good measure practiced some more. I spent literally hours n hours on this thing getting it to the point I was happy with.

The actual Recital day[/b]
OK so when I got to the church and saw the nice (and great sounding) Young Chang grand I began to get more than just a little nervous. I was playing last since my piece was some 5mins long and I am the most advanced student she has. At first I wasn't sure how to take that but my teacher re-assured me that yes, even though some had been playing for years at an early age, since I pick stuff up so quickly and can memorize very well I should go last.

So then it was my turn. I had instructed my wife on how to operate the video camera and I was all set (and so bloody nervous) I got up, went to the front, introduced myself, told them all what I was going to (try) to play.

At this point I was very nervous but was planning to come to terms with the possibility of missing notes, forgetting parts, even the shaking of the hands, I thought (at that point) I had thought of everything...

...I was very wrong....

I began the piece and I immediately thought to myself "good god this piano sounds so good" and no sooner could I think that it happened..

My bloody leg began to shake uncontrollably!

We're not talking a little nervous twitch here but full on shake and rolls. I couldn't believe it, I thought I had figured out how to cope with anything that was going to come my way. Considering this piece is pretty much all pedal I was hosed! I got through the piece missing (on purpose) the repeat to make it approx a 3m song as oppose to 5.

Of course everyone was very nice and some of the parents of the other kids came up and congratulated me on such a gorgeous sounding piece. Many of them saying they only hope that their kids can get to that level someday. This of course made me feel better but I was SO disappointed with my stoopid leg I just wanted to run home (but refreshments were afterwards so I couldn't).

Then as we were leaving my wife tried her best to make me feel better by saying it sounded wonderful and lovely oh and also added "don't worry, if it makes you feel any better the video camera was saying insert memory stick, so it never recorded" I then informed her that simply meant she'd done it wrong since it wouldn't have worked (very funny moment looking back)

All in all I am glad I've done it but I won't be too quick to jump on the the next one. I think I will concentrate on my other stuff now and will eventually polish this up for a nice recording maybe for the next ABF Recital when it rolls around.

Looking back maybe I could have stepped on my right leg with my left? Either way, if I ever find myself in this position again I'm going to keep a 25lb weight in the car handy and strap it to my leg
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 04:03 PM

TTigg,
Those darn nerves will get the best of anybody.
I give you so much credit just for doing the recital and getting through is despite the nerves. You should be very proud of yourself. I wouldn't be so quick to write off future recitals though. With more and more practice it will get easier and you will have better control over your nerves. Btw... there a so many adults who don't have the nerve to dream. Not only do you allow yourself to dream you are making them come true. I give you so much credit for that too.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 04:04 PM

Oh btw...
My singing teacher had me tape my last two lessons. Unfortunately I did not have any equipment malfunctions and the tape recorder worked just fine... oh well.
Posted by: TTigg

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 04:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Kymber:
TTigg,
Those darn nerves will get the best of anybody.
I give you so much credit just for doing the recital and getting through is despite the nerves. You should be very proud of yourself. I wouldn't be so quick to write off future recitals though. With more and more practice it will get easier and you will have better control over your nerves. Btw... there a so many adults who don't have the nerve to dream. Not only do you allow yourself to dream you are making them come true. I give you so much credit for that too.
[/b]
Thanks Kymber yep I was sure glad I did it and looking back it's easier than I felt on the day. I did feel very good when one of the parents asked me how many years I'd been playing
Posted by: Bex

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 04:56 PM

Playing in recitals is very nerve-wracking. Best way to combat nerves is to play in public more, not less. I started playing again after a 15-year hiatus. I used to perform in many recitals when I was in high school and college, but in my first recital as a full-fledged adult I was quite nervous and had a major memory slip. Since then, I've been performing at least once a month, and while I'm still very nervous, I can control my nerves more.
Posted by: Euphonatrix

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 06:37 PM

Hi TTig - congratulations on your success (yes, it's a success! You made it through your piece regardless of your nerves, you were in control and able to alter it and people liked your playing).
Btw: don't tie shaking legs down, the jitters will head straight for your hands....

I had a similar unpleasant surprise in my first recital: I had never even thought that my fingers could shake sideways until I sat down at the piano.

Maybe this helps: A few days before your next recital, sit down at your piano, close your eyes and relax. Imagine the whole recital situation to as many details as possible, imagine that you are happy and keen on letting people enjoy that beautiful piece of music you are going to play. Imagine how you go to the piano, sit down, that you feel excited and a bit nervous but that it's a good state which makes you more aware. Tell yourself your legs are relaxed and calm. Imagine how they feel when they are relaxed and calm. Then picture yourself playing, maybe go through your piece in your head. Of course, picture applause and imagine how glad and proud you are in the end.
Don't play, just make it happen in your head. Repeat every day.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 06:56 PM

Congrats...lets see the video... \:\)

You have guts, I couldn't do the live recital gig...
Posted by: TTigg

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 06:57 PM

Thanks all, great suggestions and tips. The other slightly annoying part was I sat back down @ the piano so my wife could get a better pic and yep... you guessed it... no more leg shaking! \:D

We'll see what I can put together for the next one which should be around Eastertime'sh..

Posted by: Key Notes

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 07:11 PM

Congratulations TTigg! Thanks for sharing your experiences and the laughs, even at your expense. I got nervous just reading about it. \:D

Good luck to you on all of your future recitals and performances.

Key Notes \:\)
Posted by: KaylaX

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 07:27 PM

That is sooooo awsome!!!!! Congrats to you. Wow, that must have ben so nerve racking.

Ive been playing for 7-months and my teacher does a X-mas recital and she told me that as an adult student I dont have to participate. I dont know. Part of me wants to try, but part of me is just sooo chicken. We shall see. At best I will go observe all of her younger students. But thank you for posting your experience. And....wow....Thats so awsome that you did it!!!! You have an awsome Happy Turkey day!!!!

KaylaX (formerly Aspenxtreme)
Posted by: mdsdurango

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 07:58 PM

The "shaking leg" thing about threw me to the floor! What a funny story. Good for you for giving the recital a go.
Maybe - if your teacher would be willing - you should ask her to give you two (or three) shots at two (or three) different pieces at intervals throughout the recital. Start FIRST with a simple short piece, about intermission play another, then later (or even last) get on with your five minute piece. Get the leg thing out of the way early. I think that by the third time on stage for an evening you would thrill your audience and feel right comfy sitting up there on a piano bench.
After all - you are the only adult AND the most advanced player. You deserve the deviance from protocol!
Posted by: saerra

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 08:10 PM

Woo-hoo! Congratulations! Very brave of you, I'm still avoiding recitals vigorously ;\)
Posted by: playadom

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 08:21 PM

Ahh, I had the same problem when I played at a church "talent show" one time...Everything was really messy cause my hands were shaking.

Then next time, I played Lizt's HR2[only the Friska] for another informal talent show. I would have won were I not quite unpopular at the time -- and competing against two cute, popular girls...who in all honesty gave a performance of somewhat questionable quality[you could say the same about mine though].

That probably fixed my recital fear.

Most recently was playing the Croatian Rhapsody in front of 500 people at a summer camp type activity.
Posted by: Eighty8

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 08:32 PM

You have taken a brave step. Something many wish they could do but the voice of doom holds them back. As stated above, it should be easier next time. Perhaps if you could find a time when you could practice on the performance piano before the recital it might help with hearing it and getting the feel of it. You should be proud.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 10:15 PM

Congratulations, TTigg! And thank you for the most entertaining post. \:\)

You should be very proud of yourself indeed. A shaky leg is quite minor in the large scheme of disasters that could happen (complete memory blocks, vomiting on the piano, the whole ten yards \:D ).

As the others have said, the more often you do it, the easier it gets. Take advantage of playing in front of people whenever you can... casual visitors, or stop by a hotel lobby piano, etc. etc.
Posted by: playadom

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 10:29 PM

Vomiting on the piano??? That's worse than a complete memory block!
Posted by: jotur

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 11:03 PM

bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha. Oh, sorry - when I was rock climbing we called it "sewing machine legs." I recognized it immediately!

Congratulations to the max on just keepin' on truckin' - *that's* the mark of a real pro. And laughing about it later - a piano player after my own heart!

Great story -

Cathy
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/24/08 11:30 PM

TTigg, you have a gift for storytelling. I was hanging on your every word. I can just picture you sitting down to the piano and getting that terminal case of the shakes. Reminds me of the first time I "performed" in a high school drama. Everything went fine in rehearsals, but when we went before the audience I got the shakes so badly that I was trying to hide somewhere for most of the performance. Dreadfully embarrassing at the time, but it's really quite funny in hindsight.

Any road, congratulations on your public performance. Just having the "nerve" to perform in public is a major accomplishment. Yes, that was a bad pun. I'm certain that it will be easier for you next time around.
Posted by: TTigg

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/25/08 08:42 AM

Thanks again everyone

Dennis, Yeah I've been told that many like to read my funny stories, I try to do what I can to put people "in the moment" so to speak.

For sure next time I'll be getting there super early so I can actually practice a little. As for playing in public, agreed, the more the merrier. Maybe next time I'm @ Nordies I'll pop on the piano

Posted by: Oxfords Gal

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/25/08 10:31 AM

Ttigg,

Good for you. It takes a lot of nerve to get up in front of an audience like that. Next time it'll be easier.

you have me lauhging out loud at your post. Not only are you a great pianist, you're a comedian as well. \:D
Posted by: TTigg

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/25/08 12:48 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by jotur:
bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha. Oh, sorry - when I was rock climbing we called it "sewing machine legs." I recognized it immediately!

Congratulations to the max on just keepin' on truckin' - *that's* the mark of a real pro. And laughing about it later - a piano player after my own heart!

Great story -

Cathy [/b]
Thanks Cathy and it's amazing that some things just can't be described. I told my wife about your post (she's an ex climber) and she immediately knew what you mean. Then she gasped as she realized what was going on with my leg.. \:D
Posted by: gabytu

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/25/08 06:33 PM

Congratulations TTigg. Shaking leg and all, you got through most of the composition. You are a real inspiration to those of us who are still too scared even to enter the ABF recitals, no less perform in a real recital.

Gotta ask my grand daughter who is a world champion rock climber about those "sewing machine legs."

Thanks for sharing that story with us. Gaby Tu
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/25/08 06:41 PM

Just think, next time it can only get better.

I have this problem with singing. I get so nervous that my whole throat shakes. One teacher called it "my natural vibrato." \:D And once it starts, I'm hosed.

I wonder if you might be able to practice at the recital venue before the next recital so that you feel more comfortable in that setting.

Anyway, good for you for getting through it the best you could! That's bravery!
Posted by: ProdigalPianist

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/25/08 06:43 PM

TTigg,
The only thing that really helps is just more performing in public. Especially multiple performances of the same piece(s). That way it's not just "one chance to play this right in public forever!"

When I was in college I was the accompanist for the singing group and jazz band. We "toured" local high schools in the spring semester and played the same show 2 or 3 times each Wednesday (tour day) for weeks. By the end of that experience, I had no performance anxiety to speak of...the effect even lasted a couple of years!
Posted by: Larisa

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 12:38 AM

TTigg, I had the exact same thing happen when I was spontaneously invited up on stage at a jazz club. I was there merely to listen, but a friend of mine knew the bandleader; before I knew it, I was up on stage being introduced in the most glowing terms, with both legs and both hands shaking uncontrollably.

I have no idea how I got through that first piece I played. At some point, I realized that even though I was playing my own composition, I had no idea how the next bit of it went; fortunately, finger memory carried me through. My hands kept shaking uncontrollably throughout the piece. But I made it through, even got some nice applause, played a few more tunes with slightly less terror, and got invited back next time.

And the next time I played there, I was not nervous at all.
Posted by: TTigg

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 09:20 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Larisa:
TTigg, I had the exact same thing happen when I was spontaneously invited up on stage at a jazz club. I was there merely to listen, but a friend of mine knew the bandleader; before I knew it, I was up on stage being introduced in the most glowing terms, with both legs and both hands shaking uncontrollably.

I have no idea how I got through that first piece I played. At some point, I realized that even though I was playing my own composition, I had no idea how the next bit of it went; fortunately, finger memory carried me through. My hands kept shaking uncontrollably throughout the piece. But I made it through, even got some nice applause, played a few more tunes with slightly less terror, and got invited back next time.

And the next time I played there, I was not nervous at all. [/b]
wOw and HUGE for that inspiring addition. I think next time I'll ensure I will get there early enough to at least sit down and try the piano out, I think this was one of my biggest problems..
Posted by: zacster

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 12:19 PM

My teacher asked me if I wanted to play in the recital with the kids, this after about 6 months of lessons as a complete beginner. I just said no. But when she asked again about a month before the recital, I said I'd think about it. But as luck would have it, I ended up on a business trip that week, whew. Unfortunately I also missed my kids' recital.

She has a few other adults that take lessons, and this year she is thinking of an adult recital for the small group. I might agree to do that.
Posted by: justmartha

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 12:31 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TTigg:
good god that was nerve raking!

My bloody leg began to shake uncontrollably!
We're not talking a little nervous twitch here but full on shake and rolls.] [/b]
Oh my - that does bring back memories. I'm not a beginner, but I still remember my senior recital (after 12 years of lessons and recitals) when I sat down, started to play, and my darned leg nearly shook off the pedals. It was like a thing possessed, and not by me!

I've recently begun playing again after many years off, and the other night somehow I found myself standing at some strange DP I'd never played, in a local bar, playing the Aria from the Goldberg variations. Now I've never played standing, never on this piano, and never in front of monitors. Surreal! Talk about shaking fingers.

Amazingly enough, when I was done, some elderly fellow in a baseball cap came up and told me how he enjoyed hearing a bit of baroque music in an otherwise fairly honky-tonk place!
Posted by: Bex

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 02:09 PM

It seems that many adults want to play in recitals with kids? Why is that?
Posted by: Bex

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 02:10 PM

Whoops - misstated - meant to ask: It seems that many adults DO NOT want to play in recitals with kids. Why?
Posted by: LaValse

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 02:13 PM

bex, you can edit your posts using this icon............. ^^

My Teacher is talking about a recital for his students (all ages) - sounds like fun to me... \:\) Great story TTigg - I have yet to do it and I admire you very much.
Posted by: Bex

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 02:27 PM

LaValse, that's great. What will you play? I have two more recitals coming up this year: one on Dec. 6 and the next on the 14th. Will play a Brahms intermezzo and a couple of Bach pieces.
Posted by: JeanieA

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 02:32 PM

TTigg, congratulations on your recital! That takes courage. I know how frightening it can be as I let myself get talked into one or two a year, thinking that it's good experience for me. It does get better and, yes, it's amazing how the shakes manifest themselves in various parts of the body. It's fabulous that you were able to complete most of the piece despite the leg issues!

Bex: the recitals I play in do include children. My feelings about this are that the audience tends to expect MORE from the adult players even if they, too, are beginners. So you feel like there's more pressure on you as an adult to outperform the kids who are likely MUCH less concerned about what the audience thinks of them AND a whole lot less nervous.

I think W.C. Fields said "Never work with kids or dogs." Unless my border collie starts taking lessons, I have no fears from that quarter, BUT the kids are another story...they can usually pull off a better performance with less practice than a scared-out-of-their-mind adult!

(Edited for typo.)
Posted by: Bex

Re: Well I did my 1st "live" Recital! - My experience inside.. - 11/26/08 02:37 PM

JeanieA: I hear you - I play in recitals with kids as well. I'm often the only adult, or just one of two adults playing. But as my teacher says, "You have nothing to prove. Play for yourself. Play to make music, not to impress anybody."

She said that recently when I had to play in front of two judges last weekend. After an initial bout of nerves, I performed the piece fine.