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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 4:53 am 
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Sorry, but I’m really bummed out about my performance in a sort of neighborhood recital that was held about 5 hours ago this evening. I was in charge of it, which makes it even worse because I totally bombed. I sucked! I made so many mistakes, I was so nervous, I looked so stupid - I don’t know why I even bother, anymore. I can’t stand it!

What kills me the most is that I know this piece backwards and forwards and could probably play it with my eyes closed if there wasn’t an audience. I should probably throw in the towel as far playing in public goes. It used to be easier, but as I get older, it gets worse. I hate it! I’m putting this up (temporarily) to see if any of you have ever had such a bad performance as this, or if you can offer anything that will help to get over the aggravation and despair I am left with now. Seriously, I am so distressed. Right now, I hate playing the piano.

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Last edited by pianolady on Tue May 13, 2008 6:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:06 am 
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That was not to bad really. A bit hesitant but nothing really horrible except for some occasions where you corrected yourself. In performance it is probably better that if you make a mistake, you just play right on as if nothing happened. By correcting it you only draw extra attention to it.

Very nice dress BTW.

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 12:44 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
Invite me to your recitals!!! By doing so, my playing skills will make you look like Liszt-Rubinstein-Rachmaninov incarnate :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 1:38 pm 
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Still feeling 'blue'...


techneut wrote:
That was not to bad really. A bit hesitant but nothing really horrible except for some occasions where you corrected yourself. In performance it is probably better that if you make a mistake, you just play right on as if nothing happened. By correcting it you only draw extra attention to it.


And I know that, but did it anyway. What a dope I am.

techneut wrote:
Very nice dress BTW.

That's about the only thing that went right. :(

Thanks anyway, Chris and Julius.

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 2:02 pm 
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I know how you feel. I feel that way about music almost every day. However you should
consider this: your musicality has reached such a level that even though you think you bombed
it still sounded really freaking good.


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:12 pm 
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bclever wrote:
I know how you feel. I feel that way about music almost every day. However you should
consider this: your musicality has reached such a level that even though you think you bombed
it still sounded really freaking good.

Yes I'd go along with that. Mistakes happen, but you need to concentrate on what is good rather tHan what is bad. Give yourself some credit !

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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 8:55 pm 
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That's what my kids and my parents said. But I can't. I know this piece so well and have played it perfectly a hundred times. I got so comfortable with it that I could totally loose myself in the music, literally feel the drama coursing through my veins, pour the passion out through my fingertips, you know...really, really get into it. But did any of that happen last night? No. It was awful! There was nothing good in that performance. That's why I'm so disappointed.

Thanks for trying.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 12:08 am 
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Well, after watching it, I only noticed two detectable errors. The rest sounded really good!!!

And to make you feel a bit better... once I get my DVD of the arts festival I played at a week or so ago, I'll show you the video of me playing. Hard to get worse than that...

I was playing through a really good interpretation of Scriabin's C# Minor etude... when suddenly I forgot how the coda went! I even had the music out in front of me... but it didn't help. I just ended up not playing it, and inventing a little something in it's place. It was PATHETIC.

And then my Satie piece was littered with little slip ups too...

Trust me... you'll feel better after seeing me.

And you shouldn't feel bad to being with!
I still think it sounded great!

What piece is that, by the way? I'd be intrested in learning more about it, as I really liked it.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:18 am 
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Sorry about your bad experience, Chris M.

Misery loves company. Maybe we should start a thread about 'Your Worse Piano Experience', or 'Sad Times at the Piano'.

The piece I played is by Granados. It's from a set entitled Escenas Romanticas and this is the first piece in the set. It's a great little piece - not too long, sounds harder to play than it is (usually :x ) and has room for all the passion you can put into it. I highly recommend it.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:19 pm 
Wait... I'll make a list of all my terrible performances. You'll be shocked! :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:05 pm 
1. Chopin - minute waltz... I think I was 12 years old or so. I didn't know it was the minute waltz, so I played it adagio (:roll:) , because I liked it that way and my teacher didn't say I should play it faster. Oh, and I made a lot of mistakes of course. :oops:
2. Some years ago I played violin in the orchestra of the music school. Romeo and Juliet. It was really, uhm, fun. Throwing candy at the percussionist during the performance. :P
3. What about last week? I played violin, some kind of pianotrio composed by Bridge. I really didn't like that piece of music! (The cellist couldn't play Piazolla, so we had to play Bridge. :x :( ) We all made a lot of mistakes and in the end I was playing solo (I wasn't meant to be playing solo, but both the pianist and cellist made a mistake and got so confused that they stopped playing. The public actually didn't notice it and thought it was written like that! :lol: ), I was just hoping the pianist and cellist would be able to play the last three notes (and they did play them).

Now I must think... I'm quite sure I had more terrible performances... :P


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:22 pm 
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You know, it's amazing what a few mistakes will do to one's sense of self worth (not to mention one's ego). You know you made mistakes and they stand out in your mind. However, 99.9% of the people who heard you will remember how well you played, not the few mistakes you made. You're too hard on yourself.

(So sayeth the guy who rushed to fix a recording before anybody heard the mistake in it!)

Ed

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:48 am 
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abimopectore wrote:
We all made a lot of mistakes and in the end I was playing solo (I wasn't meant to be playing solo, but both the pianist and cellist made a mistake and got so confused that they stopped playing. The public actually didn't notice it and thought it was written like that! :lol: )


:lol: :lol:

epf wrote:
(So sayeth the guy who rushed to fix a recording before anybody heard the mistake in it!)


Been there, done that (many times) :lol:


Ok, well, the cloud is lifting. Like I said before, misery loves company. Anyone else have any sad/funny stories?

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:55 am 
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Last year in my performance at my teacher's annual pupil concert, I had to restart a passage in the middle of Rachmaninov's Lilacs as it had gone so wrong there was no playing over it. To add insult to injury I even muttered 'sorry'. How pathetic can one get ! The rest went fine though but this was a humiliating moment.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 11:10 am 
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techneut wrote:
Last year in my performance at my teacher's annual pupil concert, I had to restart a passage in the middle of Rachmaninov's Lilacs as it had gone so wrong there was no playing over it. To add insult to injury I even muttered 'sorry'. How pathetic can one get ! The rest went fine though but this was a humiliating moment.


Oh, yes, that's a good one. Pretty pathetic, indeed. :lol:

After that moment happened, were you able to get back 'in the zone'? Your fingers played on like usual, but was your head in the music? That's a problem of mine. After a big goof-up, I'm in a sort of stunned frame of mind and feel like I barely have control of things anymore. And also my overall dynamics drop considerably.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 11:30 am 
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As said, all went fine after that. I usually get back in the groove quickly even after mistakes.
Also last year I performed at my organ teacher's annual pupil concert and produced some pretty weird bars in Bach's first trio sonata (which I should not really have performed at all yet, to be honest) and he complimented me about playing straight through the mistakes as if nothing had happened. It was a bit scary though. Same teacher also tipped me about only performing something once you find it really easy. Now that takes discipline, as one always want to show off a difficult piece just learnt !

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 12:04 pm 
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But did he mean perform an easy piece, or wait to perform a certain piece until you know it so well that it has become easy? I think next time I may have to play an 'easy' piece.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 12:46 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
But did he mean perform an easy piece, or wait to perform a certain piece until you know it so well that it has become easy? I think next time I may have to play an 'easy' piece.

The latter, obviously. An 'easy' piece may still be difficult if you do not know it well enough. And a 'hard' piece may become rather easy once you know it well enough and your technical level is far above it. I think the idea is to be totally comfortable with a piece before performing it.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 4:13 pm 
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Dear Lovely One,

What the devil is the matter with you , berating yourself like that? Both I and my friend who just watched and heard you thought it was excellent! The litttle mistakes were utterly trivial and really didn't detract from the performance. when I showed your message to my knowledgeable friend, he said the best cure for performance anziety is to perform a lot! I hertily agree!


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:31 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I think the idea is to be totally comfortable with a piece before performing it.


I was.

rsmullyan wrote:
What the devil is the matter with you , berating yourself like that?


Because I can play the piece so much better than I did here. And this always happens. I have never performed a piece in public perfectly, and this time I was sure that I had the piece down and would have no problems. It's like I am cursed! If only I could put a curtain in front of the piano and not see any audience.

Raymond, have you ever had a bad performance at the piano, or maybe a funny one?

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:07 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
If only I could put a curtain in front of the piano and not see any audience.

Take up playing organ. Nobody sees you unless maybe when they stand up, turn around, and crane their necks. And even then they can't see what the heck you're actually doing :lol:

But seriously, just go on feeling sorry for yourself. Maybe it helps. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 9:34 pm 
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techneut wrote:
pianolady wrote:
If only I could put a curtain in front of the piano and not see any audience.

Take up playing organ. Nobody sees you unless maybe when they stand up, turn around, and crane their necks. And even then they can't see what the heck you're actually doing :lol:


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. 8)


techneut wrote:
But seriously, just go on feeling sorry for yourself. Maybe it helps. Mr. Green


Hey, don't take away all my fun! :lol: Besides, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to." :lol: :lol: :lol: (song lyrics)

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 9:57 pm 
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Raymond, have you ever had a bad performance at the piano, or maybe a funny one?
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 3:02 pm 
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rsmullyan wrote:
A more realistic question to ask is whether I have ever had a good performance!


Hit the nail on the head! Maybe something like that ought to be engraved on my tombstone. :lol:

A harbinger of things to come was my first experience with stage fright at eight years old. I was playing for a special event at a church, and had a nice little showy piece picked out that I thought I knew thoroughly (yeah, I’d known it about three weeks). Well, the moment of truth came; the (un)expected happened. Yours truly blundered halfway through the silly piece and came to a standstill. I gritted my teeth and started over from the beginning. I got to the same place where I’d flubbed earlier and, again, the last half of the piece fled my memory. Again I started over. Believe it or not, that happened six times, and each time I got more and more agitated. On the seventh try I closed my eyes and barreled through the mind block and made it to the other side.

I was never asked to play at that church again.

A more recent, and no less embarrassing, event happened about a year ago. A gentleman from our church asked my to play a little mini-concert at a going-away party he was hosting for some of our friends. I said yes. Mistake number one. Mistakes numbers two through five hundred I made during the sick performance. On this occasion, I played a d minor arpeggio in C major, hit every stray note in the book, and got so tense that I twisted up on the first notes of a grand, sweeping, spellbinding cascade so that it simply sounded like a grand, sweeping, spellbinding tangle of mass mayhem.

He never requested my services again either.

So, I’ll be playing for a group of my compadres next weekend. I think I know how I’ll do, too – definitely won’t be an award-winning performance!


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 3:24 pm 
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I am reminded of the following story: An opera singer sang an encore and everyone applauded, so she sang it again, and everyone applauded, and this happened seven times. She then said : " I'm not going to sing it again ! " To which one man shuted : " Yes, you will sing it again and again until you learn it ! "


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That is really funny! :lol: I would just hate to be the opera singer.


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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 5:37 pm 
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Oh, Sarah. I feel your pain! :lol:

I once saw a little boy at a recital play halfway through his piece and then had a 'brain freeze' and stopped playing. He started over around six or seven times too but never did get to the end. He just gave up and walked back to his seat. Poor kid. If I wasn't sitting so far away at the time, I would have walked over to the piano to see if I could help him.

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Another embarassing moment of mine:

I was supposed to be accompanying my school's chorus at a special mass in front of prominent members of the Boston Archdiocese.

And I learned the hard way that day, that I'm not good at accompanying people.

I was never able to actually learn the actual keyboard part. Rather, I had learned (as instructed by my teacher, due to the large quantity of works in such a short time frame) the melody and then improvised with the left hand. It always was fine at home whenever I practiced. But when I actually played with them that day... within 5 measures of the first piece, all improvisational abilities disappeared. I couldn't even focus enough to read the chord progressions in the sheet music and just play those. My left hand completely dropped out, and the entire mass was nothing but a simple little melody played by my right hand, no harmonies whatsoever.

I was ready to completely give up public performance after that one...

Thank goodness I'll never have to accompany again, as next time I'll simply refuse to do it.

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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 11:46 pm 
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Monica, I know how you feel...the only way to get over this fear of playing on stage is to do it as often as you can.

I totally bombed a performance a couple of weeks ago - I was accompanying a voice student in her departmental recital class, which meant that all 100 or so voice majors and the voice faculty were there, and she was doing a Brahms song that I was not really prepared to play, and I bombed it. It was horrible - she fired me and got a new accompanist. And I think there are two reasons why I bombed her song - 1. I didn't pick the piece, didn't really like it, and therefore couldn't make myself practice it enough, and 2. I get even more nervous playing for other people than I do just playing solo stuff, because I know if I mess up, it reflects on them just as much as on me. I wasn't prepared to play it, but I could have faked it well enough if I hadn't gotten so nervous.

But I've been playing solo stuff in my own departmental recital class (for only about 15 piano majors, most of which are music education majors rather than performance) all semester, and as the semester went on, the nerves got better and better. I can understand not wanting to play in front of people, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, I think. It's also nice if you're positioned in such a way that you can pretend that the audience isn't there!

Anyway, I bet everyone in the voice department would be flabbergasted if I told them I just passed my audition to major in piano performance. :lol: They probably think I'm the most horrible pianist in the world...

There was another accompanist at the voice thing that I saw afterwards, and she told me to just let it roll off my shoulders. She said, "We've all been there before, more than once." And I suppose that's true. Have faith in yourself!

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Hi Terez,

I like your suggestion about being positioned in a certain way that you can pretend the audience isn't there. I think that goes along with my 'curtain' idea.

Maybe you already know this, but this is what I learned about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Supposedly, when auditioning for a seat in the orchestra, the person auditioning plays behind a screen. The judges do not see the person, and the person auditioning does not see the judges. The only thing the judges judge is how the candidate sounds, how well he or she plays, etc. How the person looks, what age, male or female, etc.. doesn't matter. Isn't that interesting? Kind of makes me think of the story about how Chopin and Liszt played a trick on an audience - now let me see if I can get this right - I think all the lights (candles?) were put out in the room, and Chopin sat down at the piano and played a piece just like how Liszt would play it, and the audience thought that it was indeed Liszt playing. It could be the other way around, though.

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 11:23 am 
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Monica, you can say what you will, but to me it sounded really well. You got big strong sounds out of the piano and soft tones too, you played with lots of dynamic and tasteful rubato.

What I will say, I am sure the listeners enjoyed your playing. And that is what counts.

Don't think too much on what could be improved. Better think on the applause you got - with fully right! Was there anybody who could play better?

The problem you have I know very well too. That inner voice what says that one has it plays so often so much better. On the final Sunday last year I had a terrible performance - it was during my holiday on the Isle of Ruegen in Germany. I practised organ playing in the church there, and the pastor asked me to play the church service some days later. I agreed and as opener I played the little g minor fugue from Bach (what is on the site here, and what I normally can play from memory). I got strong stage fright, and as I saw that the audience was unexpected large, and they told me before that the bishop was in the audience too. And my wife and some friends (they were at holiday too there) listened too... What happened? In the middle of the fugue I got a black out, came out of the notes, out of my dreams, tried to play some random tones only to try to come in again. This did not happen, so I incoherent added the last bar of the fugue. The rest pieces went satisfactorilly, although I played with tears and ice cold shaky hands. The score of the fugue I put in the cabinet. Maybe in 5 years or so, I will pull it out again. Will not hear that fugue anymore...

What I am asking only, I think you played by memory. Why do you have the score in front? The piano sounds better to me (as player) if the music stand is down, also it looks cooler I think.

Another point to the idea not to think on the audience while playing or your curtain idea:
Well, that sounds good. But the problem is, you can't practise that. During practising nobody is listening to you. My teacher suggested me another approach. That is to imagine during practising to perform with lots of people in front. And to try to transform an eventually upcoming bad feeling because of that in something what says more "wow, is'nt it nice that the people can listening to a wonderful Chopin I can present them?". That means, to practise the thinking on a performance, but to try to think on something positive instead something negative along with that.
The good thing on that approach is that it can be practised very well.

Since there are two major events for me this year (one for piano - my aunt turns 70 in July, and I can imagine how much will be there), and my examination of the 2-years-organ course to get a small diploma for church services (called "C-Schein" in Germany), I am in need too for something what eases the stage fright I usually have.

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Olaf, have you ever tried drugs? I don't mean 'recreational' drugs, but prescription drugs? There is something called a 'beta' blocker, which I don't know what that is, and then there is another kind (can't think of the name) that I tried. For me, it didn't work. About a year ago, I took one pill at the lowest dosage and I was just as nervous as ever. Then for an experiment before this recent recital, I doubled the dosage and took two pills to see how I would feel. Well...I didn't feel anything because it knocked me out. I fell right to sleep. Needless to say, I did not do this for the actual recital and don't know if I'll ever try drugs again. But I hear that some people do well with them.

Sorry about your bad church-playing episode. If it makes you feel better, I think that perhaps the audience did not know what happened, because to me when I hear the organist playing something, he or she can just simply hold down long chords and it's like that is supposed to be the way it goes. The music (sound) on an organ keeps ringing. (not sure that makes sense) I think I would rather mess up on an organ than on piano.

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although I played with tears and ice cold shaky hands.
That is heart-wrenching. :cry: All these things that our audience does not know!

Quote:
Why do you have the score in front? The piano sounds better to me (as player) if the music stand is down, also it looks cooler I think.
You're right. I did have the piece memorized and never once looked up at the score. I don't know why I put it up there. It was a very last second decision (and a stupid one). I never have put the music stand down. Can't hurt to try it.

Thanks for your interesting thoughts and ideas. And good luck in your upcoming performances. I'm sure you will do fine. Can you record them and let us listen?

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 12:44 am 
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Posts: 1418
Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
Monica, on the stage where I usually play at my school, it's possible to turn the piano so that it's not exactly parallel to the front of the stage...it's pointed in a bit, so that the people in the audience can see me better! :lol: But I can't see them! ;)

Where I played for the voice student, the voice teachers arranged it to where I had no choice but to see everybody. :(

And yes, this anonymous audition you speak of is common - they do it for the bands at my school.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 8:39 am 
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Location: Germany
@ Monica:
No, I never took those prescription drugs (the other kind I know partly, but only if I play for myself (it dimish the concentration in my case), so it will not help for performance). I know from a professional percussionist in an orchestra, that he takes beta blockers for every performance, but did not tried out myself.

Regarding recording of a performance - I do find it looks a bit strange if I put microphone stands and the recording gear for a birthday party. Maybe I buy such an Edirol thing, that looks so much more discrete, that would be a solution. It is in my case probably the Berceuse and Waltz 70/1 (Chopin, of course), and the Schubert-Arpeggione (viola-sonata together with my Cousin). I will place it here too if it is worthy enough, let's see.

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