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Postby fawaz.dabbaghieh » Tue May 22, 2012 12:31 pm

Hey People,

I have something I think a lot of people who preform on stage have, it's "Stage Fright"

I want to ask, what do you think the best way to overcome this, especially I have a piano competition next in July and I'm afraid I get the Stage Fright there and won't be able to play well.

what do you think the best way to prepare my self so I won't get this Stage Fright, and win the competition hopefully.

Thanks People.

Fawaz Dabbaghieh

Aleppo, Syria

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Postby musical-md » Tue May 22, 2012 1:31 pm

Graded (family, home soiree, nursing homes/community center, house of worship, work talent show, dedicated recital, etc.) and repeated exposure.
Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne

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Postby fawaz.dabbaghieh » Tue May 22, 2012 9:54 pm

I know this but the problem I don't have a lot of opportunities to play in public, the only way is my Family and now I'm used to them, I'll try to get some friends around and play.

Hopefully it helps me a bit

the problem is that i can't shift my mind to focus on the piece, I keep thinking about every thing about the people around me about who is listening about am I good or not

damn you my mind why can't you focus when i need you to :(

I don't want to embarrass my self in front of the jury, especially my competition is in St Petersburg, Russia the heart of music.

anyway, thanks for the help.

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Postby 88man » Wed May 23, 2012 2:53 am

Greetings! Here are some choices to addressing stage fright:

1. Taking beta blockers (inderal). There was a study where 27% out of 2,100 U.S. musicians in symphony orchestras took beta blockers. Another study found that 52% of professional performers took beta blockers, and 48% didn't. Ask your physician first. If you have cardiovascular problems, you should avoid beta blockers.

2. Eat dairy products and turkey which promote relaxation. I personally like bananas, and because they are also loaded with high energy potassium.

3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine as these substances can lead to shakiness.

4. Biofeedback, yoga, meditative relaxation techniques that contribute to better cardiovascular health.

5. Hypnosis. Find a therapist who has experience in anxiety disorders.

6. Books on the subject: The Audition Process: Anxiety Management and Coping Strategies, by Stuart Edward Dunkel.
Anxiety and Musical Performance: On Playing the Piano From Memory, by Dale Reubart
There may be others...

I personally never took beta blockers. I have a "nothing to lose attitude" about playing in public. I just focus on the intentions of the composer during a performance, and nothing else. Try to imagine that you're playing in the dark - this helps you tune out distractions, lights, people, movement, etc. I was in one piano competition and that was enough! I don't envy musicians who have to take the competition route to get ahead, because the cut throat conditions brings out the worst in people.... But that's another topic.

Good Luck on the competition!
"Nobility of spirit has more to do with simplicity than ostentation, wisdom rather than wealth, commitment rather than ambition." ~Riccardo Muti

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Postby fawaz.dabbaghieh » Wed May 23, 2012 12:39 pm

Thank you very much.

Here in Syria we have a common thing, is to eat yoghurt before exams because it makes you relax, I have heard about some medications that help.
i'm going to ask a doctor about them and what is the best one that doesn't make you lose your concentration, this is the first competition for me this is why i'm so nervous.

anyway, thank you very much for the help.

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Postby RSPIll » Sun May 27, 2012 5:36 am

Stage fright is a strange thing.

I play a lot before the public, not in concert situations as such, but still in situations where I am the focus of attention for at least a few minutes. I am a church musician, I accompany the school choirs, and I work with local musical theater a lot where the accompaniment is a piano or keyboard, and drums.

Anyway, one time that it would hit me in the past was when I would visit my hometown and be asked to play at church. I would have music that I had played numerous times before with no problem. I would sit at the piano at my home church and start shaking -- yet I'm in the one place where I could almost do no wrong.

My other fear that happens from time to time is as accompanist to the school choirs. I have had some difficult accompaniments to deal with, but I start to get nervous for the a capella pieces! Yeah, I don't play during those, but I have to give the pitch. My fear is usually that I will slip off of the key that I am supposed to play! How bad is that if you can't play a single note correctly???

That said, do try to get all of the performance opportunities that you can. I do not know how it works in your culture. Are pianos available around town? Is there a culture of piano music in restaurants or hotels or nursing homes, or mosques or schools? You might need to consider getting a decent digital piano (OK people, don't cringe) that you can take with you. This could allow you to possibly create performance situations.

One thing that IMHO occurs during stage fright is that we worry about our "self worth" if things go wrong -- particularly memory slips. No one is going to think less of you if and when things go wrong. Remember, most of the people in the audience can't do what you are doing, the world will continue to spin no matter what happens, and the sun will still rise.

Do everything you can to enjoy the music and play for yourself.


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Postby Zhukov » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:24 pm

The first thing to do is stop thinking about winning! It only makes you nervous. I learned that in my first competition in Paris in 1996. My teacher said I will surely win after I played Transcendental Etude number 11 of Liszt. It was pretty good at home during my lesson, but in the competition i was very nervous and my left and right hands got on different pages quickly. I settled down and the director later told me I played at high level.

Since then I played in 15 competitions, including St. Petersburg last year. I was the only American there and I won a diploma for playing Taneyev Prelude and Fugue. I haven't won any money yet, but I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends. The competitions have given me performance opportunities. Each time I play with less stage fright because I feel more comfortable playing in front of people. It is a psychological problem. It's about self esteem. When you try do do anything difficult, it's natural to think about failure. If you are trying to impress others, to do something their way, to fit in, to be better than them, to care about what they think, this will affect your self esteem, put you in a false sense of expectation. A better way to believe you are doing your best and that your love of art is worth all the work and money you put into it. If you're not the best, somebody will surely like something about your performance and will tell you. It will feel good and you will go home wanting to do more of what you love.

I think that pianists who start at a very young age have an advantage over me, who started when I was 18. I was already worried about earning money, paying bills, studying for engineering degree, having a girlfriend. Shutting them out to practice piano was stressful. Performing made me worry if I was doing the right thing. Five year old kids don't have to worry about all those things, so I think it's easier for them to get on the stage. Maybe not for everyone, but that's part of it.

I think the best thing is to be logical, play the music you feel comfortable with because you understand it, learned it well, played it for people, if only your teacher. Know what you do the best octaves, scales, etc, or different style like impressionist. Also develope a meticulous effort to discover every little detail in the music and have a concept how to play it with articulation, dynamics, phrasing, tempo, rubato, etc. The better you know the music, the less stage fright you will have. Why take pills for a headache, when the cause of the headache is you keep hitting your head on the wall? It's better to stop hitting the wall.

I'm practicing hard for the St. Petersburg comp. So I hope to see you there in two weeks. I'm playing Schumann - Aufshwung, My work "Tolko Raz", Lyapunov Transcendental Etude no 3, Mendelssohn Rondo Capriciosso, Chopin Polonaise op 40 no 2, and Griffes Sonata. Nobody who wins these amature competitions will get rich or famous. The prize money is not much either, but it's great to express myself on the stage for a few minutes, to make new friends who love what I love, and to see St. Petersburg and other cities.

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Postby richard66 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:16 pm

Hello Zhukov,

Is "Tolko Raz" a work of yours or it a transcreiption of the Russian romance by German and Fomin?
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville

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