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how not to be frighten onstage

Discussion in 'Technique' started by Anonymous, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I was watching "From the Top" which showcases young, talented musicians (all under 18). There was a boy who played Liszt's Etude in the theme of Paganini (there is a recording here on the site, played by eric helling). Anyways, he said that he eats two bananas before playing and he heard that the potassium in the bananas help curve nervousness.

    So eat bananas! (but not too many because they are a high calorie fruit :x )
     
  2. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Give practice performances. Do a dress rehearsal, actually dress in whatever clothes in which you'll be giving the recital and play the program through once (as though you had an audience). Record your performance; it adds to the realism. If you can't do that at least two weeks in advance, you are in trouble.

    The day of the recital, the trick is to not care what anyone thinks of your playing. I hate to say it, but a little bit of arrogance is a useful tool (perhaps I mean self-confidence). (Of course, never wear it on your sleeve, lest you look like an ass.) A pianist on stage must be sure of his/her worthiness. I guess it all comes down to good old-fashioned hard work in the preceding weeks and months. After you've done ALL the work, then you can walk out and hold your head high.

    PLAN YOUR PRACTICE!

    Good luck to you Schmonz!

    PS to Robert, a very good point about pausing before starting the recital. I saw Helene Grimaud take what seemed like a two minute pause before a concert. Personally, I've taken as long as 45 seconds to begin or sometimes I start playing before my backside hits the bench. Always adjust the bench.

    Pete
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Whoa... they get younger and younger don't they :p
     
  4. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Yeah...if you're not in Julliard by the time you're potty-trained, you're screwed. :lol:
     
  5. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I meant 18 but stupid automatic typing confused the 8 and the ")" right next to it for a 8) face. :twisted:
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yah I know what you meant, and you got defeated by our incredibly clever software...
    But I can never resist an opportunity to take the piss :lol:
     
  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest


    I'll consider the idea of playing on a stage only if I have 1-2 years to practise 4-5 hours a day.
    To play surely and with a few compromises 70-90 minutes of music (much better if without score,
    one is much more free so) is IMHO a serious question. I agree at 100% with Robert: if one is not able to play perfectly and surely a recital at his home, for at least 3 times, it's not the case.
    I have from 1 to 2 hours X day to study: hypotesis 1-I study for 2 years only the same 5-6 pieces and I'll play them on a stage, hypotesis 2 I study and record (I'm able to play the pieces from thebegin to the end for a few days, and after I begin to play other music and the "old" pieces loses his surely) about all the pieces I will.
    As amateur I find this 2nd hypotesis much more interesting and enjoying, and It permit to show
    the artistic side (if there is) of my playing. I play at a very modest level, but I would have the desire to public playing only : 1) with my piano or on a piano I know very well and I like
    2) with the possibility to play for al least 1/2 hour before the beginning of the concert
    3) having many possibilities to play with these conditions (one train himself to face his stress,
    and this training has no sense for 2-3 occasions). And I repeat, the fundamental condition
    is: to play surely many consecutive times the recital program=many hours of study for many
    months+big motivation.
    In these days, as when I was a boy, I play in public occasions (1 or 1000 listener, there is no
    difference) about as when I play for myself. The anxiety in my case has a weight, but not so heavy to destroy a piece well and surely known (and not magic to make sure the passages so-and-so).
    I remember situations when I played well the pieces I knew well, and other situations
    where I played so-and-so or worse the pieces I knew so-and-so or worse.
    For who will or must to play in public situations, a suggestion of Andor Foldes: To know exaggerately
    well the first page and the first difficult passage of each piece. To play these passagges possibly
    with closed eyes.

    All best,
    Sandro

    (pianist-recorder, not in the sense of the flute)
     
  8. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schleier Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Well, I've done it, and I think it went well. I say "think" because sometime before I went on stage, all the expected nervousness evaporated and was replaced with a strange, semi-lucid mental state. In the green room I began to feel almost like taking a nap when I was called out. I sat down and my thought process went like so: "Oh, here's a piano. Neat. Big one, too. I know something I can play. Here you go." I know it felt good under the hands, with a few small mistakes of course, but I have no idea how it sounded and won't know until they send me the video. :)

    I don't really need to perform again for a while, but if that's what performing can often feel like, I can see why people become performers. I enjoyed it very much.

    Thank you all again for your suggestions on how to prepare. Every last one of them helped.
     
  9. robert

    robert Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Congratulations! It sounds like you were able to perform well under pressure and that is a very valuable quality. I hope you are equally satisfied when the video arrives.
     
  10. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schleier Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Bah! My performance was recorded onto a dud DVD (all the other DVDs from that day are fine). I've contacted the audio engineer to see if at least some audio is available.
     
  11. Mozartiana

    Mozartiana New Member

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    I don't know if anyone has mentioned this in this long thread, but if I concentrate on the music and communicating the music to others, then the music is not about myself, but about the music, and my nervousness dwindles. Of course, there is excitement, but that can be helpful in doing one's best for the music. So I guess what I mean here is that if I don't focus on what others think of me and my playing, but on the music itself and my desire to express it, then whatever nervousness remains can be applied to the intensity of expressing the music.
    I used to play a lot at an assisted living where the folks didn't care about a few mistakes. They were just so delighted to have live music that they were listening intently to whatever I could express through it. Also, it helps to have the notes in front of me instead of relying on my memory. Of course, I could intend to play from memory but the music was there in case I forgot or got distracted.
    Mozartiana
     
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Maybe you should read this book once :?: :
    The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green and W. Timothy Gallwey
     
  13. bclever

    bclever New Member

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    This book is one of the best I have ever read. Within one day of reading a few chapters
    it had actually helped me tackle my AADD when playing, seriously helped to quiet all the
    distractions in my head when trying to concentrate on music. It is also a very easy read.
     
  14. ben

    ben New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The more fear you successfully overcome the more exhilarating your performance will be. You will never eliminate fear before a performance and you shouldn't. Instead, talk to yourself beforehand and build up your confidence/passion/willpower/intensity until it outweighs the fear you feel.
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    :?: I have never really been frightened on stage. Actually I feel more frightened without the stage and especially if there is just one person listening and if this person knows a lot about music. I know you will think that's really weird, but it's true... So I'm weird. :p

    :wink: Just concentrate, hear the beautiful music you will play... I you start playing after that, you won't even see the audience, it's just you and your music...
     
  16. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Eating bananas?? haha. :D

    hi, people. im new here =D
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not sure if you're weird, but you've got a point there. If you play for multiple persons, they are likely to applaud even if you made mistakes. If you play for one, (s)he's likely to tell you what you did wrong or could have done better :wink:
     
  18. PJF

    PJF New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I get afraid about three months before a recital (right about now). I'm performing Beethoven Sonatas 12, 13 and 14 in May and I'm petrified. (Because #12 and #13 are a mess and I can't see the way out of it.)

    I'll get over it.

    I guess I'm in the habit of being genuinely frightened far in advance (not in the "my house is on fire" sort of way but in the "oh my God, we're moving to another country next month" kind of way) so that by the time a recital comes around, I'm just too damned tired to care.

    Oh my achin' back!
    :lol:
     
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Ever notice how children playing don't seem to be phased by the audience? They are just doing it without any expectation weighing on them, even when a mistake is made, they back up a bar and repeat and keep going.

    As adults, we feel that world is watching and judging, and by now we should be perfect, and if not, we have wasted ours and everyones time all these years. When we practice, we play invincibly, and always think what if they could see me now?

    Its a challenge to put yourself back into a child-like mentality and have a care-free attitude about your playing for others. You have to really reach and look at the big picture of what's going on. Your piano playing for an audience is not the beginning nor the end of the world. You have to almost pretend you are just sitting down for a practice, be loose and relaxed, make a quick wink at the audience to create the connection, and they will feel relaxed with you. Even crack a quick comment if the occassion allows. This is a big ice breaker out of an otherwise stiff and overly proper profession.

    I get nervous watching ice skaters, because i KNOW they will fall on a triple loop during the program, and I wonder what are they thinking now? I've blown it? They are all laughing? No. The crowd understands, they appreciate all the work and practice, and will still applaud the effort. Just keep smiling.
     
  20. Paradisi

    Paradisi New Member

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    A few points I keep in mind for performances:

    1. Expect to make a mistake - and forgive yourself for it! If you're thinking about the past mistake, you're going to make more!

    2. The more you do it......

    3. BREATH! Oxygen in your body can help control finger trembles and shakiness. Do a few stretches and deep breaths before going on.

    4. In practicing - I try to be as much in my 'performance mindset' as possible; in performing - I try to be as much in my 'practice mindset' as possible! (In other words I try to play the same every time, rather practicing or performing!)

    5. FOCUS on transmitting the beauty of the music to the audience - not presenting yourself.
     

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