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piano competition

Discussion in 'General' started by pianolady, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    This is how it all started... These were your thoughts, two months ago. It's not just me here, I am sure I speak on everybody's behalf in stating that what you're experiencing is normal as the time approaches. You've taken on a big challenge. Make amends with any negativity that comes your way by simply denouncing it with a smile!

    I am going to use the content of your signature to remind you of the only reality that should linger in your mind over this entire experience. Your signature sums up your beliefs about the good intentions and musical inspiration, well before this competition came along. Don't take my word for it, listen to your muse. The context here is still appropriate, "It is dreadful when something weighs in on your mind, not to have a soul to unburden yourself to." - So stop looking online to see who will be playing, never mind if you're playing 9th, never mind if someone plays a more difficult piece, etc..... Allow only the musical sentiments to come forth on stage by "telling the piano on stage the things you used to tell in your living room..." - Live vicariously through the composer's music on that stage piano, because you can't address to anybody else. It's just you, the piano, and the message. Just play it because it's not about winning, as we both agree. Both the audience and judges will love you for how you play, not for what you play. Nobody, can fault you for keeping your musical ambitions high. All that should linger in your mind is to make your musical message soar to the best of your ability.

    I will part with this Les Brown quote: Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you'll be among the stars... And what a sight that will be!
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Oh, George - now you're making me cry - I don't know what's wrong with me lately. I only know that I am happiest but also the saddest when I am home alone and sitting at my piano, which is pretty much every day. That's why I relate to that quotation in my signature so deeply. But that's okay. Everything is fine and I'm going to go through these next two months with as much positive attitude as I can muster. I'll report back here if anything interesting develops. Meanwhile, I can't thank you enough for listening to me. If there is anything I can ever do for you, please don't hesitate to ask. :)
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well, it had to be expected that the level of applicants would be as staggeringly high as in other so-called 'amateur' contests. Some of these people can hardly be called amateurs, often having completed a conservatory training alongside with their (usually high-profile) training, and dome masterclasses with famous pianists. The real amateurs like us can simply not compete with that. But even to be admitted is an honour, I guess, and to participate should be fun, even if it's only for one round. As long as you realize you have nothing to lose.
     
  4. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, I'm very impressed by your whole process... Yes, we (at least you and me) haven't won any competition, don't have a degree in music... All we have is the love toward the music!
    BTW you have raised an important question for all the female amature pianists:
    It's actually the question I have always when I have to play something in front of others. I don't have a cool dress (and it would be funny if I wear such a thing and play only a couple of pieces), we women have no typical dress code for the stage things.... (again after the SPPC discussion, how lucky the men are!)
    At this point Helene Grimaud comes to my mind: She wears differently. She wears pants, suit-like things.
    Anyway tell us about your final decision about the wearing! :D
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That's what my sister keeps telling me. She's more excited than I am - mainly because she wants to go shopping with me.

    @Hye-Jin, Yes - guys are so lucky (again) that they don't have to think about what to wear. We women have endless choices and I know I'm going to agonize over this probably as much as I did when having to choose which pieces to play! I do have some pant suits, but I'm thinking a dress would be more comfortable, or skirt, or...I dunno... . I looked, though, and nowhere in the rules of the competition does it state that competitors cannot play in their pajamas, so maybe.... :wink:

    btw - I saw my doctor today and now have a bottle of beta-blockers in my possession. I have to do some experimenting to see what dosage will be right for me - meaning I need to put myself into some nervous setting so I can take a pill (or two) (or three) and see what happens (monitor my heart-rate). I do have a neighborhood piano recital coming up in two weeks, so that will be my first 'real' test. Other than that, I don't know what other stress-inducing/ performance-anxiety tests I can do. Maybe video recording - I'm usually pretty nervous when I do that...
     
  6. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    good luck on this competition Monica.
    As you prepare for it, if you ever would like outside help, an outside ear to listen to you and make comments, please don't hesitate to contact me

    Concerning the stage fright, a few points if I may:

    -all of us professional concert pianists, we all have stage fright, however, in my opinion, what make us less likely to crack
    under pressure/stage fright is the fact that generally speaking, the majority of us have learned to accept the stage fright/pressure
    and welcome it
    How so?this brings my 2nd point

    -perform in front of people as often as possible. In your case, given that the competition is in June, I would say that you need to
    perform if front of anyone and everyone on a daily basis. Friends, family, children,strangers. Anybody and anywhere.
    Not sure where you live, but I am sure there are house concerts in your area, library series and other community events where you can play.

    -my 3rd point is to play for professionals as much as possible. Get as much as guidance and experience playing for professionals as you can.
    Not only will you get great feedback from any of us, feedback which you will be able to use, but you will also get used to play in front of professionals
    and you will more or less get used to being judged.
    And to play for some of us, you don't have to travel anywhere. Just get on Skype and play for us.

    -last point is even more important than the above ones. And that is positive thinking.
    Think happy thoughts, think about something/someone that makes you happy, transfer that feeling all over your body, and create a barrier between you playing, any negative thoughts you might have and whoever listens.
    You say you like to play for yourself at your home. Create this image in your head each time you play.
    A book I would like to suggest for you to read is "Lessons with Kumi", written by Michael Colgrass. Colgrass is a composer and a performer.
    His book is exactly about stage fright and how to conquer it.
    And trust in yourself, be confident of yourself and of your playing.

    At the end of the day, everyone needs to remember that a competition is a different beast for anyone.
    Anyone can falter and anyone can succeed.
    Training for years doesn't guarantee anything in a competition setting.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, Avguste. You have some very good tips. I will be seeing my former teacher for some coaching sessions next month. He's been in many competitions before and knows the ropes. I do agree with you that I should play in front of people as much as possible. Most likely that would take the edge off my nerves after awhile.
     
  8. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That is a good step Monica, but I would go further.
    I would schedule a performance for anyone that would listen on a daily basis. Not just for your teacher.
    Because at the end of the day, we are all comfortable playing for our teachers.
    The goal is to get you out of your comfort zone and get used to being out of your comfort zone, used to have
    the light shine on you.

    While I am thinking, I would also suggest you go with a winning attitude. Go there to win it all!!!
    Whether you do or don't, doesn't matter. What matters is to have the goal of winning each and every time.
     
  9. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Monica,

    If you need ideas about where to play, contact the area nursing homes and retirement homes. I know many of them would love some free entertainment. So often these places get all sorts of entertainment at Christmas time and then are forgotten for the rest of the year.

    As far as what to wear -- go for the Jessica Rabbit look -- lots of cleavage and form fitting with 6" stilettos. That will certainly wow the judges (at least the men :wink: )

    Scott
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh yes. A good ass might help too :lol:
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    oh you guys... :lol: I do already have stilettos and some other sexy stuff and I'm working on the ass part at the gym nearly every day. but hmmm....for sure that's another idea to think about (not really...well maybe...). However, yes there are two female judges so if I wear something more 'frumpy' then maybe I'll get their sympathy.(?)

    @Avguste and Scott - I think your ideas about playing for people everyday and also going to the nursing homes are great. Except, I'm too scared to do that. I'm very shy in person and I could never just call someone up and say, "hey, I'm coming over there to play your piano and you have to listen to me." But you've got the wheels in my head turning - maybe I can try doing some of those things little by little.
     
  12. sarah

    sarah New Member

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    Could you get a couple of friends together to share a recital at a retirement center? That way you won't be playing the entire program yourself but would still get the performance experience.
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    That's a good idea, Sarah. Thank you. :)
     
  14. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    The people in retirement home LOVE to listen to someone, who plays the music for them, I'm sure from some personal experiences in Germany (and I think the American old people are same at this point). Some old ladys say very loudly during the performance "Oh, beautiful!!!" So don't be disturbed by such reactions :wink:
    And also the staffs are wating for such volunteers. Give it a try and you will know that!
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    oh, okay.... :)
     
  16. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    The first question that comes to mind is : are you single? ;)
    Just kidding :) :)

    Being shy is one thing, however you have to realize you dont have much time left before the competition.
    The longer you wait to actually get ready mentally, playing wise and such, the harder it will be and the more fright you will have.
     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    ohhhh Avguste - That's just the kind of thing I need to hear - helps to get me going! But at the same time, it scares me a lot!! Although really I can't even perform my pieces for anyone right now because they are not ready. Probably because I have so much I have to prepare - about an hours worth of music. I am right now trying to memorize a few of the pieces; I've got two memorized currently, would like to get at least one more memorized, and then the rest I will play with the music on the piano. But see that's the thing - Realistically, I probably won't even make it past the first round. But what if something strange happens like everybody else plays poorly and a miracle occurs = I actually do make it into the 2nd round? :shock: Then I have to have my 2nd round pieces ready to go too. And so on...
     
  18. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    simple answer.
    Effective now, you eat, breath,sleep the competition and the program for both round.
    you wake up, you practice for 3 hours. Take 1 hour nap, back to 3 hours of practice :)
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Okay, Coach! Sounds like a good plan. :) Except I have to also get in my time at the gym everyday too so I can get that other thing (my ass) ready too. :lol: Actually, that part is already pretty good 8) , but I still like to work off all the tension I hold in. I find I can practice for longer stretches if I release tension and remind myself to relax more while I'm at the piano. (I know - duh to :arrow: me! :lol: )
     
  20. avguste

    avguste Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Work out at home.
    Use your body weight.

    And you need to send me a pic of that other thing ;) LOL :mrgreen:
     

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