Feeling nervous before a performance - How can you get rid of it?

Like to talk with other young piano students? This is the place!

Postby pianogal » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:48 pm

On my last recital, I felt so nervous that I pretty much forgot the whole song. It was embarracing.

I'm always wondering how do performers, even other students at the recital feeling so excited and confident?

I'm desperate for help!
Don't ever give up piano, because you will like it someday
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:35 am

Performing can be tough for anyone. However, there are some things you can do to reduce performance anxiety and memory slips. There are several threads on this Board that deal with performance. Use the Board's Search feature to find them, using the keyword "performance". The one that comes immediately to mind is Preventing performance nerves.

The main part of the site also has several articles which are relevant, e.g. Dealing with performance anxiety - the three P's and Memorizing music for performance. The main part of the site has its own multiple means of searching to find relevant articles. Just go to the Search page linked in the upper left hand corner of very page on the site to search the rest of PEP. These should give you a good start. :)

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All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby pianogal » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:13 am

Thank you so much! I'm finally finding some ways to deal with it!
Let's see how I do on the Oct. recital and festival! :cool:
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Postby Stretto » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:36 pm


Cool avatar!

I like to think about figure skaters, say like those who are in the Olympics and other big competitions. Sometimes they may slip, fall, even totally wipe out. Does this mean their performance is a total loss? Often times they still get very high marks and depending on others performances may still even win a medal even gold! They are scored on overall performance. Even with a fall, the audience still raves over an emotionally moving artistic performance.

Often times in performing piano, it seems a few small slips or even one big obvious blunder (I've been there done that more than once!) everyone seems to think that makes the performance a failure. I like to think in terms of the figure skating when performing and try to think of bringing out artistry as much as possible.

What makes me the most nervous is the feeling "all eyes are on me". It makes me worry a lot about being judged for slips. What has helped me also most in recent years is to think about all those audience members, probably having had a long day, or some bad experience in their lives, health problems, or all the stress people tend to carry around. I think if my playing can take away a little of the stress, give them something else enjoyable to put their mind on temporarily. So I think in terms of "what I can do for the audience". Some nice expression in playing even with a few slips can still be meaningful to an audience. It helps me take the focus off of "me" and onto "others". If I mess up, who cares about me because it wasn't for me in the first place.

One of my teachers said something I'll never forget. "A good performer isn't one who can play perfectly. A good performer is one who is good at covering up mistakes." He talked in terms of when practicing a piece one should actually practice covering up mistakes. Not to say never work out mistakes in practice. But some of the time when playing through the piece as if performing it, practice covering up mistakes.

I also think in terms of everyone else in the audience has probably gotten in front of people for various things and gotten really nervous and even messed up what they were suppose to be doing. We've all "been there done that" so I figure they all know what it's like to be the one up there, then it helps me not be so nervous knowing the audience has all been in similar shoes.

If all else fails, I've heard people find it helpful to think about the audience in some funny way, for example think about them all being a bunch of chickens dancing around to the performance.

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Postby Tranquillo » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:55 am

jump up and down and up and down and up and down heaps of times. Sing a nursery ryhme at the top of your lungs. Play clap games. run around and around and around!
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