How often do you perform? - Once a month, a year, a lifetime?

Discuss the joys and pratfalls of performance

How often do you perform? - Once a month, a year, a lifetime?

Once a week
3
20%
Once a month
1
7%
Once a term
2
13%
Once a year
3
20%
More
0
No votes
Never
6
40%
 
Total votes : 15

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Jul 09, 2004 1:42 pm

Performance is one of the most frightening (for some) and most valuable parts of learning and playing the piano. How often do you think students, and teachers, too, should perform. What do you do to both encourage and help with that process? How do you deal with the "jitters"?
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 Lyndall » Sun Jul 11, 2004 9:43 pm

I am currently taking lessons as well as teaching 20 students. My teacher's adult students give a recital for each other & our families once a year. We only perform one piece each plus at least one duet. It's great as it really forces me to have to polish & memorize something.

Plus, I perform (but not necessarily memorize) at all my student recitals - at least 3 per year.

My nerves are unpredictable. When I'm playing something fast like a Sonatina, it always falls apart as I've never learned to play well up to tempo so I'm not confident. Slower music I have no problem performing. I also seem to have more memory slips with faster music, but could be related to the overall phobia.

I'm very used to performing for my students' families now & don't panic unless I get too hot or too cold right before it. I do get dehydrated because I have to announce the recital/hand out awards etc first then worry about how everyone's going to play. But then when I get up there & compose myself, I actually feel pretty good. Does anyone else have this problem?
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Jul 12, 2004 11:03 am

I believe one should perform as often as possible, but in different venues. Most of the time we can simulate or approximate public performance by performing for ourselves (as I've suggested before), for a friend or friends, for family, for a recording device, and so on. Taking a lesson is performing, too, and sometimes we ought to let the student go straight through even when we can think of a dozen things to say on page 1. But it should be often and regular, unless the player has no intention of ever performing at all. We need constant development of the kind of concentration it takes to put our playing on display--the more the better.

After a time you discover that you can't really talk or psych yourself out of being nervous; what happens is that you get far more professional at being able to handle it, and then the nerves start to lessen and become manageable on their own.

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Postby 110-1089657553 » Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:58 am

I love to perform, though I haven't done so in many, many years. And even when I did perform, it was always as part of a many-student recital. I've never done a recital of my own, though I stated a solo recital as a goal when I started with my current piano teacher.

Strangely, most people I know do not even know that I play the piano. There are just no real venues for performance ... no piano bars, no open mics where a piano is available, etc. I volunteer for our church, so I've taken advantage of some opportunities to play there, but accompanying isn't my favorite genre. I have a dream of doing my own solo recital and wowing everyone by playing beautiful, difficult pieces that no one ever dreamed I could play.

When I've performed in the past, I've always played well, much better than I do at a lesson or practice. There is something about an audience that brings something out in me. Funny, because I am generally a very shy, private person--not someone who likes to be in the spotlight at all! But I guess if it's the piano that is in the spotlight with me, that changes things.
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Postby 80-1091265929 » Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:40 am

Well i don't perform per se but does playing in front of a lunch crowd unofficially count? :;):
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sun Aug 08, 2004 11:04 pm

My teacher has performance opportunities for all of her students about every seven weeks. These might be piano parties, festivals or recitals. Last year that was all I did, but this year I'm going to be performing a LOT more. My teacher is a member of an organisation that allows students to be in recitals as often as once a month, and, if I'm not mistaken, there are judges. I don't know exactly how is works though, so I guess I'll find out! I'm also going to be involved in some masterclasses and festivals and four concerto competitions. YAY! I'm really excited.

There have been times in the past year when I've gotten really nervous and screwed things up really badly, but lately I have been just fine with performing. I performed 3 times in three weeks when I was at music camp and I had a recital in March and all of those went really well. I wasn't really nervous. There were several things that helped when I was performing at music camp. For one, I had played the pieces in public two or three times before. Two, I was in the green room where I could walk around and talk with my friends and fidget. That REALLY takes off a lot of tension. I just realise "O yes, I know this piece!" and I have a really lovely time performing. Although when I was pacing like a crazy person people kept asking me if I was nervous, but I honestly didn't know. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between nerves and excitement.
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Postby 109-1094676326 » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:36 am

As a student I alway hated the performance aspects of piano! Regardless, my teacher always entered all her students in regular piano festival competitions and recitals. As a teacher, I recognize the need to teach performance skills and insist on my students participating in my recital every year. This year I am also going to add a christmas concert for the students.

I approach performance as a skill that needs to be taught. I discuss with each student what will happen, what to do, and what to do when things go wrong. I always choose a piece the student enjoys and is good at. I also encourage the student to record and listen to themselves and analyze their performance. Often it seems that students do not hear their own playing! I think the biggest mistake I have seen teachers make is just to say to students "take this piece, memorize it, and perform!" without telling them how to memorize and then how to perform.

I also discuss with my students the various types of piano players they see: classical performance, rock artists, choral and worchip accompanyment etc. Each of these types of performance is different and takes a different skill set!

I still hate to perform - my gift is in teaching - however, by my final year of lessons I won the festival.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sun Oct 17, 2004 6:36 pm

Sometimes I LOVE to perform. When it goes well it's the most amazing thing. But if I'm not prepared and I know it, then I have some problems. But There's going to be a LOT of performing for me this year. yay! Have to see how things go. Although having to play Ravel's sonatine for a masterclass when your fingers are freezing and the piano has a ridiculously hard touch and seems to hate you for no good reason is kind of interesting! But the thing with masterclasses is that you're there to learn, and you're playing for a bunch of other students that make mistakes too. So I don't stress too much about them.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Oct 18, 2004 10:02 am

Quidam, I've found two great ways to warm your hands up. For practicing, I put on a pair of vinyl kitchen gloves and soak my hands a few minutes in very hot water. The gloves protect your hands from getting burned and also from getting all wet.

At a concert I take along a small hair dryer and plug it in backstage; you can warm your hands up to the minute before you have to play.

Good luck with the Ravel--wonderful piece!Dr. Bill.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:54 pm

Dr. Bill,

Those were excellent ideas on hand warming.

I was wondering if you have anything to offer regarding sweating hands. I thought this topic was covered before at this site, but I can't seem to find anything.

In any event, during the summer months, my hands often sweat while playing the piano. This is not a problem at home because all I have to do is wash my hands and "keep on a pluckin". However, it is a nuisance when I am taking my piano lessons.

I tried putting talcum powder on my fingers, but that didn't help much. I then tried putting an anti-perspirant on my fingers, and that had limited success.
I then tried putting the anti-perspirant on my fingers first followed by the talcum powder. This combination worked better. I would wipe most of it off with a paper towel prior to the lesson. This helps somewhat, but by the end of the lesson the effectiveness is wearing off. (I smell real good though)

Any suggestions?

AFlat

:D
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:17 am

A-flat, I had a colleague once who rubbed her hands with alcohol just before playing, and it seemed to work for her, though I've never tried it myself. She said it dried the hands without leaving any kind of messy residue to get all over the keyboard.

My best private student ever, now a professional concert artist, always left my piano such a slimy mess that I couldn't touch it until I cleaned the keys. I never told him that, but I sometimes wonder if he's now messing up pianos all over the country.

Dr. Bill.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:38 pm

Thanks, Dr. Bill

I'll give the alcohol a try.

AFlat
:;):
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:49 pm

Dr. Bill,

I used rubbing alcohol on my hands for my last two lessons. It is a definate improvement over the concoction I was using before. Thanks again.

AFlat

:D
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:45 am

I had a horrible performance experience recently. I played "I Only Want to Say (Gethsemane)" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Anyone familiar with that one knows it's quite emotional, lots of dynamic changes, etc... anyhow, I was participating in a Talent Show. (Now refered to as the Lack Of Talent Show.)

The piano they provided was barely in tune (they had it tuned, but moved it around the stage several times between tuning and my playing on it). About a third of the keys didn't sound the first time I played them, and the piano had a dynamic range best described as "various shades of mf" Oh, and most of the keys were quite chipped.

It was the first time in a VERY long time that I've made faces while playing. My teachers have always told me not to make faces, not to cringe on the wrong notes, because usually the audience couldn't tell... if the audience couldn't tell this time then they probably all forgot their hearing aides at home. lol

When I finished playing I desperately wanted to grab the microphone and tell the audience that I really am good at playing the piano... really.

Anyhow... as for the sweaty hands thing... I saw a product on The View a couple of weeks ago that looked like what you are looking for. Just a dab on the palm, then rub your hands together. One of the hostesses said that she had put a whole lot of it on her hands and her hands were dry for weeks (that's when the person demonstrating the product told her you're only supposed to use a little bit. lol) Anyhow, I'm not fond of that show, so I wasn't really paying attention... I bet if you're in the States if you went to a drug store they might know what it was.

I have the opposite problem... my hands always dry out. I'm at the point now that I have to use moisturizer after every time my hands get wet, and several times throughout the day. If I don't, my hands get really dry, then the skin starts cracking.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:10 pm

My problem too, Kitty--we live in the southwest desert. If I don't use Curel on my hands almost constantly I get fingertip cracks from playing. You have to keep the skin soft. I need it on the feet as well, since I swim almost every morning.

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