Recital anxiety - How do you deal with recital nerves?

Discuss the joys and pratfalls of performance

Postby 81-1074658942 » Tue Mar 23, 2004 9:37 pm

O MY GOSH! that's really good! I hadn't even thought of that. Usually I feel really good about some aspects of my performance and really bad about others. But being a bit of a perfectionist I tend to forget that I did anything good, and I rant and rave to my mother about how bad I did. But I'm getting a little better about that. My teacher forces me to find something good about each performance.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Mar 24, 2004 10:36 am

Ah, yes, we're all alike--perfectionists. The most beautiful woman in the world looks in the mirror and sees only the one small blemish.

Dr. Freud.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 65-1081382753 » Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:12 pm

But you can simulate the performing experience by yourself. If you have a piece or a group of pieces close to performance level, go into the practice room, walk to the piano, turn and bow, and then PERFORM it. Don't allow yourself to stop anywhere--you're in performance and you have to keep going, no matter what. If you get into trouble you have to work your way out of it. Do this at least once every day. You'll be surprised to find that you can actually make yourself nervous by doing this, and it can be immensely valuable.


Mr. Bill, THANK YOU!! I started to do this a few days ago, I honestly suprised at how well it worked.I played the piece in front of several people and I barely nervous...a first for me. Thanks! :D
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Apr 13, 2004 5:09 pm

Hey, Great! Welcome, and thanks for writing.

Dr. B.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 97-1082929403 » Sun Apr 25, 2004 4:52 pm

I got a CD by Belleruth Naparstek, called Self-Confidence,
in which you visualize yourself doing well. The CD makes use of visual imagery techniques that have been proven to help heal people more quickly, of serious illnesses, than if they had merely submitted to standard, western hospital treatment.

When I know I'm ready, some time before a recital(whether it's a week before or several hours) I play this CD, narrated with beautiful music by a woman who specializes in making these recordings for people with all kinds of illnesses from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder. It makes you feel ready, eager, and excited but not negatively so. It predisposes you to feel calm, but ready. It's good for any kind of performance, not just music; and it can work for pain management, as well. You can buy it at this website:http://www.healthjourneys.com

I also found that before a recital or a concert, you don't want to get all riled up about something dumb, like rushing to prepare food for the reception. On the day, I make sure I have time for a relaxed-paced run-through, plus any trouble-shooting(but without any last-minute feeling), listen to the visual imagery CD[any relaxing music of choice will help], and get there a little early.

Plus, I cannot stress enough how important it is to try out in
advance the piano you'll be performing on. You would not believe what can go wrong with pianos. One church piano
seemed to change it's action overnight since I'd played it the day before, and another church piano that I hadn't tried out at all, sounded E every time I tried to play middle Bb! Yikes.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sun Apr 25, 2004 5:58 pm

Yikes indeed! that's some crazy tuning!!

A lot of times when I perform, I let myself be a little bit arrogant right before I go up. I just think "of course, I'm famous and they've all come to listen to how well I play, and how I never make mistakes" :laugh: and then when I do make mistakes, I just pretend that it didn't happen. "of course... it was all completely intentional! you must have been imaging the mistakes!" lol.
But a few hours later I'm back to my little down to earth self. :)
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Postby Mins Music » Sun Apr 25, 2004 10:38 pm

Welcome to the board aottoway! Some great advice there! :)
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby presto » Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:19 am

I'd like to tell about an update in my struggle with recital anxiety:
I just performed in a recital last week, and I'm so happy to say, I was able to keep myself calm and make my nervousness practically disappear!
I think this comes from experience. Every time I perform in a recital, it seems, I learn something new.
Here are some important things I've learned so far:
1. Focus on your music, not on thinking about how many people are in the audience, or what they'll think of you or your playing, etc.
2. Be well prepared. This may be a no-brainer to many people, but it still bears mentioning!
3. Take deep breaths, and try to always keep your cool.
4. The following step has been the most helpful to me, I think: Think about having a good time with the audience, how much you love to play, and keep a happy attitude of, "I can't wait for my turn to play!" Every time I thought that way, my performance was a success. Whenever I worried to much about technical aspects and didn't enjoy myself, it never went too well.
Remember, it's all about the attitude; happy performing! :;):
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No problem!
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Wed Apr 28, 2004 10:46 pm

Hey, presto, those are the things that I do before I perform. Very very helpful. Presto is wise.
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Postby presto » Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:46 pm

Lol, I'm glad you think so, Quidam. If you do all these things, then you're wise, too! :laugh:



Edited By presto on 1083620547
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Fri May 21, 2004 10:05 am

I have a recital tonight. AHHH!!!!! and I'm playing last, which means I might have a nervous breakdown somewhere in the middle. But I'm really TRYING not to worry! I guess I do know my pieces backwards and forwards. I've had dreams about playing them. lol. I'll let you all know how it goes.

I'm playing Chopin's Nocturne in c, op. 48, no. 1
and Gershwin's first piano prelude
complete opposites lol
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sat May 22, 2004 8:45 pm

HOORAY! It went really well. I'm so happy. I came early so that I could make friends with the piano, and I'm quite glad I did. It helped a lot. My hands were shaking so hard by the time I got around to playing the Gershwin, that I'm suprised it worked at all! lol. At least I wasn't playing Mozart. Then the shaking would have cause a slightly bigger problem!
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Postby Mins Music » Sun May 23, 2004 7:19 pm

Well done Quidam! :cool: :laugh:
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon May 24, 2004 6:46 am

Congratulations, Quidam. Sounds like a performance well done.

I have never played a concert myself, but I was wondering if you became more relaxed after you started playing, or did the nervousness increase?
:) :;):
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Mon May 24, 2004 10:09 pm

ummm it really depends. Actuallly, I find it really hard to remember performances. All I can say it whether it went well or not. Sometimes I remember my mistakes. But it's really a strange feeling, being up there. It's like a perfect cross between being dead to the world and being completely alive to it.

I think my nervousness decreases when I know everything is going well, and I just play. It also goes down when I successfully pass a hard spot. Overall, I just imagine that I already have a great reputation and that I'm going to give a flawless performance that people will talk about for weeks on end. :;): :D It's a bit silly, but it helps. Otherwise I find it way too easy to sit and worry about messing up.

When you perform, you will make a few mistakes. Don't worry about it. Pretend for the moment that they were intentional and move on. If you do that, the audience probably won't notice it.

hmmm I'm afraid this doesn't really answer your question too well.. but it'sa pretty thought provoking question for me!

I think it all comes down to how prepared you are, whether you've played the piece for people before, and how well it has "sunk in" musically.

Aflat, I'm sure that you'll do great when you get a chance to perform!!:)

happy trails
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