Recital anxiety - How do you deal with recital nerves?

Discuss the joys and pratfalls of performance

Postby 65-1074818729 » Tue May 25, 2004 9:50 am

Thanks Quidam,

You brought some interesting points.

Regards, AFlat :)
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Postby Ursie » Tue May 25, 2004 4:32 pm

Quidam, does your teacher arrange performance opportunities for you?
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed May 26, 2004 2:25 pm

I had a really bad moment in a recital once: I had been playing for about 10 or 12 minutes when I suddenly realized I had not yet hit a wrong note (this is not like me at all!). So I was more nervous then that at any time before or during the recital! Of course I didn't make a mistake on purpose, but when one finally happened I felt greatly relieved, and relaxed considerably.

Dr. Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Thu May 27, 2004 10:49 pm

O my gosh, Dr. Bill, I know exactly what you mean! you get to thinking "okay.. I know I'm going to screw up somewhere.. wait... it hasn't happened yet! what if it happens in the really important part!! AHH' Such strange thoughts run through your head when you perform. lol

Ursie, my teacher does arrange performance opportunities. We have piano parties every eight weeks, and a recital at the end. She has also looked around a bit and found a lot of competitions that I can enter. YAY! those will come in the fall, so I'll really have to stay on it this summer. I'm working on learning the first movement of Macdowell's second piano concerto. It's such a cool piece, but I'm REALLY going to have to work to get it going in time.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sun May 30, 2004 2:15 pm

Quid, last week Randy Johnson, the great pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitched a perfect game: 27 straight outs; not one runner reached first base on a hit, a walk or an error--very, very rare in the major leagues. After the game, Johnson said, "Of course I knew what was going on; in the last two innings I just had to work harder to keep my focus." I saw that game from the 4th inning on, and it was marvelous to watch him. He didn't fool around, take extra time, show nerves or fatigue--just kept the same rhythm and pitched to batter after batter. He struck out the last two batters, and his last pitch was a 97 mph fastball.

What a lesson for we piano players! Keep your focus, no matter what crazy thoughts go through your head up there on the stage. And the thing that helps most of all is experience: getting used to doing it, getting used to staying in that groove. That's why I urge students to perform for themselves--every day if possible. Practice performing! You really can simulate the performance enough to have to work on staying focussed no matter what.

Dr. Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sun May 30, 2004 10:44 pm

Holy smokes... a perfect game. wowie. I'll have to remember that one!
You're definitely right, Dr. Bill, performing a lot helps immensely! I'm always asking my family to stand around the piano while I play for them. And I play for friends whenever they ask to hear something. I also have a huge number of relatives within walking distance, so they all get to hear recitals pieces about a millions times too! I had no idea how much of a difference it would make when I started playing for people more. It's completely worth the effort of finding an audience. And it's really fun too! :)
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