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Joined: Aug 2004
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SAMoore Offline OP
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So...

Started great....introduced my piece, sat calmly at the piano..breathed.. focused and began to play... pretty well I think.

Then about 2/3 (I'm not even quite sure of the spot) the way through this 3 minute piece I fumbled... and fumbled..... and fumbled... I completely lost focus. All the coaching from my wonderful instructor all week was nowhere to be found anywhere in my brain at that moment.

My teacher even tried to come to my rescue by suggesting I try again later......Get up again?? I said...not likely....so on I went...

Did I skip over and go on..... We ALL know that that's the correct thing to do. No....I backed up!!! really!! can you believe it!!! of course I stumbled again and after another feeble attempt I stated that I would save everyone the pain and perhaps try again later...which of course I did not.

So I figure now that I failed so miserably there's no where to go but up...???

The folks at Summer Keys are amazingly supportive and during intermission and at the party afterwards there were many words of encouragement and compliments about the part I did manage to play. Of course what else would they say....

I did learn a few things that I might not say to someone in this position... Of course all of these people were so very sweet and well-intentioned. It was kind of them to say anything at all. These are just notes for if I'm ever in the position to talk to someone after a failed performance.

I don't think I'd say....."I'm so terribly sorry.", "You need a hug.", ..."I feel so bad for you.".....or......"When you fumble like that, just go on"....(that's like telling a smoker that they shouldn't smoke)

Do say...."That was a beautiful piece, I really enjoyed what I heard" That was perhaps the best comment.
One guy said.. "That was wonderful, please try it again I'd love to hear the rest".. he was sweet....and an amazing cellist.
Do say...."Isn't it terrible when your mind goes blank like that?" Don't worry it happens to everyone at some point."
...and of couse comments from my teacher about the tone and clarity of what I did play meant a lot to me.

One fellow pianist suggested I try playing with my feet...he was actually very kind and funny ...that was ok too..

I do have to say though, that after sleeping on it, I'm quite deflated today.... a lot of questions going through my mind. Why am I doing this? (maybe I should take up knitting) Do I really need to perform? Am I really going to attempt to do grade 6 exams next spring? Will I come again next year and if I do will I perform? probably not. I'll call my teacher tomorrow and arrange an 'inspirational' lesson. I may have to take a break....or take up cello!!!

Here's how it sounded at one of my practice sessions that I taped.....not perfect but at least it's all there....
http://www.box.net/shared/3d8hi9rnvn

It's slow and not a difficult piece...I really should have been able to get through it...grrrrr....

If you made it this far through my ramblings...thanks for "listening."

Sandy - beating herself up a little more before moving on.....

Last edited by IPIBAHN - Sandy; 09/05/09 11:37 AM.

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Well, it sounds very nice on your practice tape.

I don't think I have ever played as well as I would have liked in a recital. This phenomenon bothers me less and less over time, despite some fairly spectacular lapses. I guess the dread of losing my way through a piece in front of a polite, attentive, concerned audience is no longer one of my worst fears.


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Sandy, It takes a lot of courage to play in front of people. What happened to you is kind of like the saying, "When I stand up (in your case sit up) in front of people, my mind sits down". I've never played at a recital, but I remember many times that I could play a piece very good and then I proudly played it for just a family member and it turned into a disaster.

Performing even in front of a small group of people (or even a person)is an art in and of itself. I haven't mastered it, but it's really about being able to control your mind, staying calm, and staying focused. I guess it's one of those things that the more you do it, the more comfortable you become.

Sit down and play some of your favorite pieces. Remember how hard parts of those pieces were to learn and the feelings you had when you finally were able to play them. Then you will remember why you love the piano.

Ben


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Sandy, That was a beautiful piece, I really enjoyed what I heard.

When I fumble, it's usually for one of three reasons:

- I tell myself: Goodie, i've made is so far without mistake; now if I can just manage the rest ...

- I play the piece a bit too fast to show off and when the hard part comes ...

- I play really well and start listening to the music instead of focusing on playing ...

And when that happens, the brain goes blank; and since I memorize all that I play ...

So, do beat yourself up a little more but remember You make beautiful music and please keep on playing for us and others.

Thanks


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Sandy,

My teacher compares performance opportunities to going into battle. It's true, just walking up to the piano takes a ton of courage.

In honor of your performance, you have earned the Grand Piano Medal of Courage.

http://www.pianoworld.com/ABF_Medals/medal_c_1.jpg

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Add it to your signature and wear it proudly! You've earned it!

Rich


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Sandy.... Been there and done that! I only played a couple of recitals when i took lessons and the most important one I sat down, looked at the keys and.....FORGOT EVERYTHING. I did like 5 fake starts of the Brahams. Then finally got going and started doing a "round". I would get to a spot and rather than go on to the next measure ended up going back to a spot ten measures back. God knows how long I did that. My wife and I now laugh about it. It really was funny (but not at the time...) . Anyway.... don't think too hard on your "fub". It's a minor blip in the symphony of life.

I love your practice recording by the way.

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Hey Sandy -

yes, the piece is beautiful. Thanks so much for posting it. I love hearing other ABFers play, whether in the quarterly recitals or the piano bar. I think it's kind of a miracle that we can do it.

I have no idea how those blank spaces come up when playing, but they do. I'm fine playing for dancers/dances because it's a shared experience between all of us, but I had more trouble playing solo for an adult day care center. But I did know that they love having live music. A recital - I dunno. If I could convince myself that it was, also, a shared experience between me and the audience I might enjoy it. But - well, there's the rub for me. The word "audience." I haven't figured out how to turn that in to "we're all in this together" the way that a dance is.

As I said in another thread, I love hearing about your camp experiences, so if you don't go next year I'll miss the reports laugh

Great post, and again, thanks for keeping us updated.

Cathy


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Sandy, your practice tape sounds wonderful. I have had the same experience in live recital. It was many years ago, though, since I haven't participated in a live performance (other than a handful of family and friends) in many years. Now that I think about it, it may have been that experience at 8 years of age that made me decide that I could not memorize music. Hmm . . . I wonder if that is some sort of psychological breakthrough. laugh

At any rate, please do not succumb to whatever happened to cause my issues with memorization. One memory lapse does not mean you cannot memorize. Of course, you're not eight years old, so you already know that. Here I am trying to be encouraging, but some how it isn't coming out that way, is it?


Well, I guess I suck at encouragement. You really have come a long way in your musical journey, Sandy. Don't give up now!

Last edited by TX-Dennis; 09/05/09 03:05 PM. Reason: darn typo

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Knitting is nice, but it can be frustrating too, so don't leave your beloved piano!

Thanks for posting your recording. I enjoyed it very much.

I hate it when I don't play as well as I can because of nerves.

I assume you were playing from memory. One thing I've seen at recitals where people got lost is the instructor provides the music for the student, and they are able to go on. Don't know if that would have helped you.

I crashed and burned at the first piano party I played at and ran screaming from the room. (Well, not really screaming!).

One of the best pianists there (who also suffers from performance anxiety) complimented me on the piece. I called it a train wreck, and she shrugged and said, "well, you didn't get through it" as if that wasn't really the most important issue. She didn't make a big deal about it. I went on to play at a couple of other parties, never as well as I'd like, but still I try it.

I agree with Cathy that it's much easier when you aren't the focus of the attention. I think I played my best at a party when everybody else was in the other room.

This may be a case of getting back on the bike. I think performance is every bit as difficult as (and a different skill than) learning the piece.

I hope you have many more opportunities to play for others to rebuild your confidence.



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Hi Sandy, doing a recital at Summerkeys is bound to be a high-anxiety setting! You're playing for a musically sophisticated audience including a lot of teachers. I think you deserve a huge pat on the back. Please focus on all the positive benefits from doing the program and try not to dwell on the disasters.

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I remember playing Chopin's Waltz in A minor for 2 recitals in group classes at the college. It was way above my level the first time, I didn't even know all the mistakes I played, not to mention I played it a dirge like tempo.

The second semester I had much improved it and just wanted to redeem myself since I adore the piece. I LITERALLY made an error in EVERY SINGLE MEASURE. I just kept going of course.

What a disaster. I realized I had picked a piece above my level of ability at the time, and I learned it without a private teacher, but I'm glad I did it anyway.

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I go blank if the dog farts, can't imagine doing a live recital.

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Sandy,

Wow - the piece you posted was really beautiful! Thank you for sharing it!

I just think it's amazing that you could get up in front of all of those people (and teachers, eek!) at all. I have, so far, avoided all recitals... much to my teacher's chagrin wink Nerves of jello over here!

I don't know what happens, but my brain blanks out too - and when it does - everything is just gone!

Your playing is beautiful, so please don't let this one experience get you down!

-saerra


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Sandy
Loved the articulation of your practice run... a very lovely piece. Performing for a group is like learning to play the piano- it takes practice. I say that knowing full well - I drown the keyboard with sweat everytime I try! eek








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Thank you everyone for your comments. Carl, practicing performing is exactly what I need to do if I want to perform. So I have to decide...do I want to perform? and if I do, I need to practice just that.

I must say my experience really took the wind out of my sails but I talked at length with my teacher this evening and we'll meet in a couple of days. I'm sure I'll be back on track soon...


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That happened to me at a recital this past spring. I was playing Rachmaninoff — the Sérénade Op. 3 No. 5 to be exact — and it's SO MADDENING!! I was able to improvise a bit and get back on track. Fortunately the audience didn't know the music. grin You must discipline yourself to pick right back up without missing a beat to survive a memory lapse.


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Performing is happening live and that makes it really special! We do mess up sometimes, but when things go well we share a very nice moment with the people listening. (Sometimes the music can be great even including mishaps.) Just keep enjoying sharing the good tunes you learn.


Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Wow, Sandy! That is pretty. I wish I could do that. I can't even play when my best friend is standing listening. I just go 'stupid'! You can't give it up; you are good!


“Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up. They hear a voice in the hall outside and hope that it just passes by.” Billy Joel

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SAMoore Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
That happened to me at a recital this past spring. I was playing Rachmaninoff — the Sérénade Op. 3 No. 5 to be exact — and it's SO MADDENING!! I was able to improvise a bit and get back on track. Fortunately the audience didn't know the music. grin You must discipline yourself to pick right back up without missing a beat to survive a memory lapse.


This we all know I think. It's actually creating opportunities to practice doing it that is important. This recital was my second performance in all the years I've been playing and the first went well. I don't have enough experience 'performing' to get myself out of these embarassing situations...... I have to perform more ...... or not at all...


Last edited by IPIBAHN - Sandy; 09/07/09 09:31 PM.

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I must be weird. recitals are my favorite part of playing, and i am looking for a place where I can do three or four a year. I love the feeling of power - you can hold the note, do something different, make them wait just a little longer than they expect for the note.. too much fun. My kid is the same way. It's always her favorite part.


Michael

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