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Stage Fright #1399874
03/20/10 09:56 AM
03/20/10 09:56 AM
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Schuur Offline OP
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Strategies for overcoming this? I was thinking about inviting some friends over for a concert (one at a time) and seeing where I choked. It might be an issue of not having practiced thoroughly enough or it might be the issue of just getting used to playing in front of people.

Suggestions?

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Re: Stage Fright [Re: Schuur] #1399879
03/20/10 10:11 AM
03/20/10 10:11 AM
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Waxahachie, Texas
daviel Offline
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Practice - - - over-do it. Also practice performing. Play some recitals at nursing homes and for friends at your house. Get used to the venue you are going to perform in in advance. Just a few thoughts. You will overcome it!


"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Schuur] #1399881
03/20/10 10:13 AM
03/20/10 10:13 AM
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Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted by Schuur
Strategies for overcoming this? I was thinking about inviting some friends over for a concert (one at a time) and seeing where I choked. It might be an issue of not having practiced thoroughly enough or it might be the issue of just getting used to playing in front of people.
Suggestions?

I think you totally covered it right there. smile (and Daviel did pretty much too)

Those are the things that are involved in stage fright. Some people put complete emphasis on one of those things and some people on the other, but it can be either, and usually both.

Get experience playing in front of people, starting with less challenging situations and working gradually to more challenging situations, and make sure you "really" know the music.

And if all that stuff doesn't work, then consider medication. ha
j/k
Lots of performers do use it (various types of meds) -- we hear rumors to the effect that half of Juilliard takes it -- but that's not what we want to put much emphasis on.

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Schuur] #1399899
03/20/10 11:05 AM
03/20/10 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Schuur
Strategies for overcoming this? I was thinking about inviting some friends over for a concert (one at a time) and seeing where I choked. It might be an issue of not having practiced thoroughly enough or it might be the issue of just getting used to playing in front of people.

Suggestions?


Try to realize that audiences are extremely charitable (you could read that as ignorant, and please do) and will enjoy the concert however you play. (this flies out the window if it is a contest with a panel of judges)

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Re: Stage Fright [Re: Damon] #1399908
03/20/10 11:14 AM
03/20/10 11:14 AM
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Haverhill, Massachusetts
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John Citron Offline
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Rehearse in front of people. Drag them off the street, get friends if you still have any because you spend 99.999% of your life in the practice room, family, and anyone else you can find to listen.

Attend Piano World piano parties if there are any in your area. This is a great way to play for audiences and get the nerves under control. The ones we have up here have become mini-recitals where we all play for each other.

My 2-cents on what the others have said here.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Mark_C] #1399961
03/20/10 12:34 PM
03/20/10 12:34 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,777
Phoenix, Arizona
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Schuur
Strategies for overcoming this? I was thinking about inviting some friends over for a concert (one at a time) and seeing where I choked. It might be an issue of not having practiced thoroughly enough or it might be the issue of just getting used to playing in front of people.
Suggestions?

I think you totally covered it right there. smile (and Daviel did pretty much too)

Those are the things that are involved in stage fright. Some people put complete emphasis on one of those things and some people on the other, but it can be either, and usually both.

Get experience playing in front of people, starting with less challenging situations and working gradually to more challenging situations, and make sure you "really" know the music.

And if all that stuff doesn't work, then consider medication. ha
j/k
Lots of performers do use it (various types of meds) -- we hear rumors to the effect that half of Juilliard takes it -- but that's not what we want to put much emphasis on.


Quite honestly - if someone needs meds to get through a performance - they probably shouldn't be performing. smile

When you think about it, playing an entire program in front of a live audience by memory - is a daunting feat - and one of the most challenging things (physically and mentally) a human being can do. Not everyone is cut out for it - and for some it is much easier than others.

The best you do is over-prepare, know the music inside and out, play your program in a variety of settings before the "big" performance, and identify places within each piece that you can jump ahead to if you hit a snag.

Also - try to be objective and consider what's really at stake if you mess up. In some instances it may actually be your teaching job, your class grade, your academic degree or your professional reputation. For many of us these aren't really issues - so in the great scheme of things - a slip up or two isn't the end of the world. If you bomb, there's always a next time !!








Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Stage Fright [Re: John Citron] #1399965
03/20/10 12:39 PM
03/20/10 12:39 PM
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Claude56 Offline
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Here are some things to help yourself with stage fright:

Exercise
Eat and drink right
Rehearse your repertoire better
Work your brain and do more school like activities
Play at more concerts so you can get used to playing on stage
Breath
Relax
Focus and bring all your attention to the piano when you are performing
Make sure posture is correct
Only look at one person in the audience
Imagine people in underwear
Do not worry



Last edited by noSkillz; 03/20/10 12:40 PM.
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Claude56] #1399982
03/20/10 01:09 PM
03/20/10 01:09 PM
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New York
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Originally Posted by noSkillz
......Imagine people in underwear....

Or out of underwear. ha

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Mark_C] #1400002
03/20/10 01:50 PM
03/20/10 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by noSkillz
......Imagine people in underwear....

Or out of underwear. ha


Either way - I think I'd find that to be a tad distracting !!! grin


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Carey] #1400018
03/20/10 02:10 PM
03/20/10 02:10 PM
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Are there any rules against using medication (for example propranolol) at major competitions?

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Carey] #1400020
03/20/10 02:13 PM
03/20/10 02:13 PM
Joined: May 2007
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[Linked Image] I have new theory that if you can place your performance in your imagination (from note 1 to note x) then adrenaline (which causes stage fright) can't get at it.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Carey] #1400022
03/20/10 02:15 PM
03/20/10 02:15 PM
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2301 Offline
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Although you were joking about medication, it is widely used by professional musicians. Some studies suggest that more than one third of professional musicians use them. Beta blockers are the drug of choice for musicians, they inhibit the release of stress chemicals (adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline). These chemicals cause shaking, sweating, dry mouth etc. The use of these drugs is even more widespread among brass players because they suffer because of dry mouths.

I can recommend some books on the subject of stage fright:
The Audition Process: Anxiety Management and Coping Strategies by Stuart Edward Dunkel
Anxiety and Musical Performance: On Playing the Piano From Memory by Dale Reubart
The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green

Last edited by 2301; 03/20/10 02:16 PM.
Re: Stage Fright [Re: 2301] #1400027
03/20/10 02:26 PM
03/20/10 02:26 PM
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John Citron Offline
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I've started an interesting book by Seymour Bernstein. "Your Own Two Hands". In there he mentions memorization and public performances. Of interesting note, he says the biggest cause of mess ups is due to not focusing on the present and thinking too far ahead.

This makes sense, and I've had it work occasionally. If we focus on the present thing we're working on rather than what's coming up, we can concentrate our energy on what we can control, and not panic on what's heading our way.

Most importantly he also discusses the slow practice so that the mind and the fingers are absolutely sure of the music so when auto-pilot kicks in, we have one less thing to worry about.

Interesting book so far.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Stage Fright [Re: 2301] #1400032
03/20/10 02:34 PM
03/20/10 02:34 PM
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I don't agree with whoever said if you need meds you shouldn't be performing. Horowitz has TERRIBLE stage fright! He often cancelled concerts because of it.

I had a gin once before a final of a competition.. Not a good idea!



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Pogorelich.] #1400035
03/20/10 02:37 PM
03/20/10 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
I don't agree with whoever said if you need meds you shouldn't be performing. Horowitz has TERRIBLE stage fright! He often cancelled concerts because of it.

I had a gin once before a final of a competition.. Not a good idea!


I agree. I'm on a continuous medication for a neurologic condition, and the brain fog it gives me has ruined my performances and lessons more than once. It also really affects my memory so anything worked on yesterday is as good as not worked on today. Totally frustrating, and not worth doing if you can avoid it.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Stage Fright [Re: keyboardklutz] #1400039
03/20/10 02:43 PM
03/20/10 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
[Linked Image] I have new theory that if you can place your performance in your imagination (from note 1 to note x) then adrenaline (which causes stage fright) can't get at it.


This is very interesting. More detail please?


Piano Teacher
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Barb860] #1400046
03/20/10 02:50 PM
03/20/10 02:50 PM
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Outside of drugs there's nothing you can do about the bodily effects of adrenaline. Whether sightreading or playing from memory if you can 'see' your fingers play every note in your mind's eye "without repetition, hesitation or deviation" and with the correct fingering then you can't mess up because adrenaline doesn't effect imagination. Matthay calls it 'silent practice'. Getting to that degree of competence with a work is a lot of effort though. Those who can 100% play by ear obviously have a different route.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Stage Fright [Re: keyboardklutz] #1400052
03/20/10 03:07 PM
03/20/10 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Outside of drugs there's nothing you can do about the bodily effects of adrenaline. Whether sightreading or playing from memory if you can 'see' your fingers play every note in your mind's eye "without repetition, hesitation or deviation" and with the correct fingering then you can't mess up because adrenaline doesn't effect imagination. Matthay calls it 'silent practice'. Getting to that degree of competence with a work is a lot of effort though. Those who can 100% play by ear obviously have a different route.


So then, it's an invisible performance, since it's all in your imagination, yes? =p



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Stage Fright [Re: stores] #1400054
03/20/10 03:09 PM
03/20/10 03:09 PM
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My dear Watson, elementary!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Stage Fright [Re: keyboardklutz] #1400105
03/20/10 04:29 PM
03/20/10 04:29 PM
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Last edited by Batuhan; 03/20/10 04:30 PM.

Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Batuhan] #1400107
03/20/10 04:36 PM
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...and?


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Stage Fright [Re: 2301] #1400137
03/20/10 05:30 PM
03/20/10 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 2301
Although you were joking about medication, it is widely used by professional musicians. Some studies suggest that more than one third of professional musicians use them. Beta blockers are the drug of choice for musicians, they inhibit the release of stress chemicals (adrenaline, cortisol and noradrenaline). These chemicals cause shaking, sweating, dry mouth etc. The use of these drugs is even more widespread among brass players because they suffer because of dry mouths.

I can recommend some books on the subject of stage fright:
The Audition Process: Anxiety Management and Coping Strategies by Stuart Edward Dunkel
Anxiety and Musical Performance: On Playing the Piano From Memory by Dale Reubart
The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green


Actually I wasn't joking. I honestly don't think a pianist (or any musician) should rely on medication to get through a performance. The medication becomes a crutch. I speak from experience, having been overly reliant on anti-anxiety meds myself at one point in my life.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Stage Fright [Re: keyboardklutz] #1400148
03/20/10 06:02 PM
03/20/10 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Outside of drugs there's nothing you can do about the bodily effects of adrenaline. Whether sightreading or playing from memory if you can 'see' your fingers play every note in your mind's eye "without repetition, hesitation or deviation" and with the correct fingering then you can't mess up because adrenaline doesn't effect imagination. Matthay calls it 'silent practice'. Getting to that degree of competence with a work is a lot of effort though. Those who can 100% play by ear obviously have a different route.


My old piano teacher called this mental practicing and I can vouch that it does work. When I was preparing for my audition last December, I went out for a walk and practiced my Mozart Fantasy in my head when I took a break. I focused on each page, note, phrase, etc. When it came to to play the piece for real, it was like an old friend then because it was well so rehearsed.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Schuur] #1400155
03/20/10 06:13 PM
03/20/10 06:13 PM
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I agree with pretty well all of the suggestions so far, with practicing playing in front of other people being the most important. Even if you don't suffer from stage fright you will find that playing for an audience adds more distractions. If you barely know the piece well enough to play when you have no audience you will probably make mistakes when you do have an audience.

For me the hardest part is playing on a piano I'm not used to so if you get a change to practice on location you should do so.

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Chris G] #1400196
03/20/10 07:18 PM
03/20/10 07:18 PM
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I said this before, and a lot of people did not like it, but I think it is important, particularly when you are playing for others, to play for fun. There is no point in worrying about the music you are playing so much that you are not having fun playing it. Not only that, I think I am not the only one who prefers to be entertained by people who want to share the enjoyment they are having performing.

If you make a mistake, it is no big deal to me unless you make it into a big deal, which is why I tell people not to talk about mistakes with anyone. (Whether or not they know you made a mistake, there is no need to tell them.) Learn to ignore them.

It all boils down to the fact that it is only a performance. You do not need to obsess over it.


Semipro Tech
Re: Stage Fright [Re: BDB] #1400236
03/20/10 08:26 PM
03/20/10 08:26 PM
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To add to the above, whenever I have a wrong note I think of Horowitz =) if he's allowed so should I!



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Stage Fright [Re: Pogorelich.] #1400284
03/20/10 09:53 PM
03/20/10 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
To add to the above, whenever I have a wrong note I think of Horowitz =) if he's allowed so should I!


Foul. Disrespect for Horowitz is not allowed! shocked

Re: Stage Fright [Re: John Citron] #1400287
03/20/10 10:01 PM
03/20/10 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by John Citron
I've started an interesting book by Seymour Bernstein. "Your Own Two Hands". In there he mentions memorization and public performances. Of interesting note, he says the biggest cause of mess ups is due to not focusing on the present and thinking too far ahead.

This makes sense, and I've had it work occasionally. If we focus on the present thing we're working on rather than what's coming up, we can concentrate our energy on what we can control, and not panic on what's heading our way.

Most importantly he also discusses the slow practice so that the mind and the fingers are absolutely sure of the music so when auto-pilot kicks in, we have one less thing to worry about.


This is exactly what my teacher and I discussed today. My problem with anxiety caused numerous mistakes and mess ups - but focusing on the present... not about the next section or even the next note allowed me to play through the piece without error. Slowly of course... but it took the anxiety right out of it!

So that's my practice technique for the next month leading up to exam time.

Re: Stage Fright [Re: Damon] #1400300
03/20/10 10:23 PM
03/20/10 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by AngelinaPogorelich
To add to the above, whenever I have a wrong note I think of Horowitz =) if he's allowed so should I!


Foul. Disrespect for Horowitz is not allowed! shocked


She's not, at all, disrespecting, Horowitz. Lord knows he was familiar with wrong notes, but as a great pianist once said, "If you are afraid to play a wrong note, the other notes sound less right."

Last edited by stores; 03/20/10 10:24 PM.


"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $

Re: Stage Fright [Re: LimeFriday] #1400307
03/20/10 10:37 PM
03/20/10 10:37 PM
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Strategies I learned in a performance anxiety class:
1. Own the room. Place an imaginary star somewhere far back and high on the wall in the room you will perform in. That star means the room belongs to you. You are not a visitor. Play to that star...or play to a single person in the room.

2. Anticipate distractions such as odd sounds, coughs, squeaks and make an affirmation that you will not be distracted. Ask someone to make random noises while you practice. Ask them to come up behind you and thump your chair or poke you. Put the portable phone near your piano while you practice and ignore it when it rings. Affirm that you will not let anything distract you during the performance.

3. Sit down at the piano and deliberately play some terrible mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself and keep going.

4. Be able to restart the piece from many places so if you do make a mistake, you can pick up the music again, seamlessly.

5. Take advantage of all opportunities to play for others. Ask your friends and family. Also try to play on as many pianos as possible.

Here's some things I learned from reading:

6. Schedule a "performance" several weeks in advance but this performance will take place at home, when you are alone. You will find yourself getting excited as you anticipate your dress rehearsal. Pretend it's the real thing. Get dressed up as you would for the real concert. Enter your music room as if it is the stage. Bow to your audience even if it is just the cat. Play. Bow and accept their applause. Leave the "stage".

7. These illustrations are from the book "The Perfect Wrong Note" by William Westney.

[Linked Image]

He calls the first illustration an "ego drama" in which your energy is driven by "what do you think of me?" as if you are performing for a panel of judges. You feel powerless and experience a physical sense of constriction. All the energy in the room points at the performer.

In the second illustration, you convert the thinking to generosity as in, "Let me share this with you" and "What does this mean to all of us right at this moment?". Sending the energy out creates a bond between you and the audience in which everyone is rewarded.

And here are a few things I've learned on my own:

8. When I play informally for people, I always wish I had played better. I often want to play a second time. During my second opportunity of the evening, I'm always more relaxed and I play much better. So, pretend your first performance of the night is really your second. "Hi it's me again" and you will do much better. It's all about mind games!

9. I love what I play and I want my love of the music to come through so I try to stay focused on projecting that love. I try to remember that I want to feel good and the audience wants to feel good. No one is my enemy. They are all hoping I will play well so our goals are the same.


Edit. Oh yes, one more thing. Think slightly ahead (maybe the next measure) of where you are playing and stay focused there.


Best regards,

Deborah
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