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Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Piano*Dad] #1503787
08/26/10 06:26 PM
08/26/10 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
From Canonie: keep in mind the distinction between a competition or master class, on the one hand, and a performance, on the other. The former constitute preparation for the latter, which is a giving back to the audience. I like this distinction. I consulted my resident pianist (son, of course). I asked him if he prepared differently for a competition vs. a performance, and if he felt different on stage at one or the other. He said that they were all the same to him. He does not prepare differently and he does not feel different (more or less jittery, for example). He is only a data point. Others may feel the difference more keenly.

Yes. That was the distinction I was making. A healthy and generous performance mindset is something that a performer perhaps hopes to find, and it can become a habit (I've been lucky to have this habit in other instruments and things). But I was acknowledging how hard it is to find and nurture this habit in the Performance Major/critical feedback situation such as Pogorelich's.

Your son is lucky to have found a healthy performance habit that carries across to a variety of performances. This is what you want! You mentioned competition - there is usually an audience who is really enjoying themselves at these, as well as the judges. Perhaps performing an exam for a panel of judges is the very hardest. In this case one would hope to fall back on a love of performing developed through having many meaningful performances, having the performance habit.

But No, like your son, I would never prepare any differently for exam versus performance!! I find it's important to think of them in the Same way.

I have piano performance nervousness, but I am trying to gradually bring my performance habit from other areas to make piano performing meaningful, exciting, a positive act. It works if the music is not too hard... I'm still so new.


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Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Julian_] #1503998
08/27/10 12:19 AM
08/27/10 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by SlatterFan
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Should I even bother, maybe I should go into a different field? But I know I can't, I've done this all my life.

I think it would be sad to risk losing what you have. There are valuable things in musical performance that can't be taught, only nurtured, and you have them. Many of us see it, and I suspect this could even have triggered the asinine comment from the adjudicator. It would not be the first time that an older person sensed something special in a younger person, perhaps more of a desirable quality than they had at that age, or will ever have, and lashed out.

By the way, have you forced yourself to watch the slow movement of the Chopin again? You might be very pleasantly surprised. Remember we can't see the outer movements, if those bring back bad memories for you -- all we can see and hear is the poetry of the slow movement.


You are really, way too nice! I really appreciate your comments..

I don't know, or maybe I really did suck that much.. I'll hear the recording when it arrives in a few weeks. Ha, maybe I should really tell you all he said. While he was speaking to me in the masterclass I thought my insides were freezing completely. I cannot believe the effect that had on me. I mean, I've never liked my playing, but I was starting to get better at it, and after that it kind of went backwards. I should really stop caring, but for some reason I can't.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Canonie] #1504012
08/27/10 01:31 AM
08/27/10 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Canonie
[...]
But No, like your son, I would never prepare any differently for exam versus performance!! I find it's important to think of them in the Same way.

[...]


Exactly, Canonie! Because the aspect of giving a gift pushes out all the other junk!

I learned this in a different performance setting--storytime at the public library! Preparing and giving 3 to 10 storytimes a week for 15 years gave me a lot of practice. When I caught on to the idea that people were there to enjoy the material presented through me, given to them with my personal touch / flair / feeling / sound / sense / look / etc. -- in otherwords --giving them the gift of myself -- performing became a joy, not a scare, and there was tremendous freedom to be found.

Like you, Canonie, I am now transferring that mindset to piano performance. WHY oh WHY is there so much baggage with piano performance???

The only time my dad ever yelled at me was when I was a middle teen and I said I didn't like playing piano in front of people because I was afraid of what they would think of me. I hated the emotional upset of "making a mistake" *gasp*. I was learning some easier Beethoven Sonatas with my piano teacher and playing four hand Dvorak Slavic Dances with him at the time. He was hot when he scolded, "Well, if that's what you think, then you've got a lot to learn about music!!!" I didn't know what he meant, then, and I was too young and self-conscious and clueless to ask. Plus, I was stunned that he actually yelled at me! eek grin

It has taken me quite a while to get to that place of peace in learning how to prepare and give the gift, but I finally got there!

Take heart, Angelina!

--Andy

Last edited by Cinnamonbear; 08/27/10 01:34 AM.

I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1504050
08/27/10 03:47 AM
08/27/10 03:47 AM
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I give up.


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Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1504055
08/27/10 04:03 AM
08/27/10 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear


WHY oh WHY is there so much baggage with piano performance???



Because, in many ways, it is one of the most complex things human beings consciously attempt to do.

And because it is also one of the most weirdly unnatural things - I mean, really, coaxing music that touches hearts and minds out of that crazy horrible machine via our fingers, on a keyboard laid out in a way that seems deliberately designed to induce nightmares!?!?!

And because the repertoire practically demands that the performer is at least as high-strung and neurotic as the composers, just to do the music interpretive justice.

And because the feedback the performer gets from the audience is often from people who have no idea.

And because, as Martha Argerich has said, playing piano is a useless occupation and it would be much better to be a fireman or a doctor. (Actually, I don't believe this at all, and I think Argerich was playing a "poor nothing me" game when she said it, so that everyone in hearing distance would assure her of her value to the world, thus enabling her in her continuation in a "useless" role in society. After all, she is one of the world's most famous pianists, and not just another doc I go see when I'm sick.

Hmmm...)



Re: Confidence and performing [Re: wr] #1504057
08/27/10 04:28 AM
08/27/10 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by wr




And because, as Martha Argerich has said, playing piano is a useless occupation and it would be much better to be a fireman or a doctor.



That's not actually what she said. Though she's said that she would have liked to have been a doctor had she not been a pianist, she made the comment, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, that, “The only professionals of any use now are doctors and firemen”. Of course, that implies that every other profession is useless, but it IS different than saying specifically that being a pianist is useless, though Argerich is well known for her questions about the nature of her profession. Maybe you've read another quote?



"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."

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Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Pogorelich.] #1504061
08/27/10 04:49 AM
08/27/10 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
That would be good yes, but.. where I am, everybody judges. But I mean, maybe it's not such a terrible thing.. we all learn things when we are critical. Stuff we shouldn't do, stuff we should try. I've always tried to be as critical as I can, with hopes that I can improve. Although it can drive you up the wall.

Thinking of performing as a gift is a great way though. I must give that a shot sometime. I think I've narrowed it down to one thing - it's most likely the fear of failure. You constantly think "I can't screw up that passage because I've worked on it for at least 1874 hours for the past year. If I screw it up now, I'm a failure and not good for anything and everybody will think that I suck, and I might as well just quit and work at Starbucks."

And all my life I've only wanted two things - to play well and, the other one is too vain so I will spare you. I guess I'm working on it! It won't happen overnight but I don't think I should give up just yet.


I think everybody has that. At the very least, I do. I know I can play my repertoire perfectly, but it seems like every time I sit down to play, I make some new mistake, in a section that I can and have played well before. It can really get to a person (I daresay half of my mistakes are made because I'm afraid to make a mistake and I start to think my fingers are wrong). God knows there's been moments where I've felt like this whole piano thing was an exercise in futility and I would do better to give it up and instead spend my time listening to people who can actually play. The thing that keeps me going is the fact that there are still people that enjoy listening to me, if only friends and family. Of course, they're crazy and have no understanding of good music if they like what I play, but if they want bad music, that's something I can indulge them in.

You may feel the same way about people complimenting you. You may even be right. I wouldn't call myself a connoisseur of Chopin's concertos. But I do know that I very much enjoyed listening to your version.

Originally Posted by Mostly
Quote
From Mostly: adrenaline is your friend, if properly controlled. It lends spontaneity and passion. I would only add that if not properly controlled it leads to rushing and all sorts of un-musical things.

Well actually my main problem that I experienced just like right this afternoon in front of a small audience, is "free fall playing".
Like, you're playing, but you have that idea / sensation in your head that you're playing in sort of a spiral, being overly conscious of what you're doing, and uncapable of seeing far ahead in the music. It's purely mental, I was really physically relaxed, but my mind was panicking (no clue why, I was playing the appassionata which I'm quite confident I do a decent job with.)
Doesn't happen often, but that's terrible. I like it better when I'm trembling with excitation and sheer pleasure !


I get that now and then too, at completely random times. I suddenly get the feeling that I have no idea what I'm supposed to do next and get into a panic. The only thing that seems to work is to just let my fingers do what they want to do.


"Practice makes perfect, but obsession makes better."
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: stores] #1504073
08/27/10 05:32 AM
08/27/10 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by wr




And because, as Martha Argerich has said, playing piano is a useless occupation and it would be much better to be a fireman or a doctor.



That's not actually what she said. Though she's said that she would have liked to have been a doctor had she not been a pianist, she made the comment, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, that, “The only professionals of any use now are doctors and firemen”. Of course, that implies that every other profession is useless, but it IS different than saying specifically that being a pianist is useless, though Argerich is well known for her questions about the nature of her profession. Maybe you've read another quote?


You are right, the article didn't say she said that in so many words. But then, neither did I encase the words with the quotation marks that would indicate it was an exact quote.

I don't think I seriously misrepresented the gist of the idea, at any rate, which was not so much about Argerich but about the idea that being a professional classical musician was useless relative to more utilitarian professions, especially ones that serve basic human survival needs. It is interesting thing to think about - how far away from the basic needs of humanity can we get and still pretend to be useful members of the species? Or does it even matter?




Re: Confidence and performing [Re: wr] #1504108
08/27/10 07:59 AM
08/27/10 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
It is interesting thing to think about - how far away from the basic needs of humanity can we get and still pretend to be useful members of the species? Or does it even matter?

I think the arts have been an important part of humanity's survival for a very long time. How much nicer is a tough day when at the end, around the campfire in the evening, you get to enjoy and share a well-told story and a song or two, with your community? "Music/poetry restores what the soul has lost," and all that. I would think that in very tough times (e.g. extended period of barely habitable climate), that emotional warmth and community bonding could be the difference between life feeling worth living, or not.

I wonder how often it happens in this day and age that a parent and child who are angry with each other, suddenly start happily singing or humming along to the same pop song that comes on the radio or TV, and reconnect for a precious few minutes?


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: wr] #1504139
08/27/10 09:21 AM
08/27/10 09:21 AM
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Rockford, IL
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear


WHY oh WHY is there so much baggage with piano performance???



Because, in many ways, it is one of the most complex things human beings consciously attempt to do.

And because it is also one of the most weirdly unnatural things - I mean, really, coaxing music that touches hearts and minds out of that crazy horrible machine via our fingers, on a keyboard laid out in a way that seems deliberately designed to induce nightmares!?!?!

And because the repertoire practically demands that the performer is at least as high-strung and neurotic as the composers, just to do the music interpretive justice.

And because the feedback the performer gets from the audience is often from people who have no idea.

[...]


Right on, wr.

And, because we reach a level of "mastery" enough to do all of this when we are at our most vulnerable, gangly worst--adolescence--when we hate the way we look, and don't understand the way we feel, and our parents trot us out in front of crowds to be perfect when we feel absolutely anything but, and when any little embarrassment (which happens--oh--every other second!) makes us want to go crawl into a hole! And so we sit in front of the crowd at the keyboard thinking, "I better get this perfect, or I will be in the hole for days. I like my comfotable hole. I wish I were there right now!" I'm sure the psychologist/counselor crowd at PW could fill in even more thoughts about the adolescent frame of mind, but that's the two cents that came to me this morning when I woke up...

Piano*Dad, my hat is off to you. You must be doing something really, really right with your son!

--Andy


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1504169
08/27/10 10:20 AM
08/27/10 10:20 AM
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I don't know why, but I think Sayre's law is somehow appropriate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayre%27s_Law


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Cinnamonbear] #1504178
08/27/10 10:38 AM
08/27/10 10:38 AM
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Quote
And, because we reach a level of "mastery" enough to do all of this when we are at our most vulnerable, gangly worst--adolescence--when we hate the way we look, and don't understand the way we feel, and our parents trot us out in front of crowds to be perfect when we feel absolutely anything but, and when any little embarrassment (which happens--oh--every other second!) makes us want to go crawl into a hole!


That's the plain truth. I can remember it well, from personal experience.


Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Julian_] #1504298
08/27/10 01:08 PM
08/27/10 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by SlatterFan
....I think the arts have been an important part of humanity's survival for a very long time.....

....and often they are the main thing that is known and remembered about a society or civilization. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, and Beethoven will be remembered long after emperor whomever or doctor whomever.

In fact, they already are known and remembered more than emperor or doctor whomever. smile

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Kreisler] #1504301
08/27/10 01:10 PM
08/27/10 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
I don't know why, but I think Sayre's law is somehow appropriate:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayre%27s_Law

What issue here is small or unimportant?

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Mark_C] #1504317
08/27/10 01:38 PM
08/27/10 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

....and often they are the main thing that is known and remembered about a society or civilization. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, and Beethoven will be remembered long after emperor whomever or doctor whomever.

In fact, they already are known and remembered more than emperor or doctor whomever. smile


A silly statement. Harmless, but silly.

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: landorrano] #1504319
08/27/10 01:44 PM
08/27/10 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
A silly statement. Harmless, but silly.

No, it wasn't.
But thank you for your attention. smile

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Mark_C] #1504334
08/27/10 02:29 PM
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Silly it is. But if it makes you feel good, say it again.

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: landorrano] #1504423
08/27/10 05:29 PM
08/27/10 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Silly it is. But if it makes you feel good, say it again.

ha ha ha

Need I point out, that's what you just did. smile

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: wr] #1504462
08/27/10 06:36 PM
08/27/10 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
I should really stop caring, but for some reason I can't.


how i relate to this comment! frown

Originally Posted by wr


And because it is also one of the most weirdly unnatural things - I mean, really, coaxing music that touches hearts and minds out of that crazy horrible machine via our fingers, on a keyboard laid out in a way that seems deliberately designed to induce nightmares!?!?!



hahaha well described!


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: TheHappyMoron] #1504655
08/28/10 02:28 AM
08/28/10 02:28 AM
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It seems to be all about stunted confidence when performing a lame piece of music.

If we are unable to identify the target of the biddy’s "loathing" ... it gets kinda difficult to share in the chat.

I NEVER LOATHE (famous word used by my Victorian mater) PLAYING GOLF ... but I sure hated ever having to change a baby’s nappy.

Now, if we’re talking keyboard music ... playing a John Field Nocturne turns my stomach ... and I quickly take my medication ... a masterpiece by Chopin.

But what is getting the lady disgruntled? If it’s not a splodge of Beethoven, Mendelssohn or Mozart ... could it be a grinding ditty by the likes of some twit Baroque dandy?

What’s the ghastly chunk of music which irks?

Re: Confidence and performing [Re: btb] #1504733
08/28/10 09:27 AM
08/28/10 09:27 AM
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not somewhere over the rainbow
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It's not about what I play, because I would never play something I didn't like.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Confidence and performing [Re: Pogorelich.] #1504879
08/28/10 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
It's not about what I play, because I would never play something I didn't like.

You had made it clear that it wasn't that, but people on discussion boards often answer without reading. ha

But in this case I don't blame him. As I said, I initially couldn't get much past the "loathing" thing either.

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