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#1983709 - 11/07/12 10:32 AM Heeeelp! What do I do?  
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Gould Offline
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Earth
Hey there! I have a piano competition tomorrow and have already prepared my pieces but the problem is that all of a sudden, MANY passages in my pieces are falling appart!

I'm soo stressed about this and am completely confused on why this happened all of a sudden!

Can anyone tell me what I should do? I already consulted my teacher and all he told me to do was just to rest but this is really unnerving since the competition is right around the corner... can anyone please give me some suggestions? frown

Last edited by Gould; 11/07/12 10:34 AM.
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#1983711 - 11/07/12 10:46 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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A couple of things:

-- Assume (since it's the only game in town -- you have to assume this) that you're having a bad day or bad moment and it's not representative of how well you know the music or how well you'll play tomorrow.

And it might actually be true. smile
I usually can't play worth a damm on the day before a performance, for whatever reason. When it first happened, it freaked me out, but the next day I was fine. (Or as fine as I get anyway.) grin
After that, I saw that it usually kept happening on the day before a performance, and I learned not to worry about it.

-- Relax. smile

P.S. Something (in my opinion) not to do, or very little at most: start slaving over all the places where you're screwing up. You have to assume that it isn't that you really need to do that, since it wouldn't be possible to do effectively anyway. Maybe go over those parts a bit, but don't insist on getting them perfect today. Assume it's just a bad moment.

#1983713 - 11/07/12 10:54 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Try playing your pieces at a slow enough tempo so that the passages are more secure.

Try reminding yourself that your results in the competition are probably not as critical as you may think. Just do your best and enjoy the beautiful music.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/07/12 10:55 AM.
#1983715 - 11/07/12 11:03 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Try playing your pieces at a slow enough tempo so that the passages are more secure.

I think that's a good idea, including because it's likely to help reassure him that he does know the pieces well enough, and to relax.

Quote
....and enjoy

+1

I think that's good advice for anyone, any time. Sometimes we can almost forget that the music and the experience are to be enjoyed -- and that the performing is what we want to do, and we're doing it. I often literally wrote myself a note, "Remember to ENJOY."
Which eventually became just, "ENJOY!" smile

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#1983717 - 11/07/12 11:18 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Play them through at half speed or even quarter speed and relax. Don't try and 'practice' them. It is probably just last minute nerves.

#1983720 - 11/07/12 11:32 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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7 November 2012
Best results are achieved when relaxed ...

How to get relaxed is another ball-game, but a good night’s sleep is essential ... perhaps induced by a slug of the good stuff.

Tension has the unfortunate malady of “pulling on the brakes” ... not good for the brakes or the brakes-man (new word).

My top experience of prima-relaxation occurred on a Saturday afternoon medal golf day ... playing off a 9 handicap, my couldn’t care less attitude magically paid off big ... and I played the 18 hole course flat (One over actually).

The price paid besides the silver trophy with my name
emblazoned on the shiny thing ... was instant slashing
of my golf handicap to a sobering 6 ... which well
and truly cut me down to size.

Back at the ranch ... loss of memory is a well known hangup when facing a competition ... all those butterflies ( a good sign) ... but once the anxiety settles and the opening notes cease to jangle, it’s amazing how everything falls into place.

Can your hear the applause?


#1983730 - 11/07/12 12:07 PM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Gould, in case you need the extra support, I agree with everything written here. It's just pre-concert jitters. Same advice from me: stay away from the keys. If you can't do that, and it would calm you to touch them, then take it very slow. Don't play anything at speed. Save that for tomorrow. It will work out. Don't trust me. Trust everyone else. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#1983733 - 11/07/12 12:17 PM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb

Best results are achieved when relaxed ...



I'll certainly second this - as well as the suggestions for some slow practise.

One other suggestion as a possible relaxation aid that cna work to slow down the heart rate and get under control. If you have an iPhone/iPod touch there is an app called "NatureSpace". I've found the calmer nature sounds to be very relaxing and in one circumstance when preparing for a mid-summer recital could literally feel my heart rate slow and temperature lower when using the app. You can also go to their website for PC/Mac options. www.naturespce.com


#1983855 - 11/07/12 06:44 PM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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I think that in addition to pre-performance jitters, which everyone seems to agree is involved, there might be some automatic inner mechanism of conserving your resources and therefore limiting what you're able to do on "the day before" -- i.e. your mind and body are saving themselves for the day. I'm pretty convinced that's involved for me.

#1984464 - 11/09/12 03:48 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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It would be interesting to hear from Gould
how the competition went ... any applause?

#1984713 - 11/09/12 06:02 PM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb
It would be interesting to hear from Gould
how the competition went....

+1

And not even necessarily the result, but how Gould felt about his/her playing.

#1984802 - 11/09/12 10:53 PM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Gould, thank you for posting. I think this happens to a lot of people before important performances. I hope it went well.

#1984835 - 11/10/12 12:49 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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I have found when the lights go on, the curtain goes up and the music starts, it all comes together. Piano playing is a performing art. If it gives you the willies maybe you should try Swiss banking, baking cookies or flipping burgers. You will live longer...

Last edited by Auntie Lynn; 11/10/12 12:50 AM.
#1984837 - 11/10/12 12:53 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Auntie Lynn]  
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Originally Posted by Auntie Lynn
[...] If it gives you the willies maybe you should try Swiss banking, baking cookies or flipping burgers. You will live longer...


Many are glad that Horowitz didn't take that kind of advice.


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#1984847 - 11/10/12 01:44 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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The non-reply from Gould does not spell out a cheerful
outcome to the competition ... maybe the chap/chappess did not rock up for the do and now prefers to fade away
into the woodwork.

If it had been me, I'd have punched one of the examiners on the nose ... and finished up in the chookey.

#1984865 - 11/10/12 02:55 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb
The non-reply from Gould does not spell out a cheerful
outcome to the competition....

I don't think so.
I'm not saying I'd bet it did have a cheerful outcome, just that the non-reply doesn't at all mean what you said.

It seems to me that people usually don't come back right away and say how it went, no matter how it went, and often (if not usually) they never follow up on it at all. Maybe it's that he's still involved or preoccupied with it, or maybe he's exhausted, or maybe he's just not interested enough to post further about it.
Or maybe it's what you said.
We don't know.

#1984879 - 11/10/12 04:27 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Dear all,

Thank you all for answering my questions and giving me great suggestions! They really helped me!


I was ridiculously nervous during the competition while waiting for my turn and listening to the others play(they were really amazing, it intimidated me). On the morning of the competition I tried going through my piece just for the sake of it and to my horror it was in terrible shape which worried me greatly and caused me to panic a bit.. the waiting before playing was the most nerve wrecking experience I have ever had in performances and the fear that I would go into a total state of memory block frightened me.

However when it was my turn to perform all my nerves seemed to have vanished! All of a sudden I had no care about anything; even the outcome. I just wanted to play the best that I could and I actually surprised myself on how I sounded! It was a complete contrast to what I had heard during my morning practice!

All was going well(well to my ears anyways) until the 3rd movement... Alas, it was a disaster. During some of the passages I had a complete memory block that caused me to fumble and make a mess of the piece.

In the end I lost by a close margin. If it had not been for that mess-up in the 3rd movement I might have won but I really had not the slightest care about the results. It was an amazing experience to see what surprises the human body can offer during the worst of situations! Though I lost I still feel that I have won something; not a prize but experience that I would remember for a lifetime.

Once again I thank all of you for taking your time to offer your suggestions and experiences to me!

Thank you very much!
smile


#1984894 - 11/10/12 05:19 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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fantastic story. Reinforces the idea that a disconnect from a particular performance - making it seem as if it were easy or perhaps no special occasion at all - ironically helps you


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#1984968 - 11/10/12 10:22 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Yes -- great story, nicely told!
And it sounds like the way you're viewing it all is just right.

And it also sounds like you did good. smile

#1985001 - 11/10/12 11:45 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Maybe next time you could try what Chopin did when his nerves were getting the better of him before a concert. Disconnect and play something else, something you love. He played Bach.


Slow down and do it right.
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#1985226 - 11/11/12 04:14 AM Re: Heeeelp! What do I do? [Re: Gould]  
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Who the heck was Bach?
Probably some Baroque old geezer whom Shopping liked.

Peter Sellers


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