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Another recital story #2618328
02/26/17 10:15 PM
02/26/17 10:15 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
sara elizabeth Offline OP
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sara elizabeth  Offline OP
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So you may remember, I'm the one who does recitals with a whole bunch of ten year olds and I get extremely nervous. Well tonight was another one. I am seriously now considering taking the beta blockers. I was so f(*&ng nervous that my hands were shaking uncontrollably. It was ridiculous. I had such a hard time hitting the notes. And believe it or not, this time I actually felt slightly better than last time! I just cannot control the shaking!!

The good thing though, and I know this is going to sound pretty mean, but I may have butchered my piece, but some of the kids did even worse hack jobs at theirs. It made me feel better when they screwed up.

Ugh I hate recitals. But I really want to get better at performing in front of other people. Two totally opposite things that I want!

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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618329
02/26/17 10:22 PM
02/26/17 10:22 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,022
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dynamobt Offline
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Sorry to hear you had such a hard time. The beta blockers do wonders for some if you can take them.

If your goal is to perform with fewer issues, I hope the drug helps you achieve that.


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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618331
02/26/17 10:29 PM
02/26/17 10:29 PM
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Ralphiano Offline
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I"m sorry the recital is so traumatic for you. Perhaps a setting in which you have more trust and more in common with the others might help? So far, I have been unable to attend any of the piano parties hosted by our ABF colleagues, though I still aspire to do so. And, you might find some on the website, Meetup. It seems to me that eliminating the prospect of not playing as well in public as those miniscule youngsters (if that is part of the anxiety) might make for a more relaxing experience.

I'm looking forward to my first, and, hopefully, more following.

Last edited by Ralphiano; 02/26/17 10:29 PM.

Ralph

Casio Privia PX-760
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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618333
02/26/17 10:36 PM
02/26/17 10:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,645
Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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Sam S  Offline

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Congratulations on surviving - and for just getting up there and trying.

I know I have had thoughts of just sneaking out before it was my turn to play!

It has gotten a tiny bit better each time for me. At least, after doing it for years now, I sort of have the shaking hands under control (until I make a mistake). It's the "fight or flight" syndrome. If you can take deep breaths, think positive thoughts, try to calm yourself down, it will help.

And try to increase the times that you torture yourself play for others. Even if it is just a friend or a relative one-on-one, I still get the same nervousness that I get in front of a crowd. Recording something for the online recitals also produces some of the same symptoms, so try that. Since I tune part-time, I will play something for the client after each tuning - that has helped a lot.

I have 2 performances coming up the end of March - yikes!

Sam

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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618334
02/26/17 10:46 PM
02/26/17 10:46 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 788
Pittsburgh,PA
piano_primo_1 Offline
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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
So you may remember, I'm the one who does recitals with a whole bunch of ten year olds and I get extremely nervous. Well tonight was another one. I am seriously now considering taking the beta blockers. I was so f(*&ng nervous that my hands were shaking uncontrollably. It was ridiculous. I had such a hard time hitting the notes. And believe it or not, this time I actually felt slightly better than last time! I just cannot control the shaking!!

The good thing though, and I know this is going to sound pretty mean, but I may have butchered my piece, but some of the kids did even worse hack jobs at theirs. It made me feel better when they screwed up.

Ugh I hate recitals. But I really want to get better at performing in front of other people. Two totally opposite things that I want!


Read this again and try to see the humor before you take beta blockers.
(but just maybe those kids were from the cornfield …huh?)
or Maybe use a camera and self record as a substitute and upload to the piano bar monthly!
I have no room, believe me, I get nervous reading in public!!!
Congrats on doing it anyway.





Cheers!!!

Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618337
02/26/17 10:57 PM
02/26/17 10:57 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 389
upstate NY
zillybug Offline
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zillybug  Offline
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Be proud of yourself for doing it. I think it takes a lot of courage to do it. I have been doing it for six years now and I survive but still get really nervous . I have tried just about everything suggested but still dread recitals . For me playing for family or friends in an informal settings is okay. It is just the more formal
settings. I never thought I would but I am considering taking a beta blocker this year. I am so tired of dreading performances . I had to see my cardiologist get cleared for cataract surgery and hesitantly asked him about taking a beta blocker for performance anxiety. He did not seemed surprised in the least and readily gave me a prescription . He said it is safe . I think I am going to try it and see if it helps. Good luck in future recitals .
Judy


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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618347
02/26/17 11:42 PM
02/26/17 11:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
sara elizabeth Offline OP
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sara elizabeth  Offline OP
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Posts: 455
Thanks for the suggestions and kind words. I was thinking of putting an ad on kijiji to see if there are other adult players in my city who would be interested in a performance club. I think with people my own age I just wouldn't have the same problem. I play for my family okay. I definitely make more mistakes, but I don't get that physical reaction of sweating and shaking.

It's so silly really. I am a fitness instructor, so several times a week I get up in front of a group of people and "perform". I guess the difference is that I know I can do the exercise routine. Piano not so much.


Re: Another recital story [Re: Sam S] #2618349
02/26/17 11:45 PM
02/26/17 11:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
sara elizabeth Offline OP
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sara elizabeth  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
Originally Posted by Sam S
Congratulations on surviving - and for just getting up there and trying.

I know I have had thoughts of just sneaking out before it was my turn to play!

It has gotten a tiny bit better each time for me. At least, after doing it for years now, I sort of have the shaking hands under control (until I make a mistake). It's the "fight or flight" syndrome. If you can take deep breaths, think positive thoughts, try to calm yourself down, it will help.

And try to increase the times that you torture yourself play for others. Even if it is just a friend or a relative one-on-one, I still get the same nervousness that I get in front of a crowd. Recording something for the online recitals also produces some of the same symptoms, so try that. Since I tune part-time, I will play something for the client after each tuning - that has helped a lot.

I have 2 performances coming up the end of March - yikes!

Sam


I know you are in the same boat as me. Partway through my piece I wasn't even sure if I was hitting the right notes anymore. I couldn't even hear it to say whether it was right or not. At that point, I seriously considered just getting up and leaving. It's only a 90 second piece, but I swear it lasted an hour.

Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618362
02/27/17 12:38 AM
02/27/17 12:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,365
Southern California
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Sand Tiger Offline
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Sand Tiger  Offline
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Southern California
Thanks for the story. Sounds like you have the courage to make it work. Preparation and a bit of moxie is most of what it takes, unless a person is in that tiny group that is truly terrified of performing.

Learning to perform is separate from learning to play piano. I remember your post about struggling with the piece only a few days before show day. That's a recipe for a difficult time, even for a good pianist. For an amateur, it sounds like you escaped without experiencing the total train wreck. Doing easier pieces is something I often suggest, so that a person knows the piece backwards, and forwards.

I learned the hard way about the level of concentration that I need to perform on piano. When I started on piano, I was a veteran of playing in front of small groups (pennywhistle and Irish flute). I thought a similar level of knowing a piece and prep was all I needed, because I knew how to perform. I was wrong. Piano, at least for me, required a lot more concentration. I went in with the pieces learned, but not to a high level. Perhaps the equivalent of "play for the teacher level," which is no where near the level needed to perform and expect a good out come.

I struggled mightily and had a few total train wrecks where I had to abandon. That's one reason I suggest easier pieces for those new to performing. Pieces that a person can virtually play in their sleep.

I also suggest yoga, tai-chi, meditation, or similar disciplines to learn how to quiet the mind, and calm the body. I would strongly favor training, over beta blockers, but that is personal opinion.

I have day before, day off suggestions, such as pack the kit the night before. Arriving very early. Taper practice, at most one run through the day of the event. Mental practice is okay, but limit physical practice. Eating light. Staying hydrated. Doing a bit of exercise. Humming or singing a safe tune while waiting (not the performance piece). Calmly and deliberately walking up to the bench when it is your turn. Take a deep breath, close the eyes, before starting.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 02/27/17 12:45 AM.
Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618655
02/27/17 08:22 PM
02/27/17 08:22 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 1,006
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Ralphiano Offline
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Ralphiano  Offline
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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth


It's so silly really. I am a fitness instructor, so several times a week I get up in front of a group of people and "perform".


It is not "silly really", and thinking of it that way is somewhat self-belittling and counterproductive. There is a reason for it. And, I think you are tuned in to it somewhat, already:

Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
I guess the difference is that I know I can do the exercise routine. Piano not so much.



When I was a younger man, I was a trial lawyer, representing citizens facing horrific prison terms if I failed them. I was not an overly confident person by nature. And, conducting a jury trial is the most intimidating experience I've ever encountered. Your mental wares are laid absolutely bare, for the world to see. There is nowhere to hide. If you are inadequate, it will be known. That is why lawyers will do anything to avoid taking your case to trial.

But, fueled by the terror of failing and by the drastic consequences for my clients if I did, I prepared and prepared until I could not dream of any stone left unturned. I never went into trial without knowing the case and the facts better than anyone else involved. I knew what the witnesses had seen better than they knew it, themselves. And, I was very successful as a result.

One day while discussing this phenomenon with a trusted colleague, he used the expression "Preparation is the key to confidence." I had not thought of it that way, but, upon consideration, I think he perfectly nailed it. Never, in any other undertaking, had I prepared as well as I prepared for trials. And, I had never performed in public, in any forum, as well as I did during trial.

So, perhaps you haven't know your recital piano pieces as extensively and in such fine detail as you do your fitness routines. I'm reminded of Sand Tiger's observation above:

Originally Posted by Sand Tiger
I remember your post about struggling with the piece only a few days before show day. That's a recipe for a difficult time, even for a good pianist.


I hope to know first hand about the application of preparation to piano performance, as, I am pushing myself to play at our local library "open mic" night in the near future. I have a couple of pieces that I play over and over, and am feeling very prepared with. One was my November recital submission, and I still play it daily.

I've rambled. I hope something in this helps. And, good luck with your next recital. smile


Ralph

Casio Privia PX-760
Pianoteq Stage
Pianist since April, 2015
Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618660
02/27/17 08:38 PM
02/27/17 08:38 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,392
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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I don't know if this helps or not. I came across it last year. It's an interesting read. As instructor, you probably get excited in teaching others. Think of your performance like that, or that you are communicating your excitement to your audience. Probably easier said than done smile

https://mirandawilsoncellist.com/2016/04/01/disarmed-dropping-the-protective-armour-of-stage-fright/


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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618693
02/27/17 10:42 PM
02/27/17 10:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
sara elizabeth Offline OP
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sara elizabeth  Offline OP
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Wow that article was amazing! I wonder if I should be more okay with being vulnerable. Teaching fitness I can laugh at myself or make stupid jokes when I make a mistake. In piano, you don't get that chance to verbally defray your embarrassment. I don't mind making a fool of myself on purpose, but I hate to make a fool of myself by accident. Maybe I should be live streaming myself on Facebook sometimes to practice making mistakes in front of other people and surviving.

I love all of the great feedback. You have all given me things to think about. I think next recital I will choose an easier piece that I can master. This sonatina is only the second sonatina I have ever learned and it was very challenging for me. I don't think I've even once played it full through without at least one mistake.

The other thing I want to focus on is learning a piece with more structure to my learning. Instead of playing through the whole thing and learning it as a hunk, I want to learn it in parts, so I don't end up practicing mistakes over and over and learning how to play it wrong. I think that's a big part of what went wrong with this sonatina.

Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618726
02/28/17 12:40 AM
02/28/17 12:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,236
Australia
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earlofmar Offline
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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
And believe it or not, this time I actually felt slightly better than last time! I just cannot control the shaking!!
My experience as well at my second recital.

Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
I know this is going to sound pretty mean, but I may have butchered my piece, but some of the kids did even worse hack jobs at theirs. It made me feel better when they screwed up.



congratulations.....you just proved you are human smile


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2618741
02/28/17 02:25 AM
02/28/17 02:25 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 6,976
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth


It's so silly really. I am a fitness instructor, so several times a week I get up in front of a group of people and "perform". I guess the difference is that I know I can do the exercise routine. Piano not so much.



I'm one o' those who jumps to your every shout . . . well, not you but someone similar. I have no trouble playing in public, but keeping up with the gym instructor? On her spinning bike?

"ONe , two, three, STAND"

That's why I'm at the back . . . .


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Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2619016
02/28/17 08:09 PM
02/28/17 08:09 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
sara elizabeth Offline OP
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sara elizabeth  Offline OP
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Okay so I have been using my new practice strategy for exactly one practice session and it is 100 thousand percent better!! Even just in this very first practice session with a new piece I have made far more progress than I ever did the old way.

So I didn't do anything revolutionary that you haven't heard here already. I took it phrase by phrase. Two to three bars at a time until I could play them quite reliably, then the next few bars, then stick them together. Now I have the first two lines learned already. And I can play them beautifully (for me - I have low standards re dynamics). I am going to leave the next section of the piece for after my lesson. But wow. What a difference.

I think I was too excited before about playing the music and I wanted to rush through and play the whole thing. I still do, but I am trying to restrain myself. smile I can't wait to see how this new mode of practicing pans out for the rest of the piece. FYI I am working on Sonatina in G Major by Beethoven. (Anh 5)

Re: Another recital story [Re: sara elizabeth] #2619103
03/01/17 01:03 AM
03/01/17 01:03 AM
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I get really nervous at recital as well. But I love perform so much. Even though I screw up recitals after recitals, I still beg my teacher for more opportunities. I just hope one day it will get better. After four years about 10 recitals, I see a pattern. Every time during a recital that if I have to introduce myself to the audience of my name and pieces, I would just screw the piece up and shaking uncontrollably. But at other performances if I don't have to introduce myself and just get up to the stage and directly sit at the piano, I usually will play just fine. So, now a days at the recital, I just don't introduce myself anymore even though it is required.


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Re: Another recital story [Re: pianofan1017] #2619208
03/01/17 10:04 AM
03/01/17 10:04 AM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 455
sara elizabeth Offline OP
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sara elizabeth  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by pianofan1017
I get really nervous at recital as well. But I love perform so much. Even though I screw up recitals after recitals, I still beg my teacher for more opportunities. I just hope one day it will get better. After four years about 10 recitals, I see a pattern. Every time during a recital that if I have to introduce myself to the audience of my name and pieces, I would just screw the piece up and shaking uncontrollably. But at other performances if I don't have to introduce myself and just get up to the stage and directly sit at the piano, I usually will play just fine. So, now a days at the recital, I just don't introduce myself anymore even though it is required.


Oh my gosh! You are funny. I would feel better if I could introduce myself and make contact with my audience. Different strategies I guess!


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