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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: 90125] #2784717 11/25/18 08:35 PM
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Well that is not the case at all with me. I chose the music I play after showing it to my teacher. I love the
music I play but still have performance anxiety during more formal settings . He has always encouraged me to choose the music and has said pick music that you really love.


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2784772 11/26/18 02:12 AM
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Yesterday I was in a small church with a 3-member Trio and performed 3 short pieces that lasted 8 minutes. We had 2 violins, viola and a piano to give a few notes for introduction and set the proper tempo. We worked on the pieces for a whole month. We all learned our parts to the point of playing every note perfectly. The only thing was to get everybody to play at the same tempo so that all 3 parts would line-up.

Of course everybody was nervous before the performance. There is always the chance of playing a wrong note here and there. An hour before the performance, the leader of the group who plays piano rehearsed the pieces with us in the order we would play them and pointed out little details we could improve on. The only thing we couldn't do the last minute was to change the tempo of a specific piece because this would require everybody in the group to imagine the music in a faster / slower pace and we would not be playing at sync. with each other.

At the concert we agreed to do certain things like look at each other and nod our heads to say we're ready to start, give a big arm gesture to say I'm starting beat 1 so the other players would join in. The hardest piece we had to play was a movement of a Trio by James Hook. We didn't know the music or the composer. After 2 rehearsals we realized this piece is playable at our level. Mentally we are saying to ourselves the music may be challenging but is doable.

The pieces we played were at an intermediate level including 2 Minuets from Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks without the other instruments (horns, oboes, flutes). We prepared our pieces by going over all the technical aspects before the concert where we needed to play louder and softer. How exactly do you prepare yourself mentally so you wouldn't skip or play the wrong notes?

I've performed with a band since high school. The 1 thing that has always been helpful is practicing with a recording. If you find a professional recording but the tempo is too fast to handle, you just make your own recording and play along. When practicing, there are sections I'd repeat many times because the timing was slightly off or I played a wrong note. During the performance, the main thing is to stay focus and imagine the music in your head. Whether I'm playing a piece on a piano or violin, there is a certain amount of playing from memory. In a month I rehearsed the same pieces at least 50x. Even if I don't recall every note from memory, I relied on muscle memory to do the rest. And playing at a steady tempo helped a lot. When I'm nervous sometimes my eyes can get out of place. I'd rely on my memory to fill in sections of the piece until I get to where the next section would start and I'd read the notes from there. And then there are spots I'm not very sure I'd look at the notes a measure ahead, not when I get to it. I know ahead of time I'm suppose to be playing 2 As instead of A followed by B sort of thing.

During the performance, there was a recording device directly in front of us. It's going to make anybody nervous. We pretended it wasn't there. And some in the audience would be pointing their tablets and phones at us. Looking at the audience occasionally helped. Psychologically I'm telling myself I know the music well enough I don't need to read every note.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2784791 11/26/18 04:12 AM
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I would never have thought my initial post would turn in this intricate thread about stage fright. shocked

I think the most interesting turn it took was when it focussed on the 'performance' aspect of it all and the peculiar difference when playing just for oneself. I have just begun to sort out my own thoughts on it.
I'm reading "Playing Scared" by Sara Solovitch and it has some really interesting insights on it too.

Furthermore I'm taking another shot at playing in public. My teacher has another recital on december 10th and she would love it if I played on this one too.

(and to comfort some on this forum: I have chosen the music myself and I enjoy every minute of practicing it, and love it when I can get lost in it when playing it through alone)


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2784806 11/26/18 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Muove

Furthermore I'm taking another shot at playing in public. My teacher has another recital on december 10th and she would love it if I played on this one too.


Don't forget to breath! And keep a positive attitude! Good luck!

Sam

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Sam S] #2784809 11/26/18 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by Muove

Furthermore I'm taking another shot at playing in public. My teacher has another recital on december 10th and she would love it if I played on this one too.


Don't forget to breath! And keep a positive attitude! Good luck!

Sam

Thank you!
I'm taking every bit of advice now, and I'll definitely try to breath!


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: dogperson] #2784850 11/26/18 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
I agree with Outo: speaking to a large group of professionals is never a problem for me..... but playing the piano is a different, anxiety-ridddn situation.

I agree as well. I teach at a university, give conference presentations, public lectures, etc,. and all of it in English, which is not my first language. No problem. I think I used to be more nervous early on but now I've been doing it for so long that I feel rather confident. With piano, it's a completely different story. I used to be much less self-conscious about playing in front of others, but since I resumed lessons about 3 years ago, I think I'm so invested in and passionate about it and want to perform well that this breeds anxiety. I also agree with dogperson that playing with the music doesn't always help-- when I succumb to anxiety, I can easily lose my spot or indeed can stare at the notes without being able to read them. Thankfully, this doesn't happen very often and I've had mixed success with public playing but it's still not consistent and I'm not sure why I'm calmer on some occasions and more nervous on others.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: John305] #2784856 11/26/18 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by John305
I'm noticing a recurring theme here, where several people here can speak in front of a large number of people but still get performance anxiety when playing the piano. I too can speak in front a large number of people without anxiety, I do it on a regular basis at work. My guess is that for those of us who can do this it's because we've done it enough that it has become routine but I'd bet we didn't start out that way. I'd bet heavily that we all started out fairly nervous but over time it got easier and easier. I speak to large numbers of people at work on a daily basis so I have thousands of speaking "performances" under my belt. I bet if we all could play piano in front of others on a regular basis we'd get over the anxiety. There was someone who posted here on PW who is a Jazz artist who commented in another thread that after 100 performances (I'm not sure the exact number he used) you get over being nervous. I think some people thought his comment was flippant but I think he was being sincere because he was speaking from experience. For us amateurs, even if you've been playing for years, how many public performances could you possibly have? I'm guessing relatively few and certainly not enough for the experience to become routine enough that we can relax and just play. I guess the best remedy is to play for others whenever, where ever and as often as you can.


Yes, I agree, as my previous comment implies. However, I feel that the level of precision and irreversibility associated with piano performance is different from public speaking, and it also involves a different type of memory. But yes, I'm sure if for me playing in public became more of a routine, rather than this special occasion twice a year, it would have been much easier... Now fortunately a piano club is started in my town, so this helps a little.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2785119 11/26/18 11:11 PM
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Once I was invited to a Classical concert performed by amateur musicians put together by a local music group. Some of the performers were students. The most accomplished in the group was a pianist who won the Chopin Int'l competition in Warsaw. There was a young man (around age 12) who played a chorale from a Bach Cantata on violin. The music lasted about 3m. Playing next to piano virtuoso didn't seem to intimidate him. The parents and other family members were in the audience watching. Even playing a short piece, doing well would give him a lot of self-confidence.

As always there is a lot of preparations before he would get on stage in an auditorium attended by even 100 people. Practicing at home and playing in front of an audience are 2 different things. Some people are brave enough to take their instruments out in public. There are a few people who bring their guitar or violin to a busy public park nearby. Once came across a young man with a keyboard plugged into a power supply playing in public. Getting yourself exposed to the public often enough you lose fear of playing in front of an audience.

A while ago I saw a short online video. A young Suzuki student performed her piano recital. The lady was around 6 at the time. As a rule, Suzuki teachers make students memorize their pieces for the first recital before being introduced to reading music. She played something like 5 short pieces. The first came out OK. The next piece she played a few wrong notes but still carried on. When she got to the 3rd piece, she got her song order mixed up. After a few seconds into the piece she stopped abruptly and switched to the piece she was "supposed" to play. A situation like this would have made any performer so nervous he/she wouldn't be able to continue. At some point she started playing a few notes in slow motion like she was doing finger exercises. After she finished, the audience (mostly Suzuki parents) gave their warm applause. I thought the parents felt sorry for her instead of congratulating her for a fine performance. Looking at the video can't come to the conclusion she had stage fright rather than lack of practice & preparations.

The first time I went on stage was with my high school Strings class. The teacher made an easy arrangement of Beethoven "Ode to Joy" for our year-end concert. The piece lasted around 1 1/2m. Sitting in 1st violin in the school auditorium I was in the first row facing the audience (mostly parents). The whole class worked for 3 months to put several other pieces together. Many of the students never played an instrument before. It was their first encounter with a violin, viola, cello or bass. That first minute and a half to some people who never appeared on stage seemed nerve-wracking. A few had private lessons before so they have more confidence playing in front of an audience. Back then we had 2 groups of music students (those who had some music instructions vs. those who never played an instrument). 1 lady joined our class already had her Gr. 6 piano. Anybody who came to class already able to read music was treated as an advanced student.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: dumka1] #2785187 11/27/18 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
I feel that the level of precision and irreversibility associated with piano performance is different from public speaking, and it also involves a different type of memory.

Yes, public speaking is an entirely different kettle of fish, or a whole different ball game (pick your choice of metaphor).

Everybody can improvise speech - we do it daily when chatting about the weather (or the Mars landing....or even Brexit cry) to our friends and strangers. If you lose yourself in a speech that you've prepared - assuming you're not reading from an autocue or script - you can say something inconsequential, or make a bad joke about it, and get the audience on your side. And most people pause or say 'er' or even 'like' when looking for the right word, and that's totally normal.

Whereas if you lose your way or pause or start fluffing notes while performing on the piano, you might be totally stymied, because you know all eyes are on you and you can't just get away with it by making a bad joke like Victor Borge (because you're not him).

When I did my first lecture-recital, I had the script in front of me (as well as music scores on the music rest at the piano), but within a few minutes, I dispensed with the script and just talked freely about my pet subject (classical music wink ), just as if I was proselytizing the cause of my favorite composers to my acquaintances - and the result was much more engaging (according to members of the audience), because I was using more conversational language and responding to their reaction to what I said, even if less fluent in delivery than if I'd stuck to my script. But when playing the music of great composers, though I could be free in my interpretations, I still have to play all the right notes in the right order at the right time. A stumble could throw the rhythm off or disrupt the flow, and I couldn't say 'like' whenever that happened..... wink


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: mcontraveos] #2786918 12/01/18 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mcontraveos

I think it's good advice for the right person. That situation describes me accurately. I wasn't happy with the repertoire I had spent so much time building up. My tastes had changed without my repertoire and lessons changing with them.

My course of action was to start writing my own music while continuing to chip away at repertoire out of my technical reach (Scriabin sonatas, Debussy etudes, etc.) that gave me the sound I wanted to hear.

I'm glad you'd posted that. I have little first-hand experience, but 2nd-hand I observed a lot of pressure to conform and submit to the prevailing standards. It takes a lot of bravery to openly stand against the established norms, even if the norms are as subjective as "what constitutes a good musical performance".

Originally Posted by Muove

(and to comfort some on this forum: I have chosen the music myself and I enjoy every minute of practicing it, and love it when I can get lost in it when playing it through alone)

Thanks for sharing this. I hope that there wasn't anybody standing next to you with a knife to your throat while you were typing. wink

I sincerely wish you to be able to pick up a better repertoire for the future recital. Something that will allow you to share with the audience the feelings that you experience while performing alone.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2786925 12/02/18 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop, in "Re: I always fail when play to someone..."
I do have a theory about why you have no fears with guitar but freeze up on piano, and that is one word: "confidence".


Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
In my case however, I feel connected when playing by myself and disconnected when playing for others. That's how I know it it is performance anxiety related and not related to how I feel about piano or my repertoire.


I like your analytical approach, but even you can't apply it consistently to yourself.

I'm glad that the issue of the instrument came up in this thread.

It just so happened that the acoustic piano is one of the instruments that in the current society are associated with obsessive perfectionism. It may be worthwhile to compare why e.g. acoustic guitar performances aren't normally judged to such high standards.

Is it because of the division of labor? It is normal for guitarist to tune his/her own guitar, but tuning own piano would be déclassé for a pianist.

Is it because of portability? Playing guitar is much easier to share with impromptu audiences; for example around campfire. Playing piano is mostly associated with reserved seating for the listeners.

I find interesting parallels between the today's music performances and with what happened in the photography and film-making crafts during the paradigm shift from the analog (gelatin on film) to digital media. There was a lot of emphasis being put on immaterial details that didn't really resonate with the viewers.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: 90125] #2786926 12/02/18 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 90125
I like your analytical approach, but even you can't apply it consistently to yourself

Actually it is quite consistent. The person I was writing to in the other thread plays guitar professionally for a number of years. He has confidence when he plays guitar. But for him, piano is new and he obviously lacks confidence.

In my case, I play no other instruments and lack confidence in playing piano. My lack of confidence is one thing when I am by myself. But in front of others, I melt. Ergo, the disconnection, etc.

Fully consistent.


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2786937 12/02/18 01:51 AM
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Having confidence is important. When it comes to the instrument we're starting, we're also playing playing less challenging repertoire. Someone may be comfortable playing the Beetles tune "Eleanor Rigby" on a guitar is unlikely to play a piano arrangement of the same tune on a piano.

In my high school music class practically none of the students had any exposure playing an instrument. We were assigned a bass, cello, viola or violin and had to do a year-end concert for the parents. Our first piece was an easy arrangement made by our teacher for about 1 1/2m. Nobody in class played on stage before and we ended up in the school auditorium playing several pieces we worked on for 3 months. The teacher didn't expect us to play at an advanced level so we performed pieces that are more appropriate.

I've seen the documentary "Small Wonders" made in 1995 featuring the violin teacher Roberta Guaspari Tzavaras who taught violin in E Harlam in New York. The students from the classes she taught were expected to give a year-end concert for the parents. And she made everybody work hard to prepare for their concerts. She wouldn't want to hear her students play wrong notes in class.

A lot of what we take for granted that self-confidence would come when we play music for many years and have reached an advanced level. Roberta's beginner level violin students would play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" on stage and they had as much confidence as the ones who played a movement out of a Vivaldi concerto. Self-confidence has more to do with how well we know the material. If we know that we can run through a piece without a mistake in class or at home, there is a good chance we would be able to perform the same piece on stage without a mistake. If we can play a piece well some of the time but not all the time there are issues we need to resolve. If we can solve certain types of math problems at home, we can go to a math test and do similar problems. People gain more experience by the number of times they appear on stage. Self-confidence comes from being well prepared and knowing the music inside-out.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2787179 12/02/18 08:22 PM
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This is a very complex subject and no one answer will work for everyone.
The easiest way, IMO, to sink into a feeling of being disconnected in performance, is when we play on automatic as others have suggested. Truth is, it's very hard for us NOT to play parts (or all) of a recital on automatic pilot. Muscle memory usually takes over in public performance - and, when it does, the brain is free to think. Or not to think.
And that's where the problems reside.

1. You know the piece so well - you're performing - muscle memory kicks in - you start thinking - doubts creep in - you wonder if it's 'OK - and then, of course, it goes wrong.

But that's not quite being disconnected -

2. You know the piece etc etc - and muscle memory kicks in - and you sit and watch - then you berate yourself for watching - then you watch a bit more - it's all going OK. But you're not engaged. You're not re-creating or creating. You're disconnected - so you're really not giving it your creative all.

A possible answer: always be creative when working on your own. Talk to yourself as if a great teacher is sitting next to you and speaking inspiring words. Make every note, every phrase interesting and meaningful. Never lose sight of what you're going to present to the audience - you want them to feel and appreciate your creative logic. Keeping it creative, always, will stop the sole reliance on muscle memory. Then you'll be engaged during performance, knowing that every turn of phrase really means something, and that you've endlessly worked on it meaning something.

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: cmb13] #2788933 12/08/18 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by jandz
I'm so sorry. Flubbing recitals sucks. I've done it myself more than a few times. I've even spoken with a therapist about it. He recommended beta blockers, too, but I don't want a medical solution. I want to solve this myself, for me. Performance anxiety has plagued me all of my life and a not-insignificant reason that I took up a solo performing instrument was to challenge it, to beat it once and for all. I have not had great success yet to be honest.

My next recital is Dec 15. A prelude and fugue from WTC I. Tough stuff for me. Baroque music is alien to a guy who spends most of his time with Beethoven and Chopin. Worse is that I'm the last performer of a 2+ hour affair. So I have to sit and watch everyone else, getting more and more nervous as the time goes on. Normally by the time I get up there I'm already short of breath with shaky hands and things just ... kind of fall apart from there. I disconnect and float away. People tell me afterwards that I played really well but I'm almost never "present" for it. I'd like to change that.

So I read this post by one of the PW members who goes on the competition circuit. Her descriptions of what she felt getting on stage are almost an exact copy of what I feel. She has a method she uses to help calm the nerves.This is what I intend to try in December and I have actually some expectation that it'll work! Rather than quoting, I'm going to link directly to the post itself. It's long but such a good read!

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-to-enhance-performance.html#Post2759677

So that's the next step for me. Maybe it'll work for you or for someone else, too. Also, thanks Coaster! Pretty sure you don't read ABF but if you do, here's one more vote for your method of total distraction prior to performing.


I read that thread also - the Sponge Bob thread, right? Lol


Ha! Sitting up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep... looking through the Pianist Corner forum and decided to do a search on "coaster." LOL, glad to find this thread... I hope my silly Spongebob song works (worked?) for you! I'll have to look around and see if there's an update somewhere. Knowing it helps someone makes me feel less ridiculous for posting it. laugh


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: coaster] #2789764 12/10/18 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by coaster
... I hope my silly Spongebob song works (worked?) for you! I'll have to look around and see if there's an update somewhere. Knowing it helps someone makes me feel less ridiculous for posting it. laugh

I'm hoping so too. I'll reply in this thread with how it goes. I'm surprisingly more confident this time and feel better prepared than I usually do. I've only been close to this P&F for about two months now so I'm sure I'll slip here and there. I just want to be present and aware the whole time instead of shaking and hiding inside myself until I get to walk off of the platform. Because the wait is so long, I plan to try both your Spongebob song and several other silly ones - Monty Python cuts and other completely unrelated tunes over the course of time until I perform.

Anyway, I enjoyed your post in PF. I probably should have replied there but I normally just read that board and gather knowledge I like. Glad you found this reply, too. smile

Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: coaster] #2789781 12/10/18 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by coaster
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by jandz
I'm so sorry. Flubbing recitals sucks. I've done it myself more than a few times. I've even spoken with a therapist about it. He recommended beta blockers, too, but I don't want a medical solution. I want to solve this myself, for me. Performance anxiety has plagued me all of my life and a not-insignificant reason that I took up a solo performing instrument was to challenge it, to beat it once and for all. I have not had great success yet to be honest.

My next recital is Dec 15. A prelude and fugue from WTC I. Tough stuff for me. Baroque music is alien to a guy who spends most of his time with Beethoven and Chopin. Worse is that I'm the last performer of a 2+ hour affair. So I have to sit and watch everyone else, getting more and more nervous as the time goes on. Normally by the time I get up there I'm already short of breath with shaky hands and things just ... kind of fall apart from there. I disconnect and float away. People tell me afterwards that I played really well but I'm almost never "present" for it. I'd like to change that.

So I read this post by one of the PW members who goes on the competition circuit. Her descriptions of what she felt getting on stage are almost an exact copy of what I feel. She has a method she uses to help calm the nerves.This is what I intend to try in December and I have actually some expectation that it'll work! Rather than quoting, I'm going to link directly to the post itself. It's long but such a good read!

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-to-enhance-performance.html#Post2759677

So that's the next step for me. Maybe it'll work for you or for someone else, too. Also, thanks Coaster! Pretty sure you don't read ABF but if you do, here's one more vote for your method of total distraction prior to performing.


I read that thread also - the Sponge Bob thread, right? Lol


Ha! Sitting up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep... looking through the Pianist Corner forum and decided to do a search on "coaster." LOL, glad to find this thread... I hope my silly Spongebob song works (worked?) for you! I'll have to look around and see if there's an update somewhere. Knowing it helps someone makes me feel less ridiculous for posting it. laugh


Hey Coaster, nice to see you wandered over to the ABF! I just did my first recital ever last weekend, and while I didn't do the Sponge Bob trick, I did think of you and think of it as I was entering. I also decided against the Beta blockers, feeling for my first time I'd go in naked for the entire experience, just to see how it went.

I convinced myself not to be nervous, that it didn't matter, I'd just play my piece that I was over-prepared for. I was a little sweaty, and slightly nervous in actuality but not overwhelmingly so. As it turns out, I was disappointed by my performance, but I really don't attribute it to nerves as much as to inexperience, playing on a different piano, different lighting, etc. All good though, I got through it. One funny thing, I didn't remember playing the 35 note run at the end (Chopin Nocturne C#min), and had to ask someone if I played it or somehow missed it, but I had, and even though that was the part I was most afraid of, that part went well.


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: cmb13] #2789783 12/10/18 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
One funny thing, I didn't remember playing the 35 note run at the end (Chopin Nocturne C#min), and had to ask someone if I played it or somehow missed it, but I had,

Although I know you aren't labelling that as such, that does sound a bit like you were "disconnected" at least at that moment, doesn't it?


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Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2789790 12/10/18 12:50 PM
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Good point, maybe I was, or maybe it was like driving home, when you don't realize how you got there as you weren't really paying much attention.

In preparation for this recital, though, I picked up a new skill (that's good, right?). I have been learning to continue through mistakes, which I've never done before. In the past, practicing at home, I have stopped to correct the mistake. As I learn this new skill, it seems there are levels to it.

Level one, pause a little, say an expletive, move on. Level two, no pause but let it bother me, which makes me mess up the next couple of measures too. Level three, recognize it and think about it for a moment but move on. Level four, momentarily notice it and keep right on going as if it barely happened. I'm somewhere between L2 and L3.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

YouTube

Working On
Chopin Nocturne E min
Bach Inventions

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Feeling disconnected while playing my recital [Re: Muove] #2789796 12/10/18 01:02 PM
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It's not unusual to have no memory of parts of a performance. Somehow, if you are focussed 100%, it's like your mind has devoted all its energy to the task at hand. Usually some or all of it will come back in time. Maybe the next time you play the piece.

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