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Everytime I get back to class to play my homework to my teacher, I was very nervous and always made mistakes that I couldn't possibley make when playiny at home. I can't relax at class, why was so? anyone have same situation as me? How do you overcome it?

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Originally Posted by Wehhua
Everytime I get back to class to play my homework to my teacher, I was very nervous and always made mistakes that I couldn't possibley make when playiny at home. I can't relax at class, why was so? anyone have same situation as me? How do you overcome it?

You make a video recording of you playing the assignment with your hands and show it to you teacher. That works for me.


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“Performance anxiety” is extremely common. As the situation of having lessons becomes a more familiar experience for you, with luck you’ll be able to relax and play more fluently in your lessons.


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I was also terribly nervous in front of my teacher, until I read "The perfect wrong note" by William Stepney. I still sometimes get a tiny bit nervous - but with an attitude of this is the perfect opportunity to show my teacher where I am having problems, this nerves are almost not existent - and when they are there its almost always a signal that that particular part of the piece is not secure in my mind.


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first you have to stop thinking of the lesson as a performance if that is what you are doing.

Although I have a great relationship with my teacher I can get apprehensive playing pieces I haven't been practicing much during the week. Solution; practice all your pieces and when you think you have practiced them enough, double that factor by two at least. The aim is always to practice pieces until it isn't possible to make a mistake.


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My teacher always told me this was common. Hearing that didn't help at all. I suspect that at least part of it involved how difficult it was for me to learn to read music. I am certain I had to work harder for lesser results than the average person. I would practice every day, and time was at a premium, then feel like it appeared that I was slacking. Anyway, I think the best I ever played for her was when I was playing pop music from a fake book and she slipped into the room unnoticed. She seemed quite surprised by what she heard.

Last week I started with a new teacher. I know nothing about her. Somehow I wasn't nervous about what she might think. She was trying to judge my level and had me sight read from both the grand staff and a fake book type score. This would normally turn me into a bumbling idiot, pressing random keys out of time while producing a hideous cacophony. It went fairly well. I mistook a tie for a slur and messed up a few times but I never had the total breakdown I'm famous for. I think maybe piano teachers should be licensed to dispense Valium during lessons...

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One trick I used to improve my playing for teacher is use the memo recorder on my phone to record a piece once I think I have it (before playing for teacher). When doing this, I never would get a good recording right away - so for me, this act of recording puts more pressure on me much like I felt when playing for teacher. So i would take a couple more days of practice until I got a good recording. And if I still did not play it well for teacher (did not happen often) I could just play her the recording.


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This is what Chris said, "performance anxiety".

Here's how I solved this problem. I changed my state of mind, when I go to my lesson, I told myself, this my room, this my piano and this is my time. The first thing I do, I sit down and noodles at the piano, I play a scale, an arpeggio or a few chords and talk with my teacher. But, of course, my playing is always better at home when I'm alone and nothing is there to distract me.

We need to show to our teacher how bad we are, not how good we are, otherwise he or she can't help us.

Last edited by Serge88; 06/28/19 10:05 AM.


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Man oh man. I had this with my guitar teacher big time. I would almost hyperventilate. I never got over it.

Now with the piano, it's my wife or anyone else who's listening including the tape recorder. I don't know why.

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I'm not sure how beneficial, in the long run, getting a good recording (maybe after multiples tries) is for showing your teacher you've successfully mastered the piece. You really need to be able to play it well every time (not perfectly, but well enough), whether for making the recording or for the teacher.

I screw up on a regular basis when I play for my teacher.* I've come to view playing in front of my teacher as stress-testing how well I really have the piece in hand.
*My teacher is wonderfully supportive and kind; it's me: I get stressed making a phone call. blush

Wehhua, there is no magic remedy. It will get better with time--maybe never go away, but it will get better. As earlofmar said, you need to know the piece much better than you think you would need to know it in order to play with ease in front of someone else.


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Originally Posted by Stubbie
I'm not sure how beneficial, in the long run, getting a good recording (maybe after multiples tries) is for showing your teacher you've successfully mastered the piece. You really need to be able to play it well every time (not perfectly, but well enough), whether for making the recording or for the teacher.

I'm not a teacher but I completely disagree.

There are repertoire pieces and there are learning pieces. Repertoire would not be repertoire if you could not play it well almost every time. However, not every learning piece is a repertoire piece.

For me, almost none of my pieces fall into the category of repertoire pieces that I want to retain and almost all instead are just learning pieces - exercises of one form or another. I am learning to play piano. I am not preparing pieces for a performance. If I can demonstrate a piece even once, then I've demonstrated that I can play it.

However, the reality is that even a good recording of a piece will show flaws which the teacher can help with. To me, it means little that I am so panic-stricken that I can't play in front of the teacher unless I am trying to train to play in front of the teacher.

I don't need help with the mistakes I make in front of my teacher which are mistakes I would have made even in the first week of piano lessons due to stage fright. I'd rather have my teacher focus on the systemic mistakes that I make when I am not a "deer caught in the headlights."

EDIT: I'll be taking piano exams soon. The pieces picked for the exams certainly will become repertoire pieces whether I like them or not. Those I will drill until I can play them in my sleep. But that will be less than 5% of what I play for my teacher, I imagine.


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"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
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With time, I’ve been able to calm myself down before starting to play. This I do by just ignoring all anxious thoughts, as and when they come.. By thinking of something else, or concentrating on whatever I’m doing at that moment. I don’t know how to explain, but it works for me. I kind of do the same for removing the thoughts of an embarrassing/sad situation.

Over the course of playing, though, my nervousness keeps building up and up. It’s fine for small pieces, because I’m done by the time I’m really nervous. But for anything too long for me, I start getting a bit shaky, as I progress. I don’t know what to do about it. And I do the absolute worst, if I sneak a glance down at my hands, and then notice a tremor. Can any of you suggest something for this?

Originally Posted by Stubbie
As earlofmar said, you need to know the piece much better than you think you would need to know it in order to play with ease in front of someone else.

I agree with this. Whether nervous or not, I tend to do better than usual, when either the assigned part is easy for me, or I’ve practiced it thoroughly. For e.g., when I miss a lesson for some reason, and then have to practise the same thing for another week.

Also, I don’t feel any nervousness (only distraction) in front of people who have heard me practicing at home. In my mind, they have heard the absolute worst, so anything would be a step up.

Last edited by Tech-key; 06/28/19 12:19 PM.
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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Over the course of playing, though, my nervousness keeps building up and up. It’s fine for small pieces, because I’m done by the time I’m really nervous. But for anything too long for me, I start getting a bit shaky, as I progress. I don’t know what to do about it. And I do the absolute worst, if I sneak a glance down at my hands, and then notice a tremor. Can any of you suggest something for this?

Sorry for answering my own question, lol. But I searched a bit, and one solution seems to be to get the endings super solid. It takes me so much time for difficult pieces, I always miss out on properly practising the endings. This may be the reason that I don’t feel all that nervous (certainly not shaky), while playing easier stuff. Because the endings are as solid as the beginnings, so there isn’t any anticipation building for an apocalypse. Well, I’m going to try this approach for a while. I have a feeling this might work!

Wehhua, when at home, try playing with distractions. I absolutely need to do this, because in my teacher’s studio, there are always so many people around. Plus, at some times, parents of some kid will try to walk in while I’m playing, and at other times a drums teacher. cry Recording works great for creating an artificial distraction. Mostly though, try not to attach too much importance to playing perfectly for your teacher. And minimal thinking about messing up, before even starting to play. These things have really helped me in staying calmer and more focussed, than I was in my beginning few weeks. Good luck!


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Originally Posted by Tech-key

Sorry for answering my own question, lol. But I searched a bit, and one solution seems to be to get the endings super solid. It takes me so much time for difficult pieces, I always miss out on properly practising the endings. This may be the reason that I don’t feel all that nervous (certainly not shaky), while playing easier stuff. Because the endings are as solid as the beginnings, so there isn’t any anticipation building for an apocalypse. Well, I’m going to try this approach for a while. I have a feeling this might work!

Wehhua, when at home, try playing with distractions. I absolutely need to do this, because in my teacher’s studio, there are always so many people around. Plus, at some times, parents of some kid will try to walk in while I’m playing, and at other times a drums teacher. cry Recording works great for creating an artificial distraction. Mostly though, try not to attach too much importance to playing perfectly for your teacher. And minimal thinking about messing up, before even starting to play. These things have really helped me in staying calmer and more focussed, than I was in my beginning few weeks. Good luck!


My teacher told me, the most important part is the beginning and the end, this is what people will remember the most. Between that we can do mistakes and people will forget.


Last edited by Serge88; 06/28/19 03:21 PM.


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Originally Posted by Serge88
Originally Posted by Tech-key
Sorry for answering my own question, lol. But I searched a bit, and one solution seems to be to get the endings super solid. It takes me so much time for difficult pieces, I always miss out on properly practising the endings. This may be the reason that I don’t feel all that nervous (certainly not shaky), while playing easier stuff. Because the endings are as solid as the beginnings, so there isn’t any anticipation building for an apocalypse. Well, I’m going to try this approach for a while. I have a feeling this might work!

Wehhua, when at home, try playing with distractions. I absolutely need to do this, because in my teacher’s studio, there are always so many people around. Plus, at some times, parents of some kid will try to walk in while I’m playing, and at other times a drums teacher. cry Recording works great for creating an artificial distraction. Mostly though, try not to attach too much importance to playing perfectly for your teacher. And minimal thinking about messing up, before even starting to play. These things have really helped me in staying calmer and more focussed, than I was in my beginning few weeks. Good luck!
My teacher told me, the most important part is the beginning and the end, this is what people will remember the most. Between that we can do mistakes and people will forget.

Cool tip! Thanks smile


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Originally Posted by Serge88

My teacher told me, the most important part is the beginning and the end, this is what people will remember the most. Between that we can do mistakes and people will forget.


He probably got that from the great Sir Thomas Beecham:
“There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn’t give a damn what goes on in between.”


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Once I accepted that playing in lesson is not the same as practicing at home, I relaxed more. I think it is important to note that we are good at deceiving ourselves in thinking we are playing well [at home]. The real test is playing in front of other people. I mess up in front of my hub, and when I join one of these piano meet ups - I am sure the same might happen. I have realized to play well..it requires A LOT OF PRACTICE: slow practice, metronome, looping, starting at different point in the score. I am always surprised at how much more I can improve on a piece. Short of ‘rewriting’ a score to affirm my knowledge of the piece, I will make mistakes, which reflects my confidence in a piece, and where I am still weak. I say, embrace these moments, as they are teaching moments for me and my teacher.


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Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
The real test is playing in front of other people.

That is only true if the real purpose of learning to play piano is to play in front of other people. But what if it isn't?


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Yeah, I can relate to that. I get into my teacher's room, sit on the piano, and he says: go warm up I will come back in a minute. Then I play the piece I am working on without any problem. The moment he sits next to me and asks me to play again, I can't even play the first measure properly without taking several tries. It is ridiculous, but I guess it is normal. Don't really know how to deal with that, except maybe, over time and having lots of experiences playing in front of others.


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Originally Posted by facdo
Don't really know how to deal with that

video recording


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
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