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Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
#2902775 10/21/19 01:27 PM
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So I'm thinking I'm not the only adult student that has a IRL Christmas Piano Recital. I'm very nervous and I have a month and a half to go before it arrives! I'm panicking over what to wear, how I'm going to do etc. I have an extreme fear of being in the spotlight, public spaces, crowds etc. (Yes I have a stress disorder but I think most of this is probably normal and not related to it.)

Anyone who has been through this have any advice? I'm working very had on my Recital Piece (Dance of the Sugar Plums Level 2) and hope to be able to play it blindfolded and in my sleep in my bid to be prepared. I'm asking friends for clothing advice (they aren't taking me very seriously.) Most of the parents of the other students are my age and I probably know them (small town) which isn't helping. LOL A room full of peers. Ah. I think I might have lost my mind agreeing to this.


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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902783 10/21/19 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BeccaBb
So I'm thinking I'm not the only adult student that has a IRL Christmas Piano Recital.

I was in a family Christmas recital last year. Still terrifying. Hope my sister has no weird ideas this year laugh


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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902790 10/21/19 01:50 PM
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Have you done a recital before? My first recital was at Christmas last year, so I was going through the same thing. I almost backed out 8000 times.

Mine was at a retirement center on a really nice Yamaha upright. It was not "dressy." We had only 3 adults playing and oodles of kids. Christmas-themed items were encouraged, but only the kids got into that. Well, I wore green. smile Just make sure you wear something that's comfortable to play in...like you wouldn't want any big billowy sleeves that might distract you. And test out your shoes on the pedal ahead of time!

Best advice I've gotten so far about performing in general is that you have to accept that it's not going to be perfect, and you have to be OK with that. Hard for a perfectionist like me to beat into my brain...


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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902812 10/21/19 02:44 PM
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Practice the passages you have trouble with. 2 days before recital only play it once a day.

Day of recital do not play it at all.

Wear comfortable clothes long sleeved shirt, slacks and a tie is nice.

Practice playing the piece without stopping even when you make mistakes and have the urge to correct them. Most likely the audience wont even hear them unless they know the piece.

It is a recital not a competition, have fun and play,

Realize that most adult in the audience wish they were you.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902832 10/21/19 03:46 PM
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I was asked - at less than ten hours' notice - to deputize for the booked (regular) pianist (who'd called in sick) at a mental health hospital's Christmas sing-a-long concert for the patients two years ago. The patients had been looking forward to the annual concert: they couldn't go home for Christmas because they weren't well enough, so the staff didn't want to cancel it.

But what was I expected to play? - not my usual classical pieces (which I'd performed there in the past for the staff), but whatever the audience chose to sing, from a long list of Christmas songs and carols. I didn't know what was on that list until I got there two hours before the concert. As the staff advised, I was casually dressed......

My heart sank when I saw the list - I didn't even recognize the titles of most of the songs, many of which had only a passing connection with Christmas. I hoped that the audience would choose to sing well-known carols instead, which I could sight-read from my book of Carols for Choirs that I'd brought with me.

Instead, the audience - predominantly young, some of them just teenagers - chose to sing mostly the pop songs, none of which I'd heard before. I was given the volumes of songs which their regular pianist normally used: some songs had fully-written-out and elaborate piano accompaniments (which was OK - I could simplify stuff on the fly if I couldn't quite manage all the notes sight-reading) but others just had lyrics with guitar chords - basically like lead sheets without the melody given.

What could I do? I hit upon the idea of playing the opening chord, then asking the audience to sing the first line a cappella smirk so that I could get some idea of how fast the song went and its melodic contours, and then I'd join in following them with my own elaboration of the given chords just as soon as I got the gist of things. The audience, having been informed beforehand that I'd never played this sort of stuff before, were quite willing to oblige, and everyone was just happy that I was making the effort........even if my versions of the accompaniments sounded nothing like in the original songs (apparently, with one song that was supposed to be a ballad I turned into a slow rhythmic march grin, which elicited grins from the audience).

Everyone had a great time, and the audience/singers even got introduced to new 'classical' versions of some pop songs..........well, it's Christmas. yippie


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902861 10/21/19 04:59 PM
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With my teacher, for the recital, every students show up 15 minutes before the start of their lessons and play in front of the other student and sometimes she invite her grand mother.

That’s only a crowd of one or two peoples but it helps conquer the fear of performing.

Last edited by Serge88; 10/21/19 05:00 PM.


“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902884 10/21/19 06:09 PM
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Not much to add but a couple of thoughts:

Practice performing at home: walk slowly to piano, turn and bow to the audience.
Don’t stop or ‘redo’ if you make a mistake.
Start slowly: is the bench ok? Hear the first few measures in your head before you start. Breathe deeply a couple of times.

FWIW: whenever I get nervous, I found out that I hold my breathe and breathe very shallowly. Not good for keeping the brain with enough oxygen. Now I force the slow deep breathes before I start and pre-plan others. Helps me a lot

Most important!!! The recital is about sharing music and the joy of the season.... not about the performer. Focus on the music and the sharing and you will be fine


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2902933 10/21/19 09:08 PM
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RE Clothing: Practice playing your piece in anything you are considering wearing.
For me, the better I feel in my clothes, the better--no matter what the occasion.

If you can play the piano in the performance hall it might help. Sometimes an unfamiliar piano can be full of surprises. Even a little bit of practice in the space could help it feel less unfamiliar.


For me, playing on as many pianos as possible is helpful.

For me it is also helpful to remember that although anxiety is real, it is only anxiety; I remind myself that I am not in actual danger.


Your experience will not be like mine or anyone else's. Your experience may be strikingly unlike the experience of someone who learned to play piano as a child and is currently an advanced player.

Have fun!


Learner
Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2903093 10/22/19 01:05 PM
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Thank you all of you so much!

Yes this is my first piano recital, although I have participated in our recital once on here I think. But not the same to me.

These are fantastic suggestions. Try playing with my outfit beforehand, test out my shoes with the pedal beforehand. How not to over practice the few days before. Watch for clothes that interfere. Practice my tough spots. Watch that I don't hold my breath. I'm going to make a list for here at home. Trying different pianos! I really like that one. LOL

Bennevis: You are a trooper. I can't even imagine trying to pull that off. ( I do realize that lack of skill contributes to my lack of imagination. lol) Well done!

Serge: I was thinking of seeing if some of friends or family would do a mock performance or two. Good idea! I also believe we have a rehearsal at some point, thankfully.

Tyrone: I'd lock myself in the bathroom if I had to do a family recital. LMAO

JB_PW: Funny I had a conversation with my teacher today about my perfectionist tendencies! LOL it's apparently showing up in my practice. Overcoming that will be probably the hardest thing for me.

Dogperson, Malkin, Learux : awesome tips!

Again thanks guys! I will put all these tips to good use and hope it helps calm my nerves over the next month and a half. smile


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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2903176 10/22/19 03:48 PM
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I'll add one other suggestion. If you think playing from memory might cause some of the anxiety, you can request to perform with the music.Ask your teacher ahead of time. At a recital of non professionals no one will care if you use the score.

Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
pianoloverus #2903208 10/22/19 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I'll add one other suggestion. If you think playing from memory might cause some of the anxiety, you can request to perform with the music.Ask your teacher ahead of time. At a recital of non professionals no one will care if you use the score.

I know I could...…. but I really don't want to. LOL I have wicked memory issues. I'd like to push myself and see if I could do it. You know, once it gets closer, I'll see how I feel and if I think I may need this, I'll run it by him. I just don't want to. LOLOLOLOL

Thanks pianoloverus. It's a good suggestion.


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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2903755 10/23/19 06:36 PM
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Re the comment not to play on the day, I think it depends on your style/disposition. I almost always play the day of a recital/piano party, or if I'm having people over and planning to play for them, I run through my pieces beforehand. But when doing that, I make it a point to try to play a little on the slow side. And I don't allow myself to stop or re-play any mistakes. And, here's the most important part, I don't evaluate how I played. I just think of it as a warm-up.

Re playing from memory or playing from the score, this is something that you should be very intentional about. What I mean is, you decide very early which you will do, and then from now on, that's how you play. If you plan to play from memory, and then all of a sudden are looking at the score, you may find that you can't play it, or you can't read-play it. Instead, if you want play from the score, get in the habit of keeping your eyes on the score, reading along and keeping your eyes on what you're actually playing. That way, you can actually use the score and read from it. If you just have it sitting on the music desk, when you find yourself in need of it, you won't know where to look.

Again, these are things that work for me, so you may find other solutions.

But the one thing I think works for everyone is: enjoy it! smile


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Re: Piano Recital for Xmas (IRL)
BeccaBb #2903774 10/23/19 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BeccaBb
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I'll add one other suggestion. If you think playing from memory might cause some of the anxiety, you can request to perform with the music.Ask your teacher ahead of time. At a recital of non professionals no one will care if you use the score.

I know I could...…. but I really don't want to. LOL I have wicked memory issues. I'd like to push myself and see if I could do it. You know, once it gets closer, I'll see how I feel and if I think I may need this, I'll run it by him. I just don't want to. LOLOLOLOL

Thanks pianoloverus. It's a good suggestion.
I think fear of memory slips is one of the main causes or, more likely, the biggest cause of anxiety for many people. So using the score can turn what is such an anxiety provoking event to something much more pleasant.

But besides the reduced anxiety, not putting in all the extra work needed to memorize piece allows one time to learn much more music, and that's a much better use of practice time IMO. When I was giving recitals at senior centers, I would have learned 1/10th the repertoire if I had chosen to memorize the music.


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