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Breaking the tension before a performance #2913364 11/18/19 03:30 AM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 697
CianistAndPomposer Offline OP
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 697
Allen Vizzutti did it like this, before playing an unbelievably difficult piece:

https://youtu.be/5g8qRF8Eogs

So that got me thinking...

Say you're about to perform the entire chopin etudes, but you'd rather just die. You're terribly nervous and unsure about the first, second and the double thirds etude. Yet you still need to go on the stage, since your career is on the line.

So, when walking onto the stage, you do something to make the unsuspecting audience laugh:

1) Stumble/slip intentionally, hoping it looks genuine and that you don't actually injure yourself or fall off the stage and perish right then and there.

2) Walk onto the stage in your underwear, and in a few seconds, say: "Oh, [censored], sorry. I forgot to put on my clothes". Then come back a few minutes later in a stripper outfit.

3) Crack a poop joke.

You should then be sufficiently relaxed. Just try not to feel embarrassed.

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Re: Breaking the tension before a performance [Re: CianistAndPomposer] #2913376 11/18/19 05:10 AM
Joined: Oct 2015
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ghosthand Offline
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A less embarrassing way is to do what I have learned: make an oral introduction to the audience, give a background to the composer's history and his/her intentions with this work, even - if you think you have time - talk about how it is structured, what special features to observe and how you have worked with this. Smile at the audience and make them smile back. Now you are friends, now the ice is broken. Now they know that you have worked seriously with this, and they definitely appreciate to get some context to what they are listening at. So if you still happen to make some mistakes, you will be forgiven.

I promise, this will make both you and the audience more comfortable. A performance is supposed to be a nice experience for everybody. As a famous rock star said: people think Mickey Mouse is boring, because he is just too correct, but they love Donald Duck because he always makes a fool of himself. So don't be Mickey Mouse when you perform, be Donald Duck!

I guess it is not allowed to make an oral presentation on competitions, but - piano playing is not about competitions. The silent, divine performer who sneaks out on stage, makes a brilliant performance and then vanishes again (up to heaven in smoke and fire) without a smile, is sooo outdated.


Re: Breaking the tension before a performance [Re: ghosthand] #2913389 11/18/19 06:18 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by ghosthand
A less embarrassing way is to do what I have learned: make an oral introduction to the audience, give a background to the composer's history and his/her intentions with this work, even - if you think you have time - talk about how it is structured, what special features to observe and how you have worked with this. Smile at the audience and make them smile back. Now you are friends, now the ice is broken. Now they know that you have worked seriously with this, and they definitely appreciate to get some context to what they are listening at.

Make sure you know your audiences before you do this.

For instance, in London's South Bank Centre comprising three concert halls (the Royal Festival Hall being the biggest), many - probably most - in the audience are regulars and are classical music buffs, often musicians themselves. For some of the piano recitals, there are special cheap seats behind the stage for students too. Most of them have bought the season's programme booklet, which contain detailed notes on the music (all written by musicologists, sometimes with the performer's own added notes) for each concert - which assume that the reader is highly knowledgeable about classical music, with frequent references to Italian and German terms, words like 'motivic development' and 'enharmonic equivalent' and "the Darmstadt school" sprinkled in, and many other composers mentioned - and would give the performer eye-rolls if he started 'introducing' the music he's about to play and (silently and politely smirk ) mouth "Just get on with it!". The encores are when chatting to the audience - very briefly, introducing what he's going to play (especially if it's something obscure), maybe why he chose it (and a bit of wit wouldn't go amiss) - works well.

At the other end of the spectrum are the audiences I perform for - the vast majority of whom have only heard live classical music from my previous recitals (if they have attended before), and come just to enjoy music they would never hear anywhere else. Not to hear me give a mini-lecture on classical music. (Though I have given lecture-recitals on classical music before - which were billed as such). I make myself available for anyone to ask me questions (or just chat) afterwards, and they know I won't talk down to them. The questions I've been asked range from "Is Brahms a modern composer?" to "Was that last piece a study by Liszt?" I respond accordingly and go into as much detail as they are interested in. However, many of the audience aren't interested to know more about the composers or the music: they just want to listen and enjoy it - like any pop song - and when they chat and ask questions, it's along the lines of "How long have you been playing?" or "How many hours do you practise a week?"

The last thing I want to do is to put them off from enjoying classical music in their own way, on their own terms - without any scholarly fluff that they aren't interested in.



"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: Breaking the tension before a performance [Re: CianistAndPomposer] #2913565 11/18/19 04:44 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 19
Calavera Offline
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Originally Posted by CianistAndPomposer

3) Crack a poop joke.


"If you hear a wrong note during my performance, that just means I need to fart."

Re: Breaking the tension before a performance [Re: CianistAndPomposer] #2913569 11/18/19 04:56 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
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Jethro Online Content
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10 mg of Inderal should take the edge off.


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