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Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2930548 01/05/20 03:10 PM
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You are a fine musician - relax, this is normal. After I got done with Piano Texas last year (which also coincided with a very stressful time at work) I didn't touch a keyboard for a month. Now I'm having fun again. This is just a normal cycle that human beings go through.

Also keep in mind that you are trying to do something to a pretty high level. You love it, but it's still hard - the level of concentration and care that you bring to the instrument probably exceeds most average pianist. That's a lot of sustained effort over time, I think most anyone would go through similar periods where they just need a break.

Long story short, don't let it cause you undue stress. The good news is, you're human!

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Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: computerpro3] #2930588 01/05/20 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by computerpro3
The good news is, you're human!

But of course we don't want to be limited by that! ha

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2932391 01/10/20 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
I recorded some takes for my Cliburn 2000 audition two Sundays ago. I haven't touched a piano since then. I've heard the raw audio recordings and I'm filled with doubt about them. You know, all the unintended accents, spontaneous agogics, inappropriate rubato between bar lines; other stuff that happens. I've experienced this kind of thing before, but I have NEVER felt so apathetic, lethargic, uninterested as I have been for the past week. It's a huge source of stress.

Anyone else ever felt this way?


Yes, I've definitely felt that way.

If you're a good musician, when you listen to a recording of yourself, you'll hear flaws. If you don't, it means you're not listening very carefully. So, in my mind, the fact that you hear flaws is not by itself a sign that anything is wrong. The question is: how do you react to it, and why?

Originally Posted by SiFi

Isn't perfectionism the enemy of the good? I'm thinking of the other posts where people have correctly indicated that I may be obsessed with the details and not the Gestalt, or at least that I wasn't thinking big concept while I was recording. And those people are right. Recordings suck for that reason. The examiners will listen to bits and pieces to determine whether I meet their acceptance criteria, whatever those may be. They will hear anomalous gestures in the very first piece that they listen to. If they listen any further, I may get through, but who knows? These people are busy and they are quick to recognize talent and the lack of it.


Never, never, never sacrifice the gestalt for the details. The reason examiners look for details to pick on is because they feel that something is off with the gestalt. It's hard to put the gestalt into words, but it's easy to point out wrong notes.

But it sounds to me like what's really bothering you is that this whole project is a failure if you don't satisfy someone else's criteria for your playing. What if you could produce a recording that you knew represented your absolute best and most honest expression of the music that you were capable of doing in the moment, EVEN THOUGH it was rejected by a stranger? How would that change your experience of playing, and your experience of listening to your recording later?

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: MichaelJK] #2933976 01/15/20 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Never, never, never sacrifice the gestalt for the details. . . . It sounds to me like what's really bothering you is that this whole project is a failure if you don't satisfy someone else's criteria for your playing. What if you could produce a recording that you knew represented your absolute best and most honest expression of the music that you were capable of doing in the moment, EVEN THOUGH it was rejected by a stranger? How would that change your experience of playing, and your experience of listening to your recording later?

It's so complicated though. I don't know whether this is common, but I have all kinds of things going on when I play, and I mean play for real not just going through the motions or whatever. And yes, at the back of my mind, in recordings at least, there are always thoughts and fears about who is going to listen and judge my work. I think it's accurate to say that I have never lost myself in the music during a recording as completely as I occasionally have in live performance. As for "Never sacrifice the Gestalt for the details": great epigram with a meaningful underlying philosophy to live by.

Thanks so much for the comments and insights, Michael.


SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2933979 01/15/20 12:22 AM
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Here's the Full Monty. It's strange how the flaws that haunted me when I listened to the audio are diluted when there's video going on. Comments welcome as always--and thanks to all those who already posted valuable opinions and advice.



SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2933991 01/15/20 01:34 AM
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You own it - congratulations! thumb



Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2934037 01/15/20 04:22 AM
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I can understand that some flaws bother you. I tried to imagine that it was my own recording and then I started listening for things I didn't like rather than the ones I did. Once there, it's difficult to get out, as the focus is on such minute level - it's really note per note rather than overall picture, which of course is the wrong mindset when listening.

I'm afraid I don't have any advice on how to get out of it.
However, I listened again, now with the idea that it isn't me, and then I enjoyed it very much. You manage to keep the intimacy in the melody without losing the polyphony in the other voices, which isn't easy


Well done!

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2934308 01/15/20 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi

It's so complicated though. I don't know whether this is common, but I have all kinds of things going on when I play, and I mean play for real not just going through the motions or whatever.


I'd be very curious to hear what the Scarlatti would sound like if you just went through the motions.

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2935088 01/17/20 12:20 AM
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Well, good luck of course!
Of course I don't mean you'll need it. grin

But some of us sure do. ha

I'm posting my audition videos on "Members' Recordings."

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2935103 01/17/20 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Never, never, never sacrifice the gestalt for the details. . . . It sounds to me like what's really bothering you is that this whole project is a failure if you don't satisfy someone else's criteria for your playing. What if you could produce a recording that you knew represented your absolute best and most honest expression of the music that you were capable of doing in the moment, EVEN THOUGH it was rejected by a stranger? How would that change your experience of playing, and your experience of listening to your recording later?

It's so complicated though. I don't know whether this is common, but I have all kinds of things going on when I play, and I mean play for real not just going through the motions or whatever. And yes, at the back of my mind, in recordings at least, there are always thoughts and fears about who is going to listen and judge my work. I think it's accurate to say that I have never lost myself in the music during a recording as completely as I occasionally have in live performance. As for "Never sacrifice the Gestalt for the details": great epigram with a meaningful underlying philosophy to live by.

Thanks so much for the comments and insights, Michael.

As a complete amateur, I'm so happy to read your feelings. It's so comforting to know that even experienced pianists feel the same way I do at times. After 50 years on this earth I heard myself play the piano for the first time in a recording I made when I had to sell my previous piano. It was a stressful experience recording myself and very uncomfortable. I was very rigid and found it very difficult to perform when I was recording myself. I'm actually more "comfortable live" (but that doesn't say much because sometimes I just feel like vomiting), but my current teacher regularly practices by recording herself to keep that pressure on herself and since doing this she has been giving the best performances in her life.

I could only hope in many years from now and with a lot of work I can play anywhere as near as good as you so you have nothing to be worried about. It's inspiring to all of us who are just starting this journey- and to compete, that takes so much bravery. I couldn't even dream of doing that. If only I could be as comfortable as you when performing for others. You have a gift. Keep sharing it with others.

Last edited by Jethro; 01/17/20 01:22 AM.

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Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: MichaelJK] #2935199 01/17/20 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by SiFi

It's so complicated though. I don't know whether this is common, but I have all kinds of things going on when I play, and I mean play for real not just going through the motions or whatever.


I'd be very curious to hear what the Scarlatti would sound like if you just went through the motions.
Since you've thrown down the gauntlet, I may just try doing that! ha Actually, I'm being serious. It would certainly be interesting to compare a metronomically pure, cleanly voiced version with this one. Excellent idea. I'll try to post the results today.


SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: Jethro] #2935204 01/17/20 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
After 50 years on this earth I heard myself play the piano for the first time in a recording I made when I had to sell my previous piano. It was a stressful experience recording myself and very uncomfortable. I was very rigid and found it very difficult to perform when I was recording myself. I'm actually more "comfortable live" (but that doesn't say much because sometimes I just feel like vomiting), but my current teacher regularly practices by recording herself to keep that pressure on herself and since doing this she has been giving the best performances in her life.

There's a lot of wisdom embedded in this short passage! Certainly hearing oneself play, "warts an' all", is a growth milestone. Then being able to objectively assess the recording without getting all depressed and thinking "I wish I'd done this" or "I wish I hadn't done that", well that's another milestone further down the road and it's one I obviously haven't reached yet. (I'm the OP, after all!)

As for the "vomiting" thing - sick - I'm sorry to say that never entirely goes away. cry cry cry


SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2935337 01/17/20 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by SiFi

It's so complicated though. I don't know whether this is common, but I have all kinds of things going on when I play, and I mean play for real not just going through the motions or whatever.


I'd be very curious to hear what the Scarlatti would sound like if you just went through the motions.
Since you've thrown down the gauntlet, I may just try doing that! ha Actually, I'm being serious. It would certainly be interesting to compare a metronomically pure, cleanly voiced version with this one. Excellent idea. I'll try to post the results today.


Nice! I can't wait to hear it.

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: MichaelJK] #2935453 01/17/20 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
Originally Posted by SiFi
Since you've thrown down the gauntlet, I may just try doing that! ha Actually, I'm being serious. It would certainly be interesting to compare a metronomically pure, cleanly voiced version with this one. Excellent idea. I'll try to post the results today.


Nice! I can't wait to hear it.

Ask and thou shalt receive. Even though I didn't actually use a metronome, I think this is pretty steady. It was hard to do, though. I did three takes before I got one that was close enough, IMO, to qualify as "going through the motions" (other than the technical fluff that caused a slight hesitation in the second half--sorry about that).

Let me know what you think, Michael, and anyone else who might have an opinion.



SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2935463 01/17/20 06:16 PM
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If it were me I would try to bring out the top voice very clearly. In order to do that I would maybe let the first F# linger a bit while clearly voicing it over all the other notes at the same time. And follow the same routine throughout letting some notes linger as needed keeping others low as an accompaniment only.

Of course playing this in a church or a big hall would help achieving that too. In a small room where there is almost no reverberation it is very difficult.

In short, I would just try to give the audience a melody path that they can sing and easily follow.

Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2935546 01/17/20 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi

Ask and thou shalt receive. Even though I didn't actually use a metronome, I think this is pretty steady. It was hard to do, though. I did three takes before I got one that was close enough, IMO, to qualify as "going through the motions" (other than the technical fluff that caused a slight hesitation in the second half--sorry about that).

Let me know what you think, Michael, and anyone else who might have an opinion.


I can give you my opinion about how it sounds. Before I do that, however, I am wondering if this performance was plagued by the thoughts and fears that bothered you in the other recording. Or, did you manage to free yourself of those by "going through the motions"?

(I used to have that same Seiko metronome, and I miss it. The newer ones don't have such a nice click...)

Last edited by MichaelJK; 01/17/20 10:20 PM.
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: Hakki] #2935576 01/18/20 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
If it were me I would try to bring out the top voice very clearly. In order to do that I would maybe let the first F# linger a bit while clearly voicing it over all the other notes at the same time. And follow the same routine throughout letting some notes linger as needed keeping others low as an accompaniment only.

Excellent points, Hakki. However, this was an experiment where I was deliberately trying to avoid any lingering or pausing or rubato of any kind so as to provide a baseline against which my other recording could be judged. That said, I agree about your other observations.


SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: MichaelJK] #2935578 01/18/20 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
I can give you my opinion about how it sounds. Before I do that, however, I am wondering if this performance was plagued by the thoughts and fears that bothered you in the other recording. Or, did you manage to free yourself of those by "going through the motions"?

You are quite thorough when it comes to interrogation!

Taking your questions in order. (1) No, not so much. There was no real pressure because (a) I know the notes and (b) the recording has no consequences except in as much as you and maybe a few other friendly listeners are going to evaluate it. (2) It's funny that you ask, but yes, I did feel kind of free, once I adapted to the whole idea after a couple of initial takes. And interestingly, I still felt I was interpreting the music, which you may or may not be able to see in the video.

This was a fascinating experiment. I do not think it's one of those cases where you say, OK, split the difference, or, take the best features of each rendering. We're talking different paradigms here. It's meaningful, I think.


SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: PianogrlNW] #2935584 01/18/20 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
You own it - congratulations! thumb

Thank you. I'm all about "owning" performances, so this is the best compliment you could have given me.


SRF
Re: Post-Recording Paralysis [Re: SiFi] #2935919 01/18/20 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
I can give you my opinion about how it sounds. Before I do that, however, I am wondering if this performance was plagued by the thoughts and fears that bothered you in the other recording. Or, did you manage to free yourself of those by "going through the motions"?

You are quite thorough when it comes to interrogation!


Haha, I guess I get excited when I have a willing victim grin

Originally Posted by SiFi

(2) It's funny that you ask, but yes, I did feel kind of free, once I adapted to the whole idea after a couple of initial takes. And interestingly, I still felt I was interpreting the music, which you may or may not be able to see in the video.


Yes, I did see it! It was definitely very musical. Maybe not quite as carefully crafted as the other recording, but it absolutely did not sound like a robot was playing.

Originally Posted by SiFi

This was a fascinating experiment. I do not think it's one of those cases where you say, OK, split the difference, or, take the best features of each rendering. We're talking different paradigms here. It's meaningful, I think.


Right, I think it's a mistake to try to split the difference. This is about making a choice. The more careful SiFi plays better, but it comes at a price. The more carefree SiFi isn't quite as polished, but if you really give him the reigns, he could play in his sleep. Does that sound right to you?

Now, imagine what would happen if you (1) trained the more carefree SiFi to play better, and then (2) gave him control in a high-pressure situation...

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