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Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
#2963176 04/03/20 05:18 AM
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In one of his recent videos he says: ""Performing is a separate skill you have to work at. You can't be just a great practicer in your home and expect that to translated well on to stage"
Are you agree with that? My experience tells me his words are absolute truth eek


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Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963243 04/03/20 09:54 AM
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Of course, I don't see how anyone could disagree with that. If someone disagreed, they would,in effect, be saying there's no such thing as performance nerves or stage fright.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963248 04/03/20 10:07 AM
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Works the other way round too. You can't expect to reduce anxiety unless your competence is 110%.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
pianoloverus #2963275 04/03/20 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Of course, I don't see how anyone could disagree with that. If someone disagreed, they would,in effect, be saying there's no such thing as performance nerves or stage fright.


I think those can disagree who have never tried performing before people. Some beginners who started recently, may be. Like I was, for example smile I remember the first time I came to music college teachers, how unpleasantly surprised and lost I was, not understanding what's happening, why can't I play anything smile smile


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Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963423 04/03/20 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Of course, I don't see how anyone could disagree with that. If someone disagreed, they would,in effect, be saying there's no such thing as performance nerves or stage fright.


I think those can disagree who have never tried performing before people. Some beginners who started recently, may be. Like I was, for example smile I remember the first time I came to music college teachers, how unpleasantly surprised and lost I was, not understanding what's happening, why can't I play anything smile smile
it makes no sense for that group of people to even be asked the question or volunteer an opinion since their experience is too limited. One doesn't ask a four year old to evaluate a bottle of wine.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/03/20 06:48 PM.
Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963464 04/03/20 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
In one of his recent videos he says: ""Performing is a separate skill you have to work at. You can't be just a great practicer in your home and expect that to translated well on to stage"
Are you agree with that? My experience tells me his words are absolute truth eek


I'm not sure "work at" stagefright would help me. Actually, working at it too much results in making a big deal of it which is worse for me. So going on stage I'd think to myself, this is when I freak out and mess up, then of course I freak out and mess up.

But actually, just from the quote itself, it is not clear whether he's talking about stagefright. I'm sure nerves would be a part of it. But even without that, performance is of course different from practice. You're like an actor delivering lines the composer wrote. You have to communicate. And I don't mean the facial contortions and grimaces. You convey something because you understand it and you know how to deliver that to the audience through sound. It's the same as other stage arts: dance, musical theater, etc. You have to be convincing so the audience thinks you really believe in it and that you're not just going through the motion.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963525 04/04/20 05:08 AM
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You should definitely rehearse your performance - many times - at home.

After all, in an opera or musical, they have preliminary rehearsals followed by a full dress rehearsal.

So, you should practice playing through your complete program exactly the same way as you intend to in performance, preferably with an audience (even if it's only your adorable cat smirk ) - the same 'backstage' warm-up, the same order (and of course, no correcting of mistakes etc), the same gaps between pieces, even wearing the same clothes, unless you're already used to them. (Performing your pieces in an uncomfortable suit - or tails - that you've never tried playing in can completely throw you off, when you've been practicing your pieces wearing just a T-shirt and shorts and flip-flops....)


"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: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963544 04/04/20 07:05 AM
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The best advice I've ever received about the stage fright is not to try to seem a great pianist. Because most of our stage fright is caused by us wanting to show-off and to seem piano geniuses, and that's why forgetting notes then seems so embarassing and shameful - because it instantly breaks that illusion of a great pianist. Trying to be simple and playful instead makes a big difference.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963550 04/04/20 07:31 AM
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^ By that I mean to enter a kind of light, playful mood before playing in public initially. Start with some easy Mozart, if you have an option, or a scherzo, or polka. I mean, try to play with the audience. In that mood even if you do mistakes you will take it easy and audience will take it easy. Otherwise if you sit at the piano with a face like Rachmaninoff's, dead serious, trying to seem a great pianist, and start playing Moonlight sonata with a wise look... and then you make a dumb mistake... eek That's not a good way to overcome stage fright.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
wszxbcl #2963688 04/04/20 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl

I'm not sure "work at" stagefright would help me. Actually, working at it too much results in making a big deal of it which is worse for me. So going on stage I'd think to myself, this is when I freak out and mess up, then of course I freak out and mess up.

But actually, just from the quote itself, it is not clear whether he's talking about stagefright. I'm sure nerves would be a part of it. But even without that, performance is of course different from practice. You're like an actor delivering lines the composer wrote. You have to communicate. And I don't mean the facial contortions and grimaces. You convey something because you understand it and you know how to deliver that to the audience through sound. It's the same as other stage arts: dance, musical theater, etc. You have to be convincing so the audience thinks you really believe in it and that you're not just going through the motion.
1. Working on stage fright does not mean what you said in the first paragraph. If you work on it correctly, you can often decrease it.
2. When you practice you should be practicing how you would communicate in a recital, Even if you are never going to perform the piece(true for most amateurs) you should be working on the interpretation while you practice a piece.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/04/20 04:53 PM.
Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963810 04/05/20 06:03 AM
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Working on anxiety decreasing may lead to strange results, by the way. I had such an experience when I performed before some audiences as a vocalist. I convinced myself that I do not really care about the listeners at all. As if they were just a nobodies with zero-value opinions. I felt no anxiety or fright. But I also felt no joy at all. Was absolutely reluctant, you know... Looks like emotions are strongly bound. I

Last edited by PianoStartsAt33; 04/05/20 06:04 AM.

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Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2963826 04/05/20 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
Working on anxiety decreasing may lead to strange results, by the way. I had such an experience when I performed before some audiences as a vocalist. I convinced myself that I do not really care about the listeners at all. As if they were just a nobodies with zero-value opinions. I felt no anxiety or fright. But I also felt no joy at all. Was absolutely reluctant, you know... Looks like emotions are strongly bound. I
Not surprising since for most/many musicians performing is at least partly about giving something to their audience.What's the point of performing if you view the audience as nobodies?

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
pianoloverus #2963848 04/05/20 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
[quote=wszxbcl]
1. Working on stage fright does not mean what you said in the first paragraph. If you work on it correctly, you can often decrease it.
2. When you practice you should be practicing how you would communicate in a recital, Even if you are never going to perform the piece(true for most amateurs) you should be working on the interpretation while you practice a piece.


1. Please tell how do you work on stage fright correctly to decrease it. I have asked many people, including teachers. I've also read up on it in books. Mostly people tell me something vague like "just have fun" or "don't try to be perfect". Nothing has helped. Btw I am not nervous at all lecturing or giving a speech in front of 200 people. But when it comes to music performance, I get quite nervous (except group performance such as choir or guitar ensemble). So how does one work on stage fright?
2. Actually I wasn't talking about interpretation, but it doesn't matter for this thread. I'm more interested in 1. above. Any tips?

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
wszxbcl #2963871 04/05/20 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
1. Please tell how do you work on stage fright correctly to decrease it. I have asked many people, including teachers. I've also read up on it in books. Mostly people tell me something vague like "just have fun" or "don't try to be perfect". Nothing has helped. Btw I am not nervous at all lecturing or giving a speech in front of 200 people. But when it comes to music performance, I get quite nervous (except group performance such as choir or guitar ensemble). So how does one work on stage fright?
I don't claim to be any kind of expert on stage fright. I have performed many, many times but almost always in low pressure situations... with the score, as part of a large ensemble, at senior centers, less than challenging music, etc.

Solo performance in front of a reasonably demanding audience is obviously more difficult. If you do a PW or Google search you will see many threads about performing nerves, Practicing your performance in front of a small group or even a single friend is usually mentioned.

You need to ask what the cause of your performance nerves is. If it's the very common problem of fear of memory slip then I strongly encourage you to perform with the score, In the last 50 years I have never played without the score.

About what is your level and what kinds of performances have been a problem for you?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/05/20 12:47 PM.
Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2964742 04/08/20 03:04 PM
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Fine motor skills produce more nerves and tension. Football or sports activities that are more physical mean you are able to release a lot of the tension - darts I’d imagine would be difficult in front of an audience as is piano

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
pianoloverus #2964866 04/09/20 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

You need to ask what the cause of your performance nerves is.
About what is your level and what kinds of performances have been a problem for you?


Thanks. I'm beginner but my teacher thinks it's important to play recitals. We do solos and duets. Some of her students are really advanced that they've played in international competitions. It's up on stage in a pretty big theater. Even before my turn my heart is already pounding. I get up there and sit at the big ol' Steinway (I only have a digital at home) and the stage lighting is right over me, the keys almost start to look blurred, so many keys, white keys, black keys! where is middle C ?!! OMG!

So the cause of the anxiety is this built up event, the pressure, feeling unfamiliar with the piano and surroundings, but I think it's just much worse when I am insecure about difficult spots in my music. The memorization is not a problem. I imagine I probably would not be nervous if all I have to play is Twinkle Twinkle (no pressure there!). But of course my teacher wouldn't have that.

I play in a piano meetup type gathering at a friend's house regularly. No nerves there, because no pressure.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
Wayne2467 #2964867 04/09/20 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Fine motor skills produce more nerves and tension. Football or sports activities that are more physical mean you are able to release a lot of the tension - darts I’d imagine would be difficult in front of an audience as is piano


Oh I know! I don't think I can be an Olympics marksperson on account of my trembling.

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
Wayne2467 #2964914 04/09/20 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
Fine motor skills produce more nerves and tension. Football or sports activities that are more physical mean you are able to release a lot of the tension - darts I’d imagine would be difficult in front of an audience as is piano

An interesting thought. Does it mean that exaggerating body movements when playing piano can help release tension?

Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2964982 04/09/20 10:34 AM
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Imagine if you are on stage and asked to clap your hands once. Or asked to raise you left hand up and step right leg back. Of you come to piano and asked to play just major C triad. You won't have problems with all these actions because it's automatised and easy (I'm not sure of some beginners and major C, though :)).
So, if you wanna not to worry, perform pieces that feel at the same level of subconsciousness and automatization. Many adult-starters cannot even play simple scale at proper speed without looking at their hands - and those guys wanna perform 4 or 5 RCM level pieces in front of people with confidence and quality. It's just nonsense.


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Re: Josh Wright on stage fright and anxiety struggle.
PianoStartsAt33 #2965000 04/09/20 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33

So, if you wanna not to worry, perform pieces that feel at the same level of subconsciousness and automatization. Many adult-starters cannot even play simple scale at proper speed without looking at their hands - and those guys wanna perform 4 or 5 RCM level pieces in front of people with confidence and quality. It's just nonsense.



From my (limited) experience, this idea that you need to know the piece inside out makes the most sense.
I literally struggle to record myself because my brain seem to just reset once I hit that red button. I make mistakes in roughly the same spot while trying to record a piece.If I turn off the camera... those mistakes just don't show up and I tell myself... "I've learned it".
Same thing happened in my last Abrsm exam (was on autopilot for 10 min straight). Of the 3 pieces, the one I struggled with the most in the previous months was the one that caused me trouble in the exam when the nerves kicked in... the other 2 went smoothly (i played all 3 of them at my lesson the week before the exam and it seemed ok). My fingers moved but felt like my subconscious was playing and not me.
So while I don't doubt that nerves can mess up a more public performance... my own little experiment tells me that if I know the piece inside out... I probably have a better chance playing in a trance during an exam or other similar situation.
Here's a video when John Browning says something interesting about knowing a piece and being secure in a public performance. (skip to :08:46 for this). He articulates it better than me.
https://www .youtube.com/watch?v=Eru9FDvUfz4&t=818s


Kawai ES110

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