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#368329 - 09/05/01 12:18 AM Teacher nerves...  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 140
Jemima Offline
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Jemima  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 140
Adelaide, South Australia
Look, i know this is going to sound really REALLY dumb! but, when im doing my 2 hour practise each night, my technical work: eg,m scales & arpeggios etc. are always really strong and clear, and non-shaky!!! but when i get into my piano lesson, i get all nervous (not HEAPS nervous, but a little stomach pain and a slight shake in my hands). So when my teacher asks to hear my technical work, its all shaky and slippy and all over the place! so therefore she says i don't practise them enough, BUT I DO!

someone please help me overcome this thing i get, because if i get nervous in front of my teacher, how can i exopect to perform!!!
P.S i think i get nervous in front of my teacher, because she is so0o0o strict!...is this a good reason? does anyone else get a slight case of this??

Jemima Martin
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#368330 - 09/05/01 04:45 AM Re: Teacher nerves...  


Oh yeah, I know what you mean. I'm usually all nerves when I come to my piano lesson and every piece that sounded great when practised at home becomes somewhat shaky when performed in front of my teacher.
At first I thought that this is the case because I tought myself to play for two years and am only now taking lessons. Thus, I'm not really used to it. I was also hoping to overcome my nervousness thinking I might get used to someone listing to my humble performance.

Obviously I'm not the only one with this problem.
After my last lesson I began to wonder if I might want it too much (playing nicely I mean). The more I want to show my teacher that I really do practice the shakier I get. Is it the same with you? Maybe one should allow oneself to make mistakes, be less perfect? Don't know if that helps, though.
Performance is something I don't even dare to think of because I start to get frightened the instant I do.

I don't know how to overcome this but hopefully someone else here does?

#368331 - 09/05/01 08:17 AM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 207
Mike Pappadakis Offline
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Mike Pappadakis  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 207
Doylestown, PA
I believe this is fairly common malady with most students. I think this is a result of several factors:

1. As students, we want to show our teachers that we have diligently practiced the assigned piece. How do you feel when your teacher compliments you on your playing? We all want to please our teacher. We don't want to make any mistakes in front of the teacher. Most of us probably view our lesson as somewhat of a "test".

2. If your teacher is like mine, he sits beside me all during the lesson and watches my hand, wrist, and finger positions. He listens intently to my playing. This includes volume in left and right hands, pedaling, melody, dynamics, etc.

3. After playing the assignments, we know that the teacher will constructively criticize our playing. Criticism, now matter how constructive it may be, is a little hard to take, especially since we have practiced the assignment so throughly.

With all this, it's no wonder that we feel a little nervous when we play.

[ September 05, 2001: Message edited by: Mike Pappadakis ]

[ September 05, 2001: Message edited by: Mike Pappadakis ]

#368332 - 09/05/01 02:44 PM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,718
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline

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Victoria, BC

It seems to me that some communication between you and your teacher - besides a musical one - might help you in this situation.

Is your teacher a person to whom you can ask to take five minutes from your lesson and talk to about nerves in general and about this specific "nerves" problem in particular? Most teachers know that performance nerves are the musician's bane, but it may be easy for your teacher to forget that you are nervous in her presence because your playing for her is a type of performance. To show her that you are not just complaining to get out of something, why don't you suggest a compromise, such as (the only one that comes to mind at the moment) playing for her your technical work at a slightly slower pace so that you can relieve the tension that "up-to-tempo" creates?

Can you also explain to her the details of your technical work: how you practice, how much you practice and how your practicing sounds to you?

Finally, could you possibly make a tape of some of your better practice sessions to give some sort of proof - for lack of a better word - that there are times in your practice sessions when your technical work really is quite good?

I think it would be lesson time well spent in discussing with her how to deal with nerves, not only in real performance situations but also during your lessons.

Let us know how you make out.


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#368333 - 09/05/01 03:07 PM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 433
Amy Offline
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Amy  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 433
Upstate New York
I have occasionally felt nervous at a lesson but it is a rare thing. I am always nervous playing infront of an audience but I don't really think that you should be nervous at a lesson. Maybe i've just always related well with my teachers. My teacher now is very strict but she is also very nice. Next time you're at a lesson try to remember that you and your teacher are working together as a team to improve your playing.

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#368334 - 09/05/01 04:32 PM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 151
Beth Offline
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Beth  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 151
Atlanta Area
After 3 1/2 years with the same teacher, I can still get so nervous sometimes that my hands shake and sweat. She constantly chides me about my shoulders crawling up my neck... its all tension.

But, its better than it used to be. I think almost everyone suffers nerves to some extent, at lessons or recitals.....I am intimately acquainted with the fear. For me, the best answer I've found is remembering that it is the music I love, and that I want to share what I hear and feel. I don't want to play "just for me". I'm still scared and shaky and tense, but it gives me the motivation to keep trying anyway.

Keep trying.

#368335 - 09/05/01 05:15 PM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 643
ChemicalGrl Offline
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ChemicalGrl  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 643
Durham, North Carolina
What I've done to shed the nerves is thinking that it's only my piano teacher (we were pretty good friends as well) and that she won't bite. That put me at ease. The recording idea is a good one; I used to record myself to keep track of improvements and the like, and yes, the teacher did listen to the tapes from time to time and helped me critique them as well.

This kind of thinking helped me immensely later on as well (such as the prospect of giving a seminar in front of 300 people at an international conference!!!) to quench the butterflies fluttering in the stomach.

Lyn F.
#368336 - 09/05/01 09:16 PM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 38
Rachelle Offline
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Rachelle  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 38
I do encounter the same problem as all of you
and find iit surprise as I thought that I'm the only one having such problem.Initally, When I just started learning, I find myself tense up during the lesson. But now I find myself not as nervous , probably because I always remind myself that having nerves will make things worse. I need to keep telling myself that going for lesson is just like going for a movie,and keeping relax will allow myself to enjoy the lessons. Perhaps having a strict teacher can make you feel more tense, and I avoid finding one who is too strict and can't accept students making mistakes.If a teacher can accept the fact that there are slips in your playing, and make constructive critisms , then there should be no reasons to feel nervous, unless she screams at you.Hope that this can help you to solve your problem too.

#368337 - 09/05/01 10:06 PM Re: Teacher nerves...  
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 902
PianoMuse Offline
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PianoMuse  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 902
Philly, PA
Even if you do sound shaky ( which i can GREATLy sympathize because i have a very strict teacher that i get nervous in front of), your teacher should be able to recognize that you have been practicing hard...that is a quality of the great teachers, to be able to listen through the nervousness. If your teacher is really saying that you have not practiced when you really have, that is a problem...

"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." ~Rachmaninoff

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