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I'm not a technically brilliant pianist. But I still hope it is possible to impress the audience. Any thoughts about this?

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It probably depends on the audience. smile But, at least in my view there are two ways to impress: one is to have excellent technique so that flamboyant passages can be produced. The other is to play the music such that the emotion evoked in the listener is pleasing. In my experience almost all professional pianists can do the former, but not all can do the latter - at least not consistently across different works.

I think the amateur who performs music chosen because s/he feels "in alignment" or "in harmony" with it, can impress audiences to a considerable degree - at least if these audiences are in it for the emotional content of the music.


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Originally Posted by Ganddalf
I'm not a technically brilliant pianist. But I still hope it is possible to impress the audience. Any thoughts about this?

It depends on your audience.

The hoi polloi who know little about classical music will only be impressed by flashing fingers and big sounds. Some may be more discerning, and also want beautiful sounds (where appropriate).

I've had lots of practice with performing for people who know nothing about classical music, as well as those who do. You have to show your range - fast as well as slow music, loud as well as soft music, and nice tunes and luscious harmonies don't hurt either wink . After a display of flashy stuff (even if not especially difficult), they're much more receptive to slower, 'deeper', more emotional pieces. They know you have 'it', and are interested to hear what you can bring to music which require other qualities. No concert pianist builds a whole program of pieces that sound very similar to each other in tempo, dynamics and mood.

Above all, don't bore your audience with a string of slow soft pieces of the same type.......


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The audience is important, for sure. But in the cases I have performed for live audiences, three has mainly been listeners with some musical knowledge. I have also heard from less qualified listeners that they are impressed if playing is fast and loud.

My own feeling about this is that the choice of repertoire is important. For an amateur like me it would be unwise to choose pieces with difficulty and brilliance close to my limit. That would leave very little energy to add expression and emotion to the music. I have spent sufficient time in the past trying to learn pieces that I hardly ever would be able to perform in a convincing way.

It is, however, a good point to avoid setting up a programme containing a long sequence with sweet and calm stuff. Fortunately I presently hardly ever make long performances on my own, but usually have the role of an accompanist. And it is not difficult to set up a Lieder recital with sufficient variation in character and with some dramaturgical development.

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Play LOUD!


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

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If we are referring to an audience of the 'average people' in the street then it's unlikely that they are going to be impressed by highly technical playing. Likely it will bore them senseless. They are much more impressed by something with a nice tune that they can hook onto quickly. Either that or play music that will be very familiar to them.

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A teacher recently told me you're not up there to impress, but to communicate and entertain. It's not about you, it's about the composer and your job of interpreting/presenting their music for the audience.

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Originally Posted by Ganddalf
For an amateur like me it would be unwise to choose pieces with difficulty and brilliance close to my limit. That would leave very little energy to add expression and emotion to the music.

When I first started playing regular (short) recitals from memory, I was still somewhat rusty from decades of disuse. But luckily, I had a stash of fairly easy but brilliant-sounding appealing short pieces that are based almost entirely on scales & arpeggios (which of course I had to play lots of, for my ABRSM exams) - and that was the reason why I didn't have to do much work to 'perfect' them, and that made it easy for me to give them my own expressive nuances.

Among them was Mozart's K545, Chopin's 'Minute' Waltz, and........this Norwegian salon piece, which was once all the rage among amateurs grin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_9vB5rwvBQ

Don't be put off by the key signature and the seemingly non-stop profusion of notes in both hands. And don't try to emulate the faster and more flashy performances by the likes of Josef Lhévinne and Walter Gieseking (have a listen to them on YT if you want to). Assuming you have decent scale & arpeggio technique, it lies easily under the hands.


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I have found that glissandos always impress the folks.

End whatever you play with a decent glissando and they love it.

The irony is that a glissando can be taught and played sufficiently well with only a few moments of practice by people who otherwise cannot play anything at all. laugh


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Originally Posted by rocket88
I have found that glissandos always impress the folks.

End whatever you play with a decent glissando and they love it.

The irony is that a glissando can be taught and played sufficiently well with only a few moments of practice by people who otherwise cannot play anything at all. laugh

LOL Fur Elise ending in a gliss! That's perfect!


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The only time I shave played with an audience all the listeners were far better players than me. I chose something well within my ability and did my best to interpret it with emotion.

I couldn’t impress but I hope that there was listening enjoyment.

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Originally Posted by EP
A teacher recently told me you're not up there to impress, but to communicate and entertain. It's not about you, it's about the composer and your job of interpreting/presenting their music for the audience.


Yes! If you play musically and look like you're enjoying the performance, you will undoubtedly impress your audience. Talking briefly about a piece you will be playing is helpful too in making a connection with the audience. Vary the styles of pieces you select and keep them on the shorter side if the audience is not musically sophisticated.



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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Originally Posted by EP
A teacher recently told me you're not up there to impress, but to communicate and entertain. It's not about you, it's about the composer and your job of interpreting/presenting their music for the audience.


Yes! If you play musically and look like you're enjoying the performance, you will undoubtedly impress your audience. Talking briefly about a piece you will be playing is helpful too in making a connection with the audience. Vary the styles of pieces you select and keep them on the shorter side if the audience is not musically sophisticated.

I totally agree. Speaking about your piece, if you have a chance, can help them understand it if they don't know anything about this style of music. But finding out what you love about it and sharing that in your playing is how you reach any audience.


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Originally Posted by Ganddalf
I'm not a technically brilliant pianist. But I still hope it is possible to impress the audience. Any thoughts about this?
If you give us an idea of your level by telling us some of your recent rep, I and some other posters may be able to suggest pieces that would impress your audience that are appropriate for you.

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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by rocket88
I have found that glissandos always impress the folks.

End whatever you play with a decent glissando and they love it.

The irony is that a glissando can be taught and played sufficiently well with only a few moments of practice by people who otherwise cannot play anything at all. laugh

LOL Fur Elise ending in a gliss! That's perfect!


That is hilarious!

Fur Elise is already ruined for me anyways, way too many horrible and endless bangings out by non-players at the store, but that image shifts it into another dimension entirely!.


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well. I played quite a lot publicly, usually in a band/club, but also some years of restaurant work in the days when quality was not always prolific. I learnt the following.
Pick your venue carefully. Are you the star turn? An also ran, or just background?
Background is always preferable to me if I'm solo.

If you've had plenty to drink, you think you sound better.
If the listeners have had plenty to drink, you might get asked back.
Make sure therefore that the clientele is well refreshed, pref. before you start!
Make sure you don't forget to get paid!

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On the Discord channel (Pinano server), I get a lot of amazed reactions when I play the 3rd movement of the Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven Op 27#2). I think most Beethoven pieces would sound impressive due to the loud chords and fast arpeggios.

Playing CPE Bach´s Solfeggietto at lightning fast speed could also sound impressive to a layperson listener.


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A lot of people learn the opening to Beethoven "Moonlight Sonata" and even the slow bits of the "Fur Elise". When you're not technically ready to play the faster pieces, pick a few slow piece that sound nice. Focus on making the music expressive instead. Even the middle movement of a concerto #21 "Elvira Madigan" is something to try.

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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
It probably depends on the audience. smile But, at least in my view there are two ways to impress: one is to have excellent technique so that flamboyant passages can be produced. The other is to play the music such that the emotion evoked in the listener is pleasing. In my experience almost all professional pianists can do the former, but not all can do the latter - at least not consistently across different works.

I think the amateur who performs music chosen because s/he feels "in alignment" or "in harmony" with it, can impress audiences to a considerable degree - at least if these audiences are in it for the emotional content of the music.

+1

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Perhaps I expressed myself badly speaking about «impressing the audience». What I`m actually thinking about is touching the audience emotionally with less emphasis on virtuosity.

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