Piano Forum

Topic: Afraid of the Recital  (Read 1777 times)

Offline kghayesh

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 489
Afraid of the Recital
on: June 19, 2005, 11:28:58 PM
I am having my first recital next week. I am so excited and looking forward to it but yet i am a bit anxious and concerned about this day. Everytime i think about how i am gonna be all alone facing the audience, i feel a shake of fear flowing through my body. I dunno but maybe coz this is my first experience.

Actually, I am afraid of stumbles and missing and wrong notes. Although i play the pieces i am gonna play pretty well and have played them before many times in the lesson and at home crystal clear and perfect, sometimes i have a bad day and have some wrong notes here and there and a couple of blackouts in one or two pieces.

In fact, today was one of these bad days at the lesson, in every piece i played there were mistakes and i don't know why keeping in mind that i have just played them yesterday perfect. These things make me so much doubtful of myself having a successful debut recital.

I have memorized all the pieces so well and have played them zillions of times but everytime i have fear of stumbling or having wrong notes or stuff like that and i really don't want this to happen next week.

Advice please...............

Offline xvimbi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2439
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #1 on: June 19, 2005, 11:41:00 PM
Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, imagine yourself giving a perfect performance. You have done it before. You described how it feels when you think about potential mistakes. How does it make you feel when you think about a perfect performance? This is the feeling you should have going into the recital. You see, it's mostly in the attitude. You can play the pieces perfectly, so you have done your homework. And even if you do make some mistakes, nobody will care. I have personally not heard a performance without any mistakes, not even from the highest caliber pianists. And that is absolutely OK, because it is not so much about hitting the right notes; it's about making music. Go out there and have fun!

Offline mound

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 554
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #2 on: June 20, 2005, 12:16:53 AM
xvinbi makes good points. Take that nervous energy and use it to your advantage. "Practice" bringing on that nervous energy, through visualization of the performance, actually pretend and visualize yourself getting up, bowing, saying whatever you are going to say. Sit down and almost will your hands and fingers to experience that shaking experience that we all dread so much. It's pretty easy to "bring this feeling on", as you are now finding, it's even happening w/o trying. So take this, and practice your performance at home, nervous shaking hands and all. Practice positive affirmations and good breathing, and take this nervous energy, tell yourself "hey self, stop this shaking and nerves, and give these people a performance they'll love!" and then do it.  Practice this a few times this way. This isn't about practicing your pieces right now, it's about practicing your reaction to an inevitable situation, and developing your ability to control it at will. Then when the time comes, you'll start feeling nervous and get that shakey feeling, but just as you've prepared your pieces, you've prepared your reaction to this feeling, and you will succeeed in the actual performance.

I've found this to work quite well for me. I get terrible nerves, but just the other night I gave what I considered to be a great performance, and I know a part of that is because of my having practiced "my reaction" as I just described.  And it was great in spite of some flubs which I'm quite sure wouldn't happen in a non-performance situation. Those flubs are inconsequential. Recover from them as gracefully as you can, and continue with a great performance. If you approach it like this with an honest intent to deliver a musical experience (as opposed to a 100% flawless execution technically)  - the audience will perceive this, and you will have suceeded.

Finally - as per actual technical execution, the way I finally made it so I could perform Bach's Sinfonia IX w/o fear of mental errors (this 3 voice piece wasn't easy for me to memorize) - I started at the last measure of the piece, picked up on the down-beat and played to the end. Then I did that at the 2nd to last measure and through to the end. I repeated this until I had started at the beginning of each measure, and practiced an increasingly larger amount of the piece until I was at the beginning. As you play through, you keep saying to yourself "oh yeah, I remember picking up from this spot, and that spot, and this spot too." Having done that, you experience much less anxiety knowning that if you stumble, you can gracefully pick right back up.. Just food for thought
-paul

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6054
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #3 on: June 20, 2005, 12:40:36 AM
Some excellent advise here.  I constantly use a similar method that Moud does of "practicing backwards" from last bar to first.  It helps you focus on what comes next, rather than what just happend.  In the even of a slip, you will be easily able to get back on your feet. 

Don't worry about how many mistakes you will make.  There is no such thing as a perfect performance.  What you DO need to concentrate on is making good music.  The audience will very quickly pick up on a musical performance. 

Please remember the audience is not sitting there waiting for you to make your next mistake.  They go to a recital because they want to hear good music.  Use their energy to boost your performance. 

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16303
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #4 on: June 20, 2005, 05:59:19 PM
Your recital will go by how you practice, as long as nerves don't become too much.   If you make mistakes in practice, you make mistakes in performance.  If you play perfectly in practice, but crash during performance, then it's something about the performance situation that affects you.

If there are weak areas in the piece, these may come out during performance.  You can go back and strengthen your concept of those ideas. 

You could also create memory points throughout the piece in case of crashing.  Even if you never use them, it's nice to have that insurance.  And sometimes, just knowing you can start anywhere helps relieve nerves.

Practice performing to make the recital less of a big deal.  If you've played it in front of a few audiences before the actual recital, then the actual recital won't be that big of a deal -- You've done it a few times before.

Don't do anything unusual or excessive that will affect your playing.  If you do something that pushes your abilities, your body will be different the next day.  Relax, take it easy, and create a reservoir of strength and energy before the recital.

Don't focus on perfection.  The best you can hope for is to play as good (or maybe slightly better) than you've practiced.    Just do the best you can.  If you haven't practiced perfection, it won't be there during the recital, so don't worry about it.  If there is anything that concerns you now for this recital, do you best to fix them this week.  Just do you best.  That's all you can ask of yourself.  Take note of things you can improve on for your next recital.

Don't worry about the audience.  They won't do anything except listen during the performance.  Some will love your playing, some will not, regardless of how well or bad things go.  Why worry about that?

Be sure to practice in the space where you will perform.  Try to get everything exactly the same as it will be on the performance -- lighting, same time of day, all that.  When your sitting at the piano with the lights up, sometimes it's possible to convince yourself that there really is an audience out there, or even that it IS the performance itself.

If it's possible do everything EXACTLY the same as the performance, even the preparation stuff you would do that day before the performance.  These little rituals can make you more comfortable the day of. 

Watch out for things that do change the day of the performance, like clothing.  I remember performances where I wore clothing I don't usually wear except for performances.  The clothing fit differently and actually pulled my arms a little differently which was a little distracting for performing.  If you're wearing a suit or tux (and tails?) try practicing with the jacket on.  Shoes slipping off the pedals can be another little distraction.  These are little things that only happen for the performance that can take your attention up during the performance.


Good luck!  :)   Let us know how it goes.



Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Jacey1973

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 598
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #5 on: June 20, 2005, 08:45:21 PM
I know exactly how you feel i had a recital last week and the days running up to it i felt exactly as what you have described.

With the memory thing, i found it so important to run through my pieces in front of a small audience (friends/teacher/parents etc) at least twice before. Just to prove to yourself that you can do it without any memory slips.

During my recital last week i concentrated 100% on the music when playing, i.e singing the melody in your head whilst you play. Because i find if i don't this my mind wanders off and i start thinking things like...."hmmm who's in the audience?...God i hope my skirt isn't tucked in my knickers...Oh my God what am i doing?..."etc etc and these thoughts can be so destructive, as with me if i have one memory slip i lose my confidence and others follow. Of course you must train yourself to think positively all the time, so you can pick up from any mistakes and continue perfectly. But again this comes from experience of performing.

Above all (it sounds impossible) but enjoy it. Once your first piece is over, just breathe a sigh of relief and relax a little (you should be feeling a little calmer by then) and start the 2nd positively. Once i started relaxing in my recital last week i was able to think..."how can i make every phrase and note interesting to the audience?" and really communicate with them, as at the end of the day you're providing the entertainment. If you look like you're enjoying yourself the audeince will relax and will therefore love you more as a performer!

Good luck xxx (and just think of the buzz you will get after you finish playing, i always look forward to that!)
"Mozart makes you believe in God - it cannot be by chance that such a phenomenon arrives into this world and then passes after 36 yrs, leaving behind such an unbounded no. of unparalled masterpieces"

Offline c18cont

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 463
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #6 on: June 21, 2005, 02:05:58 PM
To me the best comments were from Xvimbi..

No one will really care about mistakes..for example...(as long as you don't leave the stage in fear...) and you are after all, prepared...be confident!!

People are forgiving and I have heard it said in my earlier days...only the judges remember your mistakes...

John Cont

Offline anda

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 943
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #7 on: June 21, 2005, 03:28:12 PM

People are forgiving

absolutely, as long as you play from all your heart, they will forgive you any mistakes.

best luck

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #8 on: June 22, 2005, 03:22:01 PM
Excellent replies, all.  I particularly agree with practicing from the end and practicing while feeling nervous.  By the way, have you noticed that no one has replied, "Scared?  Why should you be scared?"  Everyone knows that performing can be VERY scary, and I hope you take comfort in the fact that so many people know exactly how you feel.  Just two days ago, I was about to perform with a friend-- we've both done zillions of concerts, and this event was very small and fairly casual-- and we were fantasizing about running away to Mexico just two minutes before our set, if that makes you feel any better.  It went fine, by the way, but that's never the point two minutes beforehand. 

One of the best pianists I know says two things about performing that I think about a lot.  One is that it's never too late for slow practice.  The other is that you can't play a piece exactly the same way twice, so when you perform, you have to decide (or aspire) to play it a little better for a concert.  I was shocked when he said this to me, but having done it for several years now, I see the truth of it.  I didn't think it was advisable, or even possible, to make any changes for a performance, but if you have some tiny (tiny) thing to try to do, it forces you to focus more on the music.  It gives you a very specific goal (other than trying not to throw up... see, we really do understand!).  If you don't end up doing the new tiny thing, it doesn't matter, and if you do, you'll feel like a million bucks and gain a new confidence.  But if that idea seems terrifying, forget about it for now, because the biggest thing is really that every time you play music, you're giving a gift to the world, and whatever you do for your audience, you have to do it with a big heart.  I'm sure you will be wonderful!  It's scary, but it's fun, too.  Like a rollercoaster!  Very best of luck in your concert-- congratulations for taking it on.

       

Offline llamaman

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #9 on: June 22, 2005, 03:28:25 PM
I had my first recital a little while ago, the piano was not facing the audience though, it was at a 90o angle. I didn't look at the audience, which helped. I looked at my hands, and my own reflection in the piano.
Ahh llamas......is there anything they can't do?

(\_/)
(O.o)
(> <)

Offline kghayesh

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 489
Re: Afraid of the Recital
Reply #10 on: June 27, 2005, 09:16:54 PM
My recital was yesterday and my god, i was so nervous right before it although i always kept thinking of the advice you told me about thinking about giving a fabulous performane.
A couple of minutes before entrance i was so scared but the moment i was going in, i don't know how, but i felt as if the hall was empty and i was full of confidence  :)
I was so concerned with this recital and even with all its details. For example, i wanted to make a good-looking printed programme to be handed to audience while coming so i spent a lot of time preparing it and seeked advice of some experts with those stuff. And all that made most people keep the programme after the recital and not throw it away.

I was mostly concerned with my playing and especially in parts that had fast runs and were error prone. Although i had some slight mistakes (missing notes) that were not that noticeable to audience, I was told that i did a great job and that people were amazed at how i was in control of the piano in terms of feelings and expression  8). I made a lot of buzz after the show so that i came in and out after i finished.

Although it was not that performance i was looking forward to, it was indeed a wonderful experience that will boost my confidence in case of other similar events. And what was most important was that people loved the music.

I wanna thank all of u guys here for this wonderful advice u gave me and i must say that it really helped...

Khaled
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert