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Topic: Performance - Nervousness  (Read 1144 times)

Offline kaiwin

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Performance - Nervousness
on: July 09, 2005, 04:25:06 AM
Any tips on preventing nervousness when a BIG performance is coming up?


ex. What should I think?

Offline thalberg

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Re: Performance - Nervousness
Reply #1 on: July 09, 2005, 02:45:28 PM
What should you think BEFORE the performance?

Well, I've done a fair amount of performing, and I've learned it's best to MAKE yourself look forward to the performance.  Realize that you totally love this music, that you get to share something wonderful with lots of people, and that you get to play an awesome piano in an awesome hall.  What could be better?  This is GREAT!  It's why I practice, it's what I'm working for, it's what I want.  I refuse to dread it, I insist that it's a wonderful privelege.

I've learned that we unfortunately let ourselves dread a performance--all those people, the possibility  of mistakes, oh this is awful torture, why do I do this to myself.  Don't have that attitude.  You're working hard toward this performance because you want to--choose actively to enjoy it.  At first, you'll have to fight with yourself, but then it will start coming naturally.  Where mistakes are concerned, just accept ahead of time that you're going to make them, everyone does, even pros.   Refuse to let that dampen your spirits--pianists like Rubinstein made glorious careers and had tons of mistakes.  Don't focus on that, and don't worry about it.  You know, people go to hear music.  They don't go to see if you're perfect or not.


During the performance, it's a whole other strategy.  You know how it's possible to talk to yourself in your head in a subvocalized manner like when you're reading?  NEVER do that in a performance.  Your brain can't handle that and playing at the same time--your playing will suffer.  Don't criticize yourself, don't even encourage yourself.  No internal words at all!!!! 
Focus intently on the sound of the music--picture in your mind the sound you want as you're playing.  Fill your mind with the sound.  The sound should push out all words and all personal feelings of fear and anxiety.  The sound should displace everything and fill your ears.  You have to choose to make this happen--it won't on its own.  But like before, it will become natural as you do it. When you do this, it will displace all else and you'll play much better and more reliably, and you'll enjoy the performance more.

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Performance - Nervousness
Reply #2 on: July 09, 2005, 03:24:10 PM
Any tips on preventing nervousness when a BIG performance is coming up?


ex. What should I think?

I've had nerves for the longest time.

The reason was that I wouldn't accept not being perfect.  I would look at mistakes SO negatively, and the performance in general.

You won't get over these nerves unless you look at the performance as fun, expression, and without pressure.

Who cares if you screw up, you will have many more chances.

I tried this, and I nailed the Mendlessohn d minor trio for the Wesleyan audience and got a standing ovation.

This was done in a week, and the first time I performed it that week I did terribly because of my attitude.


Have fun, get into the music.  When you get up to that bench, close your eyes, take a breather (as long as you want), and think about the music and venting emotions, having a good time.


Also, eat a banana an hour before you perform on stage..... i forgot the scientific explanation, but they help nerves BIGTIME.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Performance - Nervousness
Reply #3 on: July 09, 2005, 06:48:44 PM
The great pianist Henselt suffered more from nerves than most pianists. He was is the habit of chain-smoking cigars backstage to help himself.

On one big occasion when he was going to play in front of the Czar, he forgot he had a cigar in his mouth and played the first part of the concert in a cloud of smoke.

Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society
 

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