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Topic: Performance Jitters and Memorization  (Read 4114 times)

Offline chsmike2345

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Performance Jitters and Memorization
on: August 17, 2003, 08:00:13 PM
Hey guys, I have a problem. When I perform, even in a lesson for my teacher, my playing is always below my expectations and my best. Just recently, I have began to feel the emotions of pieces for a concert, but halfway through the Schuman Piano Concerto No. 1 I seemed to have a memory lapse. Any suggestions? It seems I get so caught up in the emotional side of the piece that if I suddenly open my eyes and realize where I am and start thinking about what the next note is, I will almost certainly mess up. Help!!!
Thanks, Michael Yu

Offline allchopin

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #1 on: August 17, 2003, 09:12:09 PM
practice
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

NetherMagic

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #2 on: August 17, 2003, 11:05:36 PM
michael do you practice with your eyes closed at home?  If you do, open them when you practice and iunno just in general try to vary your practicing methods a bit and try to visualize yourself while you're performing and take deep breaths every now and then

and if that doesn't work, create "safety spots" for yourself, like different areas of the piece that you are sure to never forget and can use as places to pick up from in case you forget

and pin down your areas where you're having problems and practice!

Offline chsmike2345

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #3 on: August 18, 2003, 12:43:18 AM
Thanks for the help all.  Another problem: when I play, I seem to be having trouble concentrating and just thinking about random things like ooohhhh i can see my reflection and stupid things like that. Help?

Offline allchopin

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #4 on: August 18, 2003, 03:50:10 AM
get professional help

:)
No, just play it so many times that you CAN play the piece while daydreaming, sleeping, etc...
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #5 on: August 18, 2003, 08:40:02 AM
There are four ways to practise:

With the score at the keyboard
Without the score at the keyboard
With the score without the keyboard
Without the score without the keyboard

If you use all these methods then you are sure to be much more confident about the work!
Ed

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #6 on: August 19, 2003, 06:33:26 AM
Maybe you haven't clear the musical structure and the "harmonic path" of the concerto. Play the left hand separately: the left hand is the conductor. And one thing: the way you play in front of your teacher or the public is the "real" level the piece is in. When you  play in front of anyone as you do at home, the piece is ready. It's just not ready yet. As allchopin wrote: practice...
"Soli Deo Gloria".
     J.S. Bach

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #7 on: August 19, 2003, 03:02:37 PM
The best way I have found for concentrating is to do mental practice without score or keyboard. Sit at your table and think in your head the what the score looks like as well as what your fingers look like playing the score. You do this while playing the piece on the edge of the table. It may give you a headache at first, but you soon get use to the intense concentration and become quite better at it.

boliver

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #8 on: August 20, 2003, 04:03:03 AM
As long as we are on this topic.  When I perform anywhere (my teacher, mostly), I get nervous, like anybody.  But I also start to rush the tempo.  OK.  Now I have a piece I normally play at 80 that's all of a sudden up to 84 or 88.  Now I know I am toast. Are there tricks to reigning in the tempo or even slowing it back down without it being  so blatantly obvious?
So much music, so little time........

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #9 on: August 20, 2003, 06:28:21 PM
Metronome work always helps me. You ingrain it in your head so much as to the tempo that you couldn't speed up here or slow down here. This should help when you get to performance time.

boliver

Offline glamfolk

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #10 on: August 21, 2003, 12:45:13 AM
One thing that helps me get a piece's harmonic and rhythmic structure clear in my mind is to score it by hand myself, jazz-style on a piece of manuscript paper.  Just put in the chords on the paper and maybe add a few notes of melody for "safety spots." Do this without the original score, if possible, and the parts of the song that need the most work will jump out at you.  Once you've done this, you've got a sort of basic cheat sheet that's easy to see in your mind.  Also, you can sometimes fake your way through a piece if you need to play it for an undiscerning audience before it's completely ready.  Cheating? Sure, but it works, and it gets gigs.

NetherMagic

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #11 on: August 21, 2003, 01:22:17 AM
If you want to control your tempo, especially the fast parts, learn to breathe, it helps, at least with me.  Everytime before you go on a fast part, take a deep breath.  However, alotta times this will actually make you screw up since you are not used to focusing on your breathing when you play, so to prevent that from happening, you gotta breathe and play like you were performing in front of a crowd, so when you are actually performing you can get the necessary energy from the large inhale of breath without screwing up.

Offline steinway23

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #12 on: September 04, 2003, 06:08:36 PM
i have that problem too..... and its a major hindrance and distraction for me as well every time i perform to a point where i doubt it im made out for the piano.....

today i had my exam and i was determine not to let performance jitters bothered me anymore....

i realise that these are the things that will help...

your initial phase of practise is always mechanical.... from snail slow to 2 or 3 notches above the performance tempo... just get done with the mechanics and be faithful to it....

now to the real battle.... i took a stroll along the streets today just about an hour before i reach the exam hall... the whole time im pondering on how i came in touch with piano and how it became my love and that i will never leave without it... this really formed a conviction in my heart with my love for piano.... i prayed to God after that and i asked Him to assure that hope and love He has planted within me. There is no doubt that i love the piano and im gonna let the examiner know it.... whether i flop or not....

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #13 on: September 04, 2003, 06:42:49 PM
With all due respect, I don't think praying to God helps anyone,
Ed

Offline jakester

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #14 on: September 04, 2003, 06:52:13 PM
quoted from a friend:

"The best way to memorize and defeat performance jitters, is to make sure you've memorized the piece completely. The most difficult works to memorize are undoubtedly the fugues of Bach, and as such makes the best works at practicing memorization. Make sure you've memorized the work in many different ways (endquote" I've inserted some ideas below "quote) and have confidence in yourself. If you KNOW that you've memorized it, and you're confident that you can get through the piece without major problems in memorization, then you stand a much better chance of actually getting through the work. Even if you've memorized it well, as long as you're not confident you can do it, then you WILL have problems."

Some ideas as to ways of memorization:

memorizing the melodic lines (something that everyone probably already does).
memorizing the bassline (something that NOT everyone does).
memorizing the harmony (related to bassline, but subtly different).
memorizing the innervoices (especially in something like a bach fugue).
memorizing the counterpoint between the outer voices (related to the first 3, and again subtly different).
memorizing the structure of a piece (In a sonata form, that would be the different key areas, the transition areas, etc. In a fugue, that would be the different entraces of subjects etc., sequences, how long they go on, how do they get off, etc.)

This is not an exercise in time-wasting or futility. It actually works, but it is very time-consuming.

Jakester
The world without a pianist. That would be paradise. The world without a piano. That would be hell.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #15 on: September 04, 2003, 10:44:14 PM
I disagree with you Ed. Prayer does miracles. Give your life to God, put your trust in Him and just see how your piano career will sky-rocket.

boliver

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #16 on: September 05, 2003, 12:19:43 AM
Unfortunately Boliver, those kinds of comments immediately make me retract any respect I may have for your opinions,
Ed

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #17 on: September 05, 2003, 02:02:00 AM
You have said many comments also that also retract respect from me about yourself, therefore we are even.

boliver

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #18 on: September 05, 2003, 02:03:43 AM
Here's another thing. Remember my name and remember it well. You will see it one day and you will know that God has worked in my life in a miraculous way and that you missed out because of a lack of faith.

My full name is Boliver Earl Allmon III

Offline chsmike2345

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #19 on: September 05, 2003, 02:17:24 AM
Hey you two - the religious jihad zealot and the devil worshipper
shut up and answer the question, or else fight in your own post! >:(

NetherMagic

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #20 on: September 05, 2003, 02:45:11 AM
haha chsmike good one

just do what makes you feel comfortable most.  If you find yourself gaining much more confidence after praying right before an exam, do it.  If you don't, then don't.  Just do what you gotta do to get that extra boost in your confidence

Offline ahmedito

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #21 on: September 05, 2003, 02:51:41 AM
Dominate the piece technically as close as 100% as you can get. play EVERY note, and be very concious of what you are doing... I believe a big part of performance jitters are due to a bit of guilt on our part, so make sure you havo nothing to feel guilty about when you play. PRACTICE like youve never practice before. I had this problem and I still do, but slowly Ive come to grips with it.

In a theater production, the stagehands dont get nervous about going in front of all the people. They know exactly what to do, pick up the stuff and put new stuff in. You will not be nervous if you are very clear on what you are going to do. That is why practicing without the score and keyboard (though very tedious) is very useful.

In my case, I pray to God.
One more thing, remember: your music is a gift to your audience and listeners, it is something you do to exalt the best parts of human nature and to glorify God, in my case. When playing, enjoy it... it actually takes a truly disasterous concert to show you that when everything goes wrong, it really isnt that bad.

I played in a competition in Costa Rica and I won. Part of the prize was playing in the national auditorioum, which seats a LOT of people. I remember the disaster, I played a Debussy etude and I dont remember hitting a single right note in the first 30 seconds of music. I was about to freeze, when I suddenly made a mistake so blatantly ridiculous that I just laughed out loud and continued playing. It was the best performance I can remember ever having played. Have fun! thats why we play.
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #22 on: September 05, 2003, 05:48:40 AM
geez, I am not a jihad zealot. I do not want to kill all Christians in the name of alla and start some holy war.

boliver

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #23 on: September 06, 2003, 01:19:06 AM
It depresses me that a supposedly knowledgeable forum has descended into a downward spiral of spiritual insecurity taking place of physical and emotional exertion,
Ed

Offline jakester

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #24 on: September 06, 2003, 01:33:29 AM
Let's not debate anymore about gods and whether they exist. Anyone can believe what they want in terms of theology and leave it at that. It doesn't depress me that this is discussed here at all, but the fact that it depresses someone else, probably means that this subject should go to a different forum.

Ed, on a side note, please don't forget that theology and music were at one time intricately tied together. There was in fact a study done about Bach's music, and it was the author's conclusion that everything, every gesture, selection of key, harmonic progression throughout a piece or movement, had to do with god or religion. Even when the piece was obviously written for a king (for example the musical offering) there were subtle suggestions of "you might be king, but you still aren't as great a god" in the music.

Jakester
The world without a pianist. That would be paradise. The world without a piano. That would be hell.

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #25 on: September 06, 2003, 02:02:47 AM
Is it not also important to remember that Bach was writing in the early 1700s, not at a time such as now where the Bible and god's existent has been virtually disproved?
Ed

Offline jakester

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #26 on: September 06, 2003, 02:13:05 AM
Quote
Is it not also important to remember that Bach was writing in the early 1700s, not at a time such as now where the Bible and god's existent has been virtually disproved?
Ed

Ed,
No doubt - I was just pointing out that there was this tie.

God's existence has not been virtually disproved - in fact, the whole nature of "godness" makes it unprovable either way. The bible and other religious issues, well, let's just say that people make other people believe what they want them to. :)

jakester
The world without a pianist. That would be paradise. The world without a piano. That would be hell.

Offline tosca1

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #27 on: September 06, 2003, 02:20:34 AM
Performance jitters and memorization are indeed a vexing problem.  In performance the fear factor is heightened by the anxiety of a possible memory lapse.  I believe that we must be realistic and despite the countless approaches in preparing  your work for a memory performances, for some of us, nerves will always be inhibiting both musically and technically.   Indeed extreme anxiety causes certain cerebral functions to shut down and we can literally be paralysed by fear.
Part of the answer lies in dealing with the fear and through regular and positive performing experience that terrible self-consciousness and panic when stepping on to the platform  can be reduced and the performer can focus on the music and that wonderful sense of communication with the audience.
Some people are natural solo performers and those of us who are not must think out of the square and be aware of the many other rewarding and beautiful aspects of music making.

Robert.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #28 on: September 06, 2003, 07:42:20 AM
also the more you perform the less you are nervous. and I mean performing more than every couple of months. Do it on a constant basis, whether at a forum, recital, or just in front of a bunch of friends.

boliver

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #29 on: September 06, 2003, 05:15:23 PM
God's existence has been disproved. Ask any physicist,
Ed

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #30 on: September 06, 2003, 06:05:41 PM
Not true, some physicist believe they disprove God's existence, but many other believe that the probability of all this happening by chance is so great, that to say that some supernatural being didn't have a hand in the creation of all that is, is simply ridiculous.

boliver

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #31 on: September 07, 2003, 02:33:14 AM
Quote
many other believe that the probability of all this happening by chance is so great, that to say that some supernatural being didn't have a hand in the creation of all that is, is simply ridiculous.
boliver


I think you mean that the probablity is so slight rather than great. Additionally I think the idea of some god sitting in a heaven is just a tad more ridiculous, don't you?
Ed

NetherMagic

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #32 on: September 07, 2003, 05:53:28 AM
okay looks like we've got someone who believes in God and someone who doesn't here.

Before you guys start shouting out stuff at each other and turning this thread into a religious boxing match, I think I gotta sign up for the referee position, looks exciting =]

Okay haha nvm about that but seriously I think you 2 should just lay off this religious topic.  Personally, I don't believe in God, cuz I belong to another religion, and before I trail off and try to convert you guys which I'm not good at, lemme just make that point that there have been tons and tons of scientific papers disproving God (just take Philosophy in university) and on the other side there are churches and grand works (like the Bible) stating God exists.  And why argue about something we can never find out in our lifetime?  Perhaps that shot of light you saw last day in the backyard was just another hole in the o-zone layer, or that rush of hope was just you making yourself feel good by believing in an outside source that is giving you help; but no matter what, I think that arguing about religious things (mind that arguing and discussing are different) should be stopped before we all suggest a Humor section in this forum and move this post over there ;D

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #33 on: September 07, 2003, 01:37:31 PM
Fair enough,
Ed

Offline TwinkleFingers

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Re: Performance Jitters and Memorization
Reply #34 on: September 10, 2003, 08:42:49 PM
the thing I dont get is why ed is so defensive about there not being a God.  Every time someone mentions the name,God, Ed has to say that he doesnt believe in Him. Do I say I dont believe in atheism?  And that stuff about physisists, where do you think even the tiniest nucleus or most basic particle ever came from.(mind you im not a scientist or even close to being one)  everything has an origin(except God that is)  he always was (either side cant really discuss how)

And now here we are, although a good subject to talk about, a complete 180 degrees the topic:)
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
 

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