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Topic: The Last Day Before a Performance  (Read 1658 times)

Offline abe

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The Last Day Before a Performance
on: May 15, 2006, 02:19:16 AM
I'm performing the first movement of Saint-Saens G-minor concerto with my high school orchestra on Thursday. I feel pretty well-prepared, and in any case, I won't be making any major changes to the piece this late.

So my question: How would you recommend I practice in these last three days before performance? I don't want to play straight through the piece too many times because I don't want it to become stale, but I also want to ensure that I am as fully prepared as I can be by Thursday night. I plan on continuing my slow, technical practice on isolated passages (the double note and arpeggio sections, for example), but perhaps there is something more I could do? Would running through the piece under-tempo and exaggerating all musical nuances and phrasing be helpful in attaining a broader conception of the piece (as opposed to just focusing on specific sections). Or perhaps I should go easy on the amount of practicing I do and just try to relax and be confident (this seems folly to me).

I appreciate any insight or advice.

--Abe
--Abe

Offline invictious

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 09:25:41 AM
Don't practice more than 15 minutes one week before the performance, I tried and I know it helps dramatically.

Trust me.
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Un Sospiro

Goal:
Prokofiev - Toccata

>LISTEN<

Offline el nino

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 09:38:59 AM
i agree.just practise difficult places slowly and go through a piece in a slow tempo or every hand separately.

Offline quantum

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #3 on: May 15, 2006, 09:49:47 AM
Run through the piece backwards in small sections.  This helps secure your memory because it will enable you to become familiar with what is ahead of something else.   In the event of a slip, it would be easy to recover at the start of the next section. 
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 kghayesh

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #4 on: May 15, 2006, 11:55:26 AM
I think what you do the last days before a performance doesn't matter as much as what you do the day of the performance..

If you practiced 4 hrs a day at full speed the day before the performance it won't matter much unlike, for example, if you didn't rehearse on the piano at the hall before the concert.

Just try to have some rest the day of the performance and eat well. I don't think it really matters what you do the last days before a performance. Trust me. I am telling this based on my experience

Offline bennom

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 06:23:22 PM
You have to find your own way of dealing with "the last days before concert". Everyone has there own way. The main issue is to keep as calm as possible. If ten hours of practice every day makes you calm, or 15 minutes, that's really up to you.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 06:40:23 PM
maybe, from successful experiences, we tend to get into a pattern of what we individually do to make us less tense.  for me, (if i were doing this all the time) i would definately want to check out the piano i am performing on.  nothing can cause more stress than having a key stuck or something about the piano not right.  then, if it's a day or two ahead - you can get the tuner to fix/tune the piano just right.  (and keep it under lock and key).

i think it's a highly spiritual thing - to prepare and to meditate about one's program.  you put in all the practice, you go through your own 'ritual' of preparation (getting sleep, practice, eating what you like to eat beforehand, exercise, extreme quiet).  the only thing that helps me truly relax is prayer (like others have said).

and, even if you are not as prepared - i think if you focus on the audience rather than yoruself - at least they have a good time.  i think i focused too much on the music and myself (how good i would play) at my senior recital.  when i look back, i would have talked a little bit - and warmed up the audience to who i was and what i wanted to play (and a little bit about the music).  it's kind of a mental switch to talk and play, though, so i understand when people just want to play and not talk.  maybe acknowledging the responses you get from the audience? 

**in terms of preparation - perhaps being prepared for all types of audiences, too?  even ones that seem 'tight' at first?  i remember andre watts telling a joke at the beginning of one of his recitals and it loosened up the whole audience to really enjoy and not be 'looking for mistakes' in his program.  he doesn't make that many anyway - but what i mean is that some recitals are so 'high pressure.'  and, they don't have to be.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 06:44:36 PM
that's exciting to be playing the g minor saint-saens piano concerto!  i hope you have a music minus-one tape or someone to practice with so you don't rely soley on the practice sessions with the orchestra alone.  concertos are different than a solo program and you have the liberty sometimes of making unnoticable minor mistakes without anyone noticing.  BUT, you don't want to embarrass your orchestra (though it's often the other way around) so i'd practice a lot!  maybe even go to sleep tonight and tommorrow night with a recording of it under your pillow and into your head.  subconcious can pick up on a lot.

Offline abe

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #8 on: May 16, 2006, 02:48:03 AM
Thanks, all, for the replies. I agree that remaining calm and relaxed is of supreme importance at this point.

Luckily, I have my brother here to play the orchestra part on our other piano, and it has also helped having performed this piece twice already in front of small audiences. I'm usually a nervous performer, but I'm at the point where I can now relax and focus on the music rather than my nerves.

It's likely my only chance to practice on the performance piano will be on the dress rehearsal this Wednesday, but hopefully adjusting to the instrument won't be a problem.

I'm getting excited. I know I can play the piece to my liking, and I have been relatively consistent. Plus, I'm performing in good company (also an excellent violinist playing Wieniawski, flutist playing Chaminade, Oboeist playing Mozart, a solo pianist playing Liszt). At this point I just don't want to let anybody down, becuase it really is my privilege to have the chance to perform with my orchestra (albeit a high school one).

--Abe
--Abe

Offline pianistimo

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #9 on: May 16, 2006, 12:08:22 PM
hope everything goes well for your dress rehearsal.  do your parents have a video camera?  you can sort of improve yourself from the dress rehearsal, even, with a little video and refine your 'look.'  how you walk out, how you present yourself, and things that you notice about how they take the music, what the conductor says, timing, etc. 

something that your family may already be aware of , but maybe something to remind them of is to be extra quiet on thursday.  it would be very distracting for me to try to carry on small talk or be asked too many questions instead of focus ont he music before or in-transit. 

be ready for unexpected questions about saint-saens concerto from the audience afterwards when they come to congratulate you.  'when was that written?'  'how do you pronounce his name?'  things  like that.  it's funny - but sometimes you think you know a piece and then someone asks a quesiton about it and you have to think.  the bolder the better.  when you walk to the piano, make it like you are walking to the bathroom when you gotta go.  not a promenade looking at the audience.  (sorry to be so silly this morning) - but seriously, people take note of you the moment you walk in - so you have to be purposeful.  you sound like you already are. 

something that works for guys as well as girls are square-toed shoes, too.  (and make them shiny).   they cover the pedal well and make your pedalling less of a nuisance.  remember not to lift your foot completely - but just find that 'pedal-point' and practice 'hovering' around that point.  extraneous noises take away from the sound.  oh, and don't forget that ever famous handkerchief.  you can't be a 'case study' unless you can pull it discretely from your sleeve and wipe your forehead in between the last moment you played and the cadenza.  it just gives a good effect.  (and, if you want to be really magical about things...put a drop of water on your head and keep your head level until you get tot he cadenza.  while you play the cadenza, let the drop roll down your nose and make people think you are working terribly hard).   it's all in the show, ok.  well, mostly the music - but some of the show. 

Offline elevateme

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #10 on: May 16, 2006, 04:00:09 PM
wow youve probably performed it by now anyway. when you have tell us how it went.
(\_/)
(O.o)
(> <)

Offline abe

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Re: The Last Days Before a Performance
Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 04:31:31 AM
The dress rehearsal was today, and I think it went reasonably well. I'm playing on an old Bechstein that is in tune, but has a rather harsh tone, relatively light/loose action, and is very loud. This is slightly problematic in playing the more sensitive parts of the peice, although the action allows me to play my arpeggios with ease and fluidity, which is good. This is definitely an instrument I should relax on rather than pound. The only real trouble spot for me was at the end of the first movement, coordinating my ascending arpeggios with the orchestra entrance (and it doesn't help that I'm not playing them cleanly).  Any tips on how to improve arpeggios in less than a day?

Well, tommorow is it. I'm not nervous at this point, though anything could happen once I get on stage. I guess tommorow I will go through the peice very slowly beforehand, but nothing too extensive in terms of practicing.

Sorry for the rambling. I'll give a report on the concert later, if anyone wants.

--Abe
--Abe

Offline RealPianist

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Re: The Last Day Before a Performance
Reply #12 on: May 18, 2006, 05:59:23 AM
hey have a nice performance tomorrow..
hope you can do your best.

about the arpeggios, do you mean the octave arpeggio at the end? if yes, just try it slowly again today, very slow, and drop your wrist. then play it fast again once or twice before the performance (tomorrow).

let us know how it goes  :D
 

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