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Last December, in preparation for the Scriabin 150th anniversary (2022), the new complete edition of Alexander Scriabin’s works was published, in twelve volumes. Eric Schoones spoke to the pianist and musicologist Pavel Shatskiy, who was responsible for publishing the piano works. They talked about the composer and pianist Scriabin, his piano, the influence of Chopin and the A.N. Scriabin Memorial Museum in Moscow. Read more >>

Topic: Provincial/National Competitions  (Read 2717 times)


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Provincial/National Competitions
on: September 05, 2002, 07:01:52 AM
Hello everyone!

This is my first time writing to this forum and hopefully not my last!  :D  Wow what a resource!  Anyways...To introduce myself: I am a seventeen year old guy living in Canada who is preparing for a national competition next year.  I am in the midst of preparing a broad program from Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms (perhaps).  My main focus, however, is two larger scale works which I will play at the provincial and national levels.  I have chosen the Gaspard de la nuit (complete) by Maurice Ravel and the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto 1st mvt.  My question is not about technique-any commments would be appreciated anyway-rather about performance stress.  How do I get that music out- that is literally screaming to get out- when my nerves have turned me shaking?  It just doesn't get any better!  I have done lots of public performance and have even done my concert debut.  I think the thought of playing infront of judges and the stress of competing against others gets to me -every time I shake somewhat...Anybody got any clues to make those nerves calm down to at least an extent I can channel them properly and not be shaking (or worse yet have icy -cold hands) before and during performance?  

Offline Diabolos

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Re: Provincial/National Competitions
Reply #1 on: September 06, 2002, 12:33:55 AM
Hm - why do these problems sound so familiar?  ;)
First of all, I hope that a lot of people are going to post to this topic since it is a problem all of us are confronted with, no matter if we want it or not.

I personally tend to get icy fingers and speed up when I'm excited, but I suppose that the first thing to do is to realize that it's not about impressing judges, but about convincing them that you're a ambitious musician, and a lil excitement isn't wrong as far that that thought goes..
However, what to do when it gets disturbing and influences your performance in a negative way?

I use to do some physical relaxion exercises (my prof used to have everybody do them before performing), it's mostly about stimulating certain points of your body (it's all about the Chi, I suppose).
I also, shortly before beginning, remember not only that I'm well prepared, but that nothing bad can happen besides not getting into the next round. Ok, this is the most obvious thought, but really hard to realize coz your ego is usually blocking it. You also should have a glance at the jury, maybe an eyecontact, it mostly makes you feel the sympathy these people have for musicians, although they have to be strict..take a breath, just before a normal concert; it's basically the same as an examination at university (you'll get to that), and it's all about having fun and not getting stressed..sounds easy, but is actually hard.

I don't know if that helps you at all, but that's at least the way I cope with that kind of stress..


Offline Mandy

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Re: Provincial/National Competitions
Reply #2 on: September 09, 2002, 05:08:17 AM
Yay, a fellow Canadian!!!   ;D  What province do you live in, and where and when is the competition?  

I just recently moved to the US to do a Masters degree, am missing Canada very much, and I understand your feelings about performing.  The best thing that I did was constanly play for other people.  When I was practicing, especially for my undergrad. recitals, I would haul anyone and everyone into the practice room to listen to me.  Right from day one, even when I was sightreading---I had some very patient friends!  Then, as I got closer to recitals, I would get even more people to listen.  It got so that I was completely comfortable with them, and it didn't stress me out at all.  I applied that exact same feeling to when I got on stage.......I would convince myself that I was just playing for those 10 people.  

When I was doing my auditions for grad schools, I found I was quite nervous a couple of days before, and then once I actually got to the auditions and was sitting on stage, I realized there was nothing more I could do to improve my situation, so I just let all of my tensions go away, and just played-again like I had know all of these people my entire life.  

A big problem I think we have is that we place so much pressure to perform perfectly every time, and that just isn't going to happen.  If I am really nervous, I try to get into the mindset that "Hey, I'm doing something really hard, and if people want to judge me for making a mistake, or for it not being the way they wanted it, then let them get up there and play it themselves." You are only  human!

My hands too get cold and sweaty, at the same time, its a big wonder to me.......I also have to play right up until the last minute possible, otherwise I feel like I could've done more and that stresses me out during the performance. It's really a mind game you have to play with yourself-like Diabolos said, you have to realize that nothing bad will happen to you up there-and you want people to hear the music that these composers wrote for us.  All in all that's what it's about.

Good luck!


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Re: Provincial/National Competitions
Reply #3 on: September 09, 2002, 06:23:31 AM
Hi Mandy!

I live in Alberta!  It is the Kiwanis festival piano competition(well it's not technically a competition but it kinda is at the national level-plus there is a chance to get a governor general's award-Whoo hoo!)

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