\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Worst mistakes you have done during a performance (Read 5182 times)

Offline willcowskitz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 539
Worst mistakes you have done during a performance
« on: June 07, 2004, 12:25:02 AM »
There are lots of posts about stage fright and related dilemmas. We all sometimes hit wrong keys and whatnot, so I thought a thread like this could be the best remedy for fear.

JK

  • Guest
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #1 on: June 07, 2004, 12:37:09 AM »
I once had a spectaculer memory lapse in the middle of a Poulenc theme and variations, this was in a competition and it was early in the morning, I forgot several massive chunks of some variations and had to improvise!

A story that my teacher told me is quite good and it shows how mistakes are not always your fault. he was playing Rach3, it was the bit after the cadenza in the first movement, there is a flute slow and the piano has very fast arpegios, unfortunately the flautist came in double speed! ;D :o ;D

Offline squinchy

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 227
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 03:42:06 AM »
I think a thread like this is an excellent idea. It would be like a pensieve for pianists!

____

Once I was extremely unnerved at a festival because another girl, much younger, much tinier, played the same required piece as I did, except she the dynamics exactly according to the music. I didn't like Martha Mier's dynamics (on her own piece), so I had practiced a passage m and cantabile where she had marked piano. However, the little kid did it so perfectly and it sounded great, so I changed my mind at the last minute.

That was the mistake-I played one wrong chord in that passage, and that threw me off track. Subsequently, I kept missing the jumps in a Mozart Sonata.

But I still got the highest rating!  ;D

Support bacteria. They're the only type of culture some people have.

Offline amanfang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 841
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #3 on: June 07, 2004, 04:38:12 AM »
At one of my recitals in elementary school, I was playing canon in d (Alfred arrangement, level 6), and got to the LAST line and thought "Wow, this is great, I haven't made one mistake yet!"  And THAT of course is the worst thing to think during a performance, but hey, I was young.  Anyway, got to the last line, and could not for the life of my remember what note to start on.  I tried a B-flat, and that was obviously not the right note, so then I tried an A-flat, and that wasn't right either.  So I tried a G, and then played my D chord with the G, and that sounded bad.  Then I remembered that I was playing Canon in D, so I should try a D.  And then I finished the piece fine.  Of course, my dad was videotaping the whole thing, so they pull that out on occasiona to laugh at me.  
When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.

Offline rosie

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 14
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #4 on: June 07, 2004, 04:58:02 AM »
Two days ago I played in a winner's recital for a series of competitions. I was playing Bach p and f in c sharp (848). I have played this piece for numerous competitions, auditions, and recitals. On the last page of the fuge, I completely blanked out. I tried to go back a measure but could not get past where I origanally forgot. I have points in every line where I can jump in, but I forgot all of them and just played the last line to end the piece. I have never had a memory problem on this before. I felt so bad because I was last and the scholarship winner. But my Beethoven and Chopin went well, so I hope that made up for it.

I have played at the wrong time at recitals, played pieces that were not even on the program, ...

One time my 2 year old cousin ran around naked durring one of my performances, and one time a piece of ivory fell off the key of an old piano. I was playing Chopin ballade number 1, and it came off durring the middle, so I was trying to to cut my fingers on the jagged edge of the key the whole rest of the time. It came off pretty bad.

It's good to know other people make mistakes too.

Offline Motrax

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 721
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #5 on: June 07, 2004, 05:43:04 AM »
I just had a disaster with Rachmaninoff's Cello Sonata, which I played as the final piece of my big solo graduation recital thingy. I had about 3 or 4 memory lapses, with the music in front of me, and I missed more notes than ever. And at the end of the piece, I missed every single chord there was.

Oddly, people told me that I played incredibly, and they didn't notice any mistakes.  :o
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline janice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 917
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #6 on: June 07, 2004, 06:12:28 AM »
I'll do a cut & paste that I made like 2 years ago on the Miscellaneous page.  The thread is "Most Embarrassing Moment at the Piano".  My dad STILL teases me about this (and it happened in 1987 or 1988, around then, give or take a year)

This is the SOOO AWFUL!!!  I accompanied the choir in college.  The auditorium was filled (or so it seemed!)  The last song was a capella.  The audience had finished clapping, and I was still sitting at the piano.  When there was COMPLETE SILENCE, I played a chord, then went to stand in my spot.  As I stood up (it's dead quiet in the auditorium remember), my robe caught on something and there was the loudest RIIIIIP!!!  I could've died!   Nobody said anything or laughed.  We were just in shock, I think!  Of course, I was to stand way over on the end, at the top.  That was the longest walk of my life!  One of my best friends was standing next to me.  She just held my hand during the whole song--as if that would somehow keep her from laughing!  After that number, we all filed out.  Of course, my row was last and I was on the end, so I had to try to keep a straight face for a long time.  Everybody else was already back in the choir room, and when I walked in, everybody just died laughing!  I can't remember if they clapped or not!  I went up to the director and said "I am SOOO sorry!"  He just stood there shaking his head.  

Part of the general education requirements is to take a certain number of fine arts credits.  Many of the jocks take Music 101 or whatever it's called.  Those who take this class must attend X number of concerts and report on them.  A bunch of football players were sitting in the back  The next day during lunch, I was up at the pop machine in the cafeteria and a football player came up.  He looked at me and said "Oh yeah, you're the one who ripped her robe last night, aren't you?"  I almost died!!!  

I guess that you just had to be there (but I'm glad that none of you were, or else I'd be embarrassed!)  :-[ :-[
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Offline edouard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #7 on: June 07, 2004, 10:51:00 AM »
Have you ever been irritated by other peoples' mobiles going off? well listen to this...
I was playing grieg's concerto solo version (luckily just for one friend, but i was still giving it my best effort, as a rehearsal for performance). I played through the first and second movements and just finished the last note of the second movement (very calm, slow etc) when my own mobile phone  started vibrating. You can imagine the distration . so i played the last note, held the pedal, delved into my pocket to turn off the damn thing and then started on the third movement but the tension and interest was lost for me. And if its lost for me, its lost for the audience. so now i never perform with a mobile phone, not even off. !!
Nice to know i'm not the only one to whom these things happen :)
edouard

Offline cziffra

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 416
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #8 on: June 07, 2004, 11:58:40 AM »
you've played with a mobile phone IN YOUR POCKET?

how did that come about?  why on earth would you take one out?  that's really strange
What it all comes down to is that one does not play the piano with ones fingers; one plays the piano with ones mind.-  Glenn Gould

Offline edouard

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #9 on: June 07, 2004, 02:31:27 PM »
well its not that strange, i just forgot to turn it off before starting. I don't really get your post !?
yours -e

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #10 on: June 08, 2004, 04:25:55 PM »
my worst performance would have to've been last year in a recital that we were being assessed in and i'd had a really freaky dream earlier that week that i'd at the last minute changed my piece to something i'd played 2 years ago and of course i hadn't practiced it since then and coudln't remember how it went. so i then went to go attempt to practice it but then missed when i was meant to perform. anyway that really freaked me out so by the time it came to the performance it was fine until i was like 2 pages from the end and i played a wrong note and that completely screwed me up so i tried to find the right note again and did some really bad waffle before i gave up and stopped, moved my head a little too forward to i banged it on the piano and told the audience i'd forgotten the rest and they all laughed and clapped and i never forgave myself for that.

the most annoying thing was that i didn't get to finish and was seriously considering going up at the end and finishing it but nobody took me seriously at that so didn't get to...

oh some random story of a bad performance, back in yr3 when the school choir was performing at sydney town hall my friend vomited in the middle of a song all over the girls in front of her! how bad is that?!!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline jr11

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #11 on: June 08, 2004, 04:54:52 PM »
I've learned to never look out into the audience. I've been totally thrown off twice... once when I looked up and saw my teacher looking at me, and once when I saw my wife looking at me. Anyone else but one of those two watching me during a performance and I'm fine.

Offline janice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 917
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #12 on: June 08, 2004, 06:39:29 PM »
Quote
, and once when I saw my wife looking at me. Anyone else but one of those two watching me during a performance and I'm fine.


this reminds me of a problem I have had.  When I play a solo at church, I don't care if a million people are in the congregation and I don't care if they look at me--this doesn't make me nervous--it's when the family who sits in the front pew (closest to the piano) stares at me.  They are too close for comfort.  I've actually told them, "Ok, I am playing a solo today.  Whatever you do, don't look at me."  The orchestra is on my right, and I have asked them if they will go sit in the pews before I play.  I don't mean to sound like a nut case--lol--but these people (orchestra and that family) sit just a few feet away!!  I can't deal with them LOOKING at me!! LOL
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Offline Tash

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2248
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #13 on: June 09, 2004, 03:58:57 PM »
Quote
I've learned to never look out into the audience. I've been totally thrown off twice... once when I looked up and saw my teacher looking at me, and once when I saw my wife looking at me. Anyone else but one of those two watching me during a performance and I'm fine.


oh yeah that's bad. in the second recital where i was being assessed for the same piece i messed up in the previous story the bit that i last forgot i decided not to look at the keys at all (my teacher told me to do that if i was ever unsure of the notes so i could just let my fingers move where they knew where to go) so looked up into the wings and my music teacher was standing there with the most serious look on her face probably hoping i didn't screw up again (thankfully i didn't) i was like oh my god just let this passage be over please so i can look down again before i freak out
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline rubleski

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 26
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #14 on: June 10, 2004, 10:26:09 PM »
A few months ago I played Rachmaninoff op. 23 no 5 in g minor for my highschool. I always miss a few minor notes, and my performance was going very well. On the last note though, i played an A in left left hand and a G in the right  ::)

Offline ahmedito

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 682
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #15 on: June 12, 2004, 05:02:30 AM »
My worst were both in competitions.

The first one was at the Grieg competition. I played the G minor Ballade in the semifinal, with all the repititions, about 4 years ago. After having finished all the gruelingly dificult variations, I got to the theme at the end and I thought... whew!!! Im glad I made it. BIG MISTAKE. I completely forgot the theme, after muddling through it I completely lost it and couldnt remember anything at all. Sadly, I just played a cadence in G minor and left. Needless to say, I did not pass to the finals.

The second was at the first international competition I ever won. I was so happy at the result, that at the recital that I played at the national auditorum the same day I got the result, I played the obligatory piece in front of the composer twice as slow.... then I started a Debussy etude and completely played the wrong notes in the first measure. It was completely wrong, but I was so happy at having won, tha I actually laughed out loud at the mistake and finished the etude, playing it even better than in the competition. The judges told me later that they loved it.... I learned from there to laugh at my mistakes. Even so, there was a lot of local talk, because people who had not heard me during the competition couldnt believe the result after having heard the concert.
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)

Offline donjuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3139
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #16 on: June 12, 2004, 11:36:27 PM »
My worst as yet was at my first music festival.  I was so nervous, I did so many stupid things...I walked up to the piano in the middle of the stage, sat down, and for some reason, started to do stupid neck exercises.  The adjudicator ten feet away started laughing his head off, and from the corner of my eye, I saw him writing something down.  More self concious now than before, I went to play my piece- Liszt- Un Sospiro-, which went dreadfully awful.  

ohh,
the Humiliation..
donjuan

Offline pies

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1467
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #17 on: June 13, 2004, 12:40:57 AM »

Offline Irock1ce

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #18 on: June 16, 2004, 12:07:56 AM »
I have two:
In March, I had to perform the Bach P and F in cmin ( book1). So, I was doing fine until the really really fast part in the end of the Prelude. I played it and my left hand and right hand were COMPLETELY OFF! They were not following each other so i had to stop. And completely start the part over again because i screwed it up so bad. Yeah.. i wanted to kill myself. Good to know that everyone makes mistakes.
Last august, I managed to make it into the final concerts at UC Berkeley for my music program, YMP. I was playing Debussy's Clair de Lune. It was sound GREAT until i got to the last page where i COMPLETELY forgot everything. so, i had to improvise and somehow.. just SOMEHOW i managed to make it to the end. Yeah, i was lookin REAL spiteful walking off the stage... in front of about 700 people.
Member of Young Musicians program at University of California, Berkeley.

Offline donjuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3139
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #19 on: June 16, 2004, 04:05:57 AM »
Quote
, i had to improvise ....about 700 people.

ouch!!!
My condolences.
donjuan

Offline Antnee

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 535
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #20 on: June 16, 2004, 04:11:22 AM »

man... Claire de lune is such a known piece too...

sorry man... :(

-Tony-
"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." -  Stravinsky

Spatula

  • Guest
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #21 on: June 16, 2004, 09:24:54 PM »
Yeah most of my mistakes were just not knowing where my hands went and going OMG scrambling my fingers to whatever looked "good".

I remember my annual piano recital where I was doing a Beethoven Peasant Dance, pretty easy, but when I got up to perform, my mind felt like it was dozed on beer and drugs, and my hands were so bloody COLD!  It started off okay but wobbled quite a bit through.  
I didn't completely stop, but ALOT of the notes were noticibly wrong.

Another performance was the piano recital the following year.  I think I was doing Cutberth Harris' Intro and Fugato in D minor.
Everything was fine but until I did the diminished broken chord cadence, my fingers didn't know where to go next, so I improved and did the cadence 3 times!  Somehow it didn't sound too bad when the cadence was repeated because it was a highlight of the piece.
At the final chords, I played it almost like a concert piece and with the final chord, I swung my head back in resolution, like I did some power house Prokofiev Sonata.  

Yeah there it is...  8)

Offline janice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 917
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #22 on: June 16, 2004, 10:48:05 PM »
LOL, spatula!  I'm sure that we can all see ourselves as having done something similar!


Quote

At the final chords, I played it almost like a concert piece and with the final chord, I swung my head back in resolution, like I did some power house Prokofiev Sonata.


TOOO funny!!!  My philosophy is....just make it look intentional!!  And keep a straight face!!
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Spatula

  • Guest
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #23 on: June 17, 2004, 05:05:54 AM »
I know and read that Horowitz did some poor recitals, and when he finished, he got up, closed the lid of the piano, did a humble bow, and walked off.

No amount of enthusiatic applause would bring him back onstage that night to do an encore.  He was probably rejuvinating for the next recital to do a powerful comeback performance.  

(paraphrased from "Classical Music 101 " for copyright reasons) :P

Offline littlechopin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 21
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #24 on: June 17, 2004, 04:21:41 PM »
Bad subject...

My biggest problem is the lapse of memory...

During every concert-contest I've made at least a lapse of memory, inventing a lot of NEW finals...
When you invent Scarbo's final or Rachman etude op 39 n5 's final, that are slow, it doesn't matter at all (speaking relatively!!!), but when you ruin and create a new final for the Beethoven's "appassionata" or Chopin's Sonata... it is very awful :-((

Why have we to play without scores???? ;-))

p.s. the "only" time I hadn't a lapse of memory was at the final exam for graduation ;-)) what a lucky!!!

Offline Kaylia_D.

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 12
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #25 on: June 21, 2004, 10:27:42 PM »
It was April, earlier this year. i had a mini recital for a Tea Party and i had already memorized my pieces. But no...I had to carry my score to "look" professional. So i started my first piece..everything was going well until i sad to myself "look at the score instead of your fingers". So i did, but what I read was a line i already played and then the notes got mixed and it started to sound like krap! So i stoped start over, its was pretty embarassing cause i knew everyone was watching me. But after that everything went perfect...hopefully enough to make up for the mistake.

Spatula

  • Guest
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #26 on: June 22, 2004, 05:48:13 AM »
Quote

Why have we to play without scores???? ;-))

p.s. the "only" time I hadn't a lapse of memory was at the final exam for graduation ;-)) what a lucky!!!


Well yeah I wish (and the rest of us) that we can use them, but sometimes if I memorize a piece, I manage to do it better even if the book is closed but on the note shelf just above the keyboard.  Somehow this is like a security blanket even though I know I can't read the notes when the book is closed.

Actually, memorizing a piece by hard and no score is the better approach to releasing your own feelings into the piece, so that you don't just do a crescendo because it says so, but you actually feel it and understand the piece better. ; )

Offline nerd

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 43
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #27 on: June 22, 2004, 04:30:51 PM »
It was a bad piano in a room with very bad acoustics. There was teacher standing behind the piano staring directly at me. My piece was quite easy but not so well prepared. I started playing and got maybe halfway through it. Then I started to play wrong notes and suddenly I was lost. I smashed my hands on the keys, said some K18 words, waited for a second and started from the beginning. There was some 150-200 people in the audience but luckily most of them knew nothing about music. I bet I looked quite weird when I had stopped...
DDN 8)

Spatula

  • Guest
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #28 on: June 26, 2004, 04:01:10 AM »
I wonder what would happen if they screwed up during a concerto...now that'd piss off the whole orchaestra.  I wonder if that ever really happened well the aftermath..did they still "applause" with enthusiasm?

Offline bachmaninov

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 171
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #29 on: June 27, 2004, 05:27:46 AM »
Well... As a judge in national piano competitions and those worldwide, I have witnessed my fair share of "miscues" during a performance. One that comes to mind at the moment...

One contestant walks up on stage and I clarify that he would be playing Chopin's Nocturne No.8 "Lento sostenuto". He sits behind the piano and starts playing. I notice quickly that he is in fact playing Nocturne No. 1 "Larghetto". I was thinking about letting him continue with the piece and just judge him on No. 1 instead, but I had to stop him. I once again requested No. 8 again. And he begins playing. This time instead of No. 8, he is playing No. 12 "Andantino". I was completly baffled and wondered what to do in this case... So I stood up and walked up to the piano and showed him the first line on No. 8. He just stares at the score for a few moments and says "Oh yeah! I remember that one!" And plays it flawlessly...

-- By the way in response to "Spatula"...

It is very very rare to witness any major flaws in concerto's WITH the orchestra. First of all, you have to have already had enough experience with the piece before you can even get it to a level to play it with the orchestra. Secondy, during a rehearsal, the orchestra and pianist already set up special shortcuts incase something is thrown way off track... "Some improvising possibly". This is the reason why u rarely see "Concertos" in competitions. When you play something like a DUO or DUET or Concerto even, it is not ment to be a competetive type of thing, which is why most people performing an ensemble get to use the music score in front of them. In a competition you worry about "hitting all the right notes". In a concerto you are simply trying to connect with the audience... Which is why "ensemble mistakes" are rarely seen.

Spatula

  • Guest
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #30 on: June 27, 2004, 07:36:24 AM »
Quote
Well... As a judge in national piano competitions and those worldwide, I have witnessed my fair share of "miscues" during a performance. One that comes to mind at the moment...

One contestant walks up on stage and I clarify that he would be playing Chopin's Nocturne No.8 "Lento sostenuto". He sits behind the piano and starts playing. I notice quickly that he is in fact playing Nocturne No. 1 "Larghetto". I was thinking about letting him continue with the piece and just judge him on No. 1 instead, but I had to stop him. I once again requested No. 8 again. And he begins playing. This time instead of No. 8, he is playing No. 12 "Andantino". I was completly baffled and wondered what to do in this case... So I stood up and walked up to the piano and showed him the first line on No. 8. He just stares at the score for a few moments and says "Oh yeah! I remember that one!" And plays it flawlessly...

-- By the way in response to "Spatula"...

It is very very rare to witness any major flaws in concerto's WITH the orchestra. First of all, you have to have already had enough experience with the piece before you can even get it to a level to play it with the orchestra. Secondy, during a rehearsal, the orchestra and pianist already set up special shortcuts incase something is thrown way off track... "Some improvising possibly". This is the reason why u rarely see "Concertos" in competitions. When you play something like a DUO or DUET or Concerto even, it is not ment to be a competetive type of thing, which is why most people performing an ensemble get to use the music score in front of them. In a competition you worry about "hitting all the right notes". In a concerto you are simply trying to connect with the audience... Which is why "ensemble mistakes" are rarely seen.


Yeah I'd expect them to have some points with escape or Plan B sort of routes.  Even if the pianist lost track, they could play the chords to fill in until they get their cue back, unless its the solo part  :P

Offline TonyG

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 8
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #31 on: June 28, 2004, 12:03:26 AM »
Quite amused to hear of the vibrating mobile phone going off!

Many, many years ago I was playing for ballet championships at a theatre in Liverpool. Each school had to use the piece called "Dream of Olwen". I sat and listened to these other pianists and thought to myself 'what an awful noise just wait till they hear ME play' (even though the attention was obviously on the girls competing in the championship!). Anyway disaster tried to strike twice. (a) a Sekonda alarm watch I was wearing went off, this triggered (b) the ballet teacher I was playing for to lean rather heavily on the small upright piano and for it to slide away from me. Thankfully, I got up and followed it and carried on with 'Olwen'.  Did our girl win the prize? alas, no.

I also remember many years later cabaret backing a quite excellent female singer in a large Northern English club on an electronic organ I was not familiar with. All was going well when - MY PLAYING CHANGED KEY!!  I looked at her, she looked at me, God what was happening? this was awful!

On close study of the instrument later it had a pitch changer on the 'swell' pedal and I'd gone and clicked it!

Late 1970s and I had a great scene going in a large Pontins Holidays lounge bar. Grand piano on a platform facing a lovely Gulbransen electronic organ. I played everything in this job. The Stage Newspaper did an article on me "Playing everything from Chopin to Status Quo". I was thrashing away one night - think I was doing some Fats Waller numbers - when the left front leg of the piano collapsed! Believe me, baby grand pianos do make a terrific noise when they collapse! Thankfully I just managed to whip my knees out of the way in time!

These are just three funny (ish) memories I can give you on a long professional career!
"Playing Chopin to Status Quo" The Stage Newspaper, around 1978. Guess this still describes me well!

Offline donjuan

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3139
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #32 on: June 28, 2004, 03:15:18 AM »
Quote

One contestant walks up on stage and I clarify that he would be playing Chopin's Nocturne No.8 "Lento sostenuto". He sits behind the piano and starts playing. I notice quickly that he is in fact playing Nocturne No. 1 "Larghetto". I was thinking about letting him continue with the piece and just judge him on No. 1 instead, but I had to stop him. I once again requested No. 8 again. And he begins playing. This time instead of No. 8, he is playing No. 12 "Andantino". I was completly baffled and wondered what to do in this case... So I stood up and walked up to the piano and showed him the first line on No. 8. He just stares at the score for a few moments and says "Oh yeah! I remember that one!" And plays it flawlessly...  

hmmm, strangly enough, he sounds like a genius!!

Offline pianojems

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #33 on: June 28, 2004, 09:31:44 PM »
Yeah, I've had a couple of embarrasing moments myself during a performance. I was recently performing for a wedding outdoors.  I had a trumpet playing with me. It was raining and windy suddenly, even though it has been a beautiful day so far. Towards the middle of the piece my music blew away even though I had taped it to the stand. So I would up cadencing right there on the spot without finishing my phrase,to the surprised look of the guests and the trumpeter. My face must have been bright red, but I had never anticipated for this to happen.  :-[
(\_/)
(O.o)
(> <)

This is Bunny. Copy Bunny into your signature to help him on his way to world domination

Offline Irock1ce

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 101
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #34 on: July 02, 2004, 08:37:36 AM »
all this talk of mistakes is getting me super nervous for my performance of the Waldstein 1st movt tomorrow... >.<. Lets just hope i make it through alive.
Member of Young Musicians program at University of California, Berkeley.

Offline BajoranD

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 40
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #35 on: July 12, 2004, 12:43:27 AM »
When I was in college, I got a call at the last minute to accompany the local high school's choir Christmas concert. I was a trombone major and was still having trouble feeling like a real pianist (and not just a wanna-be), even though I was studying and performing in convos and accompanying (a couple of times) for juries. But the regular accompanist had gotten sick, and gave the HS director my name, and she called me and told me I could do it, and he seemed to think I could do it, and he had NO other options besides me . . . so I tried to do it. I was called at 5:30, I got down there at 6:30, and the concert started at 7:30. And part of that time I was helping him warm the kids up. Three problems:
1. I'd had almost no experience sight-reading on piano in front of other people
2. I'd never before accompanied a choir, and I'd never played a whole concert (three different choirs).
3. This was a small-ish town, with a very intense (and ever so slightly self-important) musical community, so anonymity was impossible.

The very first selection was "Angels We Have Heard On High," with a pretty standard church-hymnalish piano part. But it was in E-flat, and, despite my best efforts, I could NOT get my hands to play a D-natural! They kept trying to play D-flat! I was lowering the leading-tone of the entire song! I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't seem to correct it. We got to the end of the song, and all I had to do was play a D chord to finish it out, and I think I maybe went through four or five chords trying to find D. At that point, my brain decided it had had enough of the whole experience, and it took off to unknown reaches of the world (Hawaii, perhaps?) and left my body to fend for itself. And it got worse.

I had no page turner, and music started falling off the piano. A parent took pity on me, and came up to the piano mid-song to try to help, but by then the damage had been done. And, even though she had great intentions, she wasn't terribly responsive to turning as per my head-nod, she was the "I'll turn it when I think it needs to be turned" type. The choir was singing the prayer from Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel," and I was nodding vigorously, and she wasn't turning, and she finally turned it, but by then I was lost, and about 4 measures after the page turn it was this lovely little piano interlude, except that when the choir stopped singing, there was complete silence, because I didn't know where the ^&#$ I was! And the director is giving me huge panicked looks, but that did NOTHING whatsoever to help me find my place and instead panicked me more, and I was kind of half-singing half-grunting something that sounded like the melody while my hands were hovering helplessly above the keyboard. After that song was over, he turned to the audience, and thanked me for coming to their aid at the last minute, and then waxed philosophically about how this was a great learning moment for his kids, because they need to realize they can't just depend on the piano, they have to be secure in their parts, etc., which sounded a lot to me like, "I'm sorry our pianist sucks so completely, we got her at the last minute, and, you know, you take what you can get . . . "

The whole concert was about 1.5 hours long. I think my level of Hell would be an eternity spent in that hour and a half. My husband immediately took me from the concert to a bar, and between his protestations of, "it really didn't sound as bad as you think it did," he bought me copious quantities of alcohol. Unfortunately, after those kinds of experiences, there isn't enough alcohol in the world to make you forget!

Offline allchopin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1171
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #36 on: July 12, 2004, 01:14:06 AM »
Haha, well I guess you didn't get an encore then.
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline Mayla

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6638
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #37 on: July 13, 2004, 11:18:42 PM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline BajoranD

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 40
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #38 on: July 14, 2004, 12:51:23 AM »
Wow, Mayla, that sounds like quite the experience. I wish I could have been there to see it!  ;D

To fix something from my above posting:
Quote
We got to the end of the song, and all I had to do was play a D chord to finish it out, and I think I maybe went through four or five chords trying to find D.


By which I meant, of course, E-flat. Because the piece was in E-flat. So how could the last chord be D? See how traumatic the experience was?

Offline johnsauce

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 3
Re: Worst mistakes you have done during a performa
«Reply #39 on: July 14, 2004, 02:01:13 AM »
My worse mistake was probably at Bach Festival this year in the Orange Branch.  

I was playing Fantasia and Gigue from Partita #3 by Bach, and the Fantasia went great.  The first half of the gigue went well too, until I hit the left-hand melody portion.  I completely blanked out in the beginning, and I had to start from the start of the left-hand melody twice.  I probably would have made it to regionals if I didn't make that mistake  :-X :-[