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Topic: Preparing for a recital  (Read 3895 times)

Offline 88keys

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Preparing for a recital
on: December 10, 2002, 11:38:34 PM
As already mentioned on the "repertoire" board, I'm planning to have a semi-formal recital including eight etudes: 4 from Chopin's Op. 10 and 4 I've composed myself. The performance will be sometime in October 2003.

I would appreciate any tips from the more experienced performers, as to preparing for this event.

I would be grateful not only for tips concerning how to practice to perfection, but also as to what is "accepted procedure" in piano recitals.

Offline Diabolos

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #1 on: December 22, 2002, 11:47:54 PM
Well, I don't know what is meant by 'accepted procedure', but I just wanted to drop some tips in general:

First of all: Get the pieces memorized as early as possible,you should be done with that about a month before the recital (well, to be true I sometimes memorized pieces the last day before having to perform, but that makes one nervous..).

Then you should schedule little recitals in front of five to ten people - doing two or three of these would be perfact, since you loose your nervousness and you can identify  the parts you might still have problems with.

But, since the recital is in October 03, you shouldn't stress yourself with the preparation.

Well - and the day you have to perform you should get yourself some carbon hydrates for lunch, like spaghetti..and not eat short before the recital (maybe have a drink of water and some chocolate).
Really important is the Warmup. Since you're playing a programme of eight etudes, there won't be a pause and neither an easy piece to start with - you really need to be able to play with high precision in high tempo fromt he start, so give urself 40 minutes to get your fingers in gear...

I'm really wondering what 'accepted procedure' means. Maybe how to appear on stage, how to arrange the programme or..?

That's just what comes to my mind right now - maybe it helps a little.

Good luck with the Chopin. 8)

Regards,

Offline 88keys

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #2 on: December 24, 2002, 02:10:56 AM
Thanks!

As for you wondering what I meant by 'accepted procedure'... you've hit my intentions right on the nose!

With respect of arranging the programme:

I know that when performing your own music along with familiar pieces, it is costumary to either begin or end with familiar ones first. Unfortunately I've forgotten whether they costumarly go at the beginning or at the end... (oops)

The internal order of the pieces would not be a problem - I'll just play them in the order of their serial numbers.

As for "how to appear on the stage":

I am more concerned with what to do on the stage, once I'm on it... ;-)

Do you bow before the performence, or after? I've heard somewhere that it is costumary to bow after each piece, but this seems on the verge of the absurd for 8 pieces a couple of minutes long each...

Another thing which I don't have a clue about is the issue of "encore": Under what circumstances should an "encore" be played after the performance? Should it be done only if the audience explicitly ask for it?

There are, probably, other issues I'm simply not aware of.

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #3 on: December 24, 2002, 08:56:13 AM
In recitals I have seen, etudes, like the ones you are playing, are played in "blocks" - the Chopins would be in one block and yours might be the next (or whatever order you do them in).  In any case, the pianist would do his "entry" - bow or otherwise acknowledge the audience - less is more, from what I can tell.  Some pianists just walk right to the piano, give a tiny nod to the audience, then sit down and start playing - pretty business like.  But they would pause a bit beetween pieces of the "block", with no applause that I've seen, just enough to allow for a change of mood, then on to the next till the block of pieces is complete.  THEN get up and do the bowing thing.  I've seen this done with Chopin Scherzi, Rach's Preludes, and Liszt's Etudes, so why not yours?

As for encores, I'd defintely prepare one.  If the audience is still there clapping after you've made two trips off-and-on stage to bow, they probably expect you to sit back down and play something.  Doesn't have to be fancy, either.  Alfred Brendl's encore was THE most charming litte Vienese waltz I've ever heard.  Not hard, but just darned pretty.  We all loved it!

good luck!  You have more nerve than I do!
So much music, so little time........

Offline rachfan

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #4 on: January 08, 2003, 04:25:16 AM
Here are some things that worked for me, but realizing too that everyone is different.  Hopefully, you have had a chance to try out the instrument and hall beforehand and have a familiarity with the venue.  Bear in mind that when there is an audience, the hall will not be as "alive" as when you performed there by yourself in an empty space.  That's fine, as you will be your own best listener there, and can project and modify the pedaling as needed.

First, get a good night's rest the night before.  On the day of the recital don't do anything out of the ordinary or strenuous.  Just follow an easy-going routine.  When it comes to your normal practice time, do only a sufficient technical warm-up, no more.  Do a  run-through of your program.  If you encounter a rough spot or two, calmly work them out using the same thoughtful practice method for those difficulties that have worked previously for you to smooth them out.  Do not do maniacal practice, as it will do more harm than good at this point.  Then do a second run-through to further build confidence.  Then leave the piano.  As the day wears on have fairly light meals. Later, if you want to kick off your shoes and take a short nap, do it.    

If you can take a taxi or have a friend drive you to the hall, so much the better.  Get situated in the green room if there is one, or in a wing backstage.  If there is a remote piano, do no more than playing two or three scales, then leave it.   Do not do any "practicing" on a table, on your knees, or even in your head.  No need to--you know this music.  Make sure that a copy of your program has been placed inconspicuously on the piano's closed music desk.  If the desk has been removed, have it by your station backstage so that you can quickly review the order at the break segments.  In the excitement, people have been known to forget the order of pieces.  Having the program at hand will give you security even if you don't have to refer to it.

When the moment of truth comes, stride onto the stage and smile at the audience to acknowledge their welcoming applause.  Sit down and take a moment to ensure that the position and height of the bench are as you want them.  Do any minor adjustments as the chatter and coughing subsides.  Then sit for a moment collecting yourself and dwelling on the mood of the first piece.  Prepare mentally for the start, e.g., will the damper pedal already be depressed before the first note?  Get ready to do it.  Wait for total silence.  Then begin.  If you're as prepared as you should be, you'll then be in the service of Chopin, an awesome responsibility indeed.  You'll be into the joy sharing your interpretational insights and connecting with the audience.   That responsibility is equally great in presenting your own works.  It is not every day that an audience gets to hear a definitive performance of new works directly by the composer, which then sets the performance practice for the future.  You did not mention encores, but you should have one or two picked out and prepared to the same degree of perfection as the program itself.  Do the larger one first and the lighter one as the close.  Good luck!
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.

Offline artist

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #5 on: February 19, 2003, 12:29:40 AM
There are excellent suggestions here that people have already given you. Eating carbs, a rest, collecting yourself when sitting down at the piano to focus on the mood of the first piece are all good suggestions that have worked for me.

I'd just like to say one thing about the arrangement of pieces and  acknowledging applause. Many different pedagogues tend to tell you there is a proper order to put pieces in. I Believe that there is nothing wrong with starting with your own etudes first. Play them together in a block, and do not get up between your etudes, only simply acknowledge any applause with a tilt of your head and a smile staying seated on the bench. The usual signal to the audience that a piece is over is when the performer puts his hands down at rest  below the keyboard. Get up after the complete set of your etudes is over and then make a standing bow. The Chopin Etudes can come later.

I make this suggestion for the following reason: In my experience,it is a great aid to calming your nerves when you begin a program with music that you are very comfortable with, and love, andknow and  play very well. What better example of that than your own compositions!

Good luck
m

Offline OneHand10Fingers

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #6 on: March 01, 2003, 04:58:26 PM
be able to play the entire corpus of your recital in a dark cold room, blind-folded, having just awoken from a long slumber.  then you will know you are ready

Offline PoSeiDoN

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #7 on: March 27, 2003, 06:12:23 AM
In a book by my favorite pianist, Alfred Brendel, he talks specifically about a concert program.  He says that for psychological effect, one should try to avoid playing consecutive pieces in the same key.  I did this for my recital, and I think it did provide for more variety.  Might as well keep the audience's subconscious entertained and engaged!   :D

Well, good luck.  

Offline JonE

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #8 on: March 28, 2003, 05:31:42 AM
I would add that part of your prep is psychological.  I like to shoot for perfection, and then plan on being happy with and excited about whatever level of playing I actually achieve.  This helps me "give myself a break," so to speak.  I like going into a performance with a positive but realistic sense of what to achieve, and with a certain sense of bravado, or, perhaps, willingness to take a few chances.

As for proper procedures, contrast between pieces is a good idea.  Too many things sounding alike isn't really good.  I think you need to be prepared to respond to the audience.  The whole point of bowing is to acknowledge the audience's applause.  There's a certain humility in that; so, personally, if I were doing a set, and the audience applauded for something in the set, I would stand up, bow, and sit back down.  If you can help to avoid that where you don't want breaks by carefully controlling how you move your hands and head after a piece, that's better, of course.  Bowing can be either too long or too short - keep your hands hanging easily by your sides, count to five seconds as you bow your head down to look at your toes, with "3" being the bottom of the bow, "5" being the top when your head returns up.

Jon
https://www.pedaplus.com

Offline b3rel

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Preparing for a recital
Reply #9 on: April 08, 2003, 12:03:03 AM
How do you prepare for a recital when it is in two months from now?
God bless all the musician!
Arielle

Offline amee

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #10 on: April 09, 2003, 08:13:28 AM
I heard recording yourself then playing it back helps a great deal - it really helps you pick out the icky bits you don't necessarily notice when you're actually playing.
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frederic Chopin

Offline cziffra

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #11 on: April 12, 2003, 06:17:43 AM
the worst thing you can possibly do for a performance several months away is to play nothing but the pieces you are going to perform in those months- repeating the same pieces endlessly for months on end produces a piece that sounds like it has been repeated endlessly for months on end- learn several new songs, nothing ridiculously difficult, but something to give your fingers more to do, and to give your mind a larger pool to draw inspiration and experience from.

Horowitz- "playing a song 27 times before a performance will make your performance sound like the 28th repetition."
What it all comes down to is that one does not play the piano with one’s fingers; one plays the piano with one’s mind.-  Glenn Gould

Offline 88_keys

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #12 on: October 10, 2003, 09:51:22 AM
Quote
Hopefully, you have had a chance to try out the instrument and hall beforehand and have a familiarity with the venue.


I'll have a chance to try the piano next week.

The recital, by the way, has been postponed to November 15. So I still have over a month to practice.

(Sorry if new username caused any confusion. I forgot my old password and had to begin a new account)

Offline 88_keys

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #13 on: October 10, 2003, 09:54:12 AM
Oh, and thank you all for your advice. It was very helpful.

Offline MikeLauwrie

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Re: Preparing for a recital
Reply #14 on: October 15, 2003, 03:39:19 AM
I also have a recital to prepare for. Although it's only 20 minutes long, a lot of thought has gone into the programming. It had to be as close to 20m as possible as it's for my A level. Also there needed to be a range of styles, and the programme had to be well structured. I think I've got it how I want it now, but it took a long time!

Programme wise I would recomend playing the Chopin last as the audience will be fresher at the beginning and will tend to be more open. Also it would be best to end with something fairly familiar, and something that the audience will find satisfying.

I have been told by one of my music teachers that it is best to start with "something light but snappy". Something I entirely disagree with! People come to a concert to listen to you so I would tend to play something dark to begin with to draw them in. [b/]
 

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