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I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals! (Read 6460 times)

Offline littletune

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I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
« on: March 02, 2014, 05:16:35 PM »
So this is pretty annoying. I am learning piano for the fifth year now (well last year I had a little break, I still played but less), I have about 4 recitals a year (last year only 2) and I ALWAYS make exactly ONE big mistake when I'm playing in recitals! Sometimes I also make a few little ones but there's ALWAYS  one BIG mistake. I mean a mistake where I have to stop for a few seconds because I don't know how to go on.  ::) And it can happen in the beginning or the end or in the middle of a piece. It can happen during a difficult part but also during the easiest part in the piece. It happens when I'm practicing really a lot and can play the whole piece in my mind or when I feel that I didn't practice enough (either way I make ONE big mistake), it happens when I feel very nervous or when I don't feel that nervous at all. If I'm playing two or more pieces it usually happens in only one of them (I haven't been playing more than one piece that often).

I don't really understand this! It's like some kind of a curse or a disease or something! I think I could start having recitals where people could place their bets and try to guess in which part of the piece the big mistake is going to happen! I wonder what a picture of my brain (or EEG) would look like in those "big mistake" moments, I mean does my brain just freeze for a few seconds or something? And why it happens exactly once? (I'm hoping it's not going to start happening more than once now that I've said it!  :-X  :P ).

Does this happen to anyone else? Does anyone know why? Any advice?  :)

Offline Bob

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 06:37:41 PM »
Do more performance practicing.  Imagining it.  Other places to perform that are just as big of a deal for you.  Make a recording and trick your mind into considering that recording to be very important -- which it may be because you don't know who will hear it in the future.  And you'll have a good recording for later that way.

After that, the 'target' performance isn't that big of a deal.  You've already done it before. Already had success.  It's just another performance in a string of them. 

You could focus on being less nervous, doing more performances being one way.

Or better preparation.  See if there's anything common in all the gaps.  There might be some other way you can prepare, a different way of prepping the music, that will overcome those gaps, if they're gaps.  Brain freeze sounds like something to avoid though with practice.  It would be possible to mentally toughen up possibly to overcome brain freeze while it's happening -- If you've got it memorized/engrained enough so when brain freeze happens, you can think you're way out, that could be good.  Even lots of repetition can help -- Glue things together so if/when you zone out, your body will still play through on autopilot. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline mjames

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 07:14:52 PM »
You're just being uncomfortable with yourself when you're in front of people and the only way to cure that is to become more comfortable. Practice/play in front of people, in bars, malls, piano shops etc. Don't only play in public when you have recitals.  The more you play in front of friends/strangers the easier it'll get.

Offline Bob

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 09:19:51 PM »
Positive thinking too. The brain will believe whatever it's told.  If it sees the title of the thread... Then it will go along with that.

And for positive thinking I'd go with focusing on something about the music -- "This is the high point of the phrase." -- Instead of thinking, "I'm not going to screw up."


I suppose another positive spin on it -- You only make one mistake in each performance?  Eventually that'll be no mistakes then, right?  So already you have a track record of getting 99% during a performance.  And it's probably been improving along the way, so eventually that mistake will get whittled out too.    (Although the closer you get to perfection, the hard it will get I think.)
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline emill

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 03:42:05 AM »
I don't really understand this! It's like some kind of a curse or a disease or something!   :)

hello Little Tune! ;D

You are being too hard on yourself. It happens more often than you think.  Enzo, whom I consider to be an advanced student of the piano regularly has mistakes despite the fact that he has practiced the piece a "thousand times".  But he tries not to let these mistakes bother him that much despite his being a "perfectionist".  He just moves on and considers it part of the learning and growing process. And over the years, partly because of that attitude ... he seems more relaxed while playing and commits less mistakes. If you listen intently to some masters during live concerts you may pick out a few mistakes .... which a s a whole does not diminish a bit the performance. I am sure as you advance through the years this problem will diminish. 

So ... not to worry ... it is not a disease and it will diminish with time if coupled with the correct frame of mind.  GOOD LUCK!! ;D
member on behalf of my son, Lorenzo

Offline littletune

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 07:00:32 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies!!!  :)  8)

Yes I feel like I should play in front of other people more often too. Cause it would just become a normal thing and it wouldn't be such a big deal anymore.

And yes I'm sure it would help a lot if I could only concentrate on the music, but ... I don't really know how not to think about all the people around!
But yes I'm sure it could be even worse than one big mistake in each performance, there was this girl in my music school who would almost always get lost in the middle of a piece (or even in the beginning) and she just didn't know how to continue... and she would start from the beginning a few times and always get stuck in the same place so in the end she would just give up and stop playing. (and actually I sometimes get really scared that would happen to me too  :-\  ::) ).

hello Little Tune! ;D

You are being too hard on yourself. It happens more often than you think.  Enzo, whom I consider to be an advanced student of the piano regularly has mistakes despite the fact that he has practiced the piece a "thousand times".  But he tries not to let these mistakes bother him that much despite his being a "perfectionist".  He just moves on and considers it part of the learning and growing process. And over the years, partly because of that attitude ... he seems more relaxed while playing and commits less mistakes. If you listen intently to some masters during live concerts you may pick out a few mistakes .... which a s a whole does not diminish a bit the performance. I am sure as you advance through the years this problem will diminish. 

So ... not to worry ... it is not a disease and it will diminish with time if coupled with the correct frame of mind.  GOOD LUCK!! ;D

Hi Emill!  :) Well I guess it does happen to other people too, I just never notice any such big mistakes. I never notice that someone would have to stop completely in the middle of a piece, like I do. But well... I hope you're right and the mistakes will get less noticeable!  :P  :)
I mean it's really annoying cause I know I can play without mistakes but I just have to always make them anyway. Last month I played a piano duet for the first time and in the trio part I just got confused and couldn't catch up with the other girl, so it was kind of a mess, cause if there's someone else playing they don't wait for you to remember again what you're supposed to be playing and then it's even more difficult to continue. (I'm thinking about posting that video anyway even though that part was pretty embarrassing  :P ).

Well thanks again everyone!  :) I appreciate your comments and advice!  8)

Offline Bob

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 07:11:30 PM »
I suppose you could ask your teacher if you could go first.  Then it's done.  No wait time.  No anticipation to build up.

And then get to the performance space early and practice a bit to adjust the day of the event.  It's good to practice on the performance piano days ahead of time too so there are less surprises.



I've been able to talk myself out of nerves too.  It's not necessarily the greatest idea though.... if it involves knocking down your opinion of the audience.  Do you know them?  Will you see them again?  Do you really care that much about their opinion?  Do they really know that much about music?      The downside is realization and then thinking of the audience as being ignorant (which a lot of people are).  It reduces the impact of positive comments too.  "Great performance?  Thanks... but you really don't much about music, so your comment is really... uninformed and not very helpful.  But thanks anyway."
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline littletune

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 07:36:35 PM »
Yes i was wondering if that would be easier. To be the first one or at least more in the beginning... cause usually I am one of the last ones or at least in the second half of the recital.

And playing on the performance piano is a big problem too!! Usually I only try playing on it a few minutes before the recital starts and most of the time I can't even go through the whole piece cause there's no time and my teacher just stops me and says that I play well. But there were recitals where I couldn't even touch the piano before the recital! Which gives me a really bad feeling!

Well I usually try thinking that probably the people in the audience don't even really care about what or how I play cause they just wanna see their kids (cause usually the audience is mostly parents and grandparents and friends, except this last recital which was in the shopping centre), but... it works until I start playing... then I start playing and all of a sudden get really nervous, it's like: this is it! Now that I've started playing I can't stop anymore. And it really makes me feel like my life depends on it or something. I mean I know it doesn't, but it kinda makes me feel like it does I guess.  ::)  :)

Offline Bob

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #8 on: March 09, 2014, 09:32:00 PM »
I suppose you could try playing the piece cold on different pianos.  If there's a college with lots of pianos nearby and you can get it in.  Go down a hall of pianos and play the piece on each one.  Getting a couple hours on the performance a day or two ahead of time sounds reasonable though.  Definitely helps with nerves.

The only other thing I'm thinking of is getting more control.  Easier said than done though.  Control being where you understand the piece enough to where you can change it if you wanted to.  Change a chord, change the melody.  Know exactly what's going on in the piece for that the whole time.  If the piece is ingrained and learned long enough ago that you don't have to think about it, I think there's something that can happen where you just start it off and then watch your hands play.  Not necessarily bad, since that can glue it together.  But then the mental game comes in where you don't want to think about it too much in case something you're thinking influences the 'autopilot' the wrong way.  So maybe analyzing the piece more would help. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline iansinclair

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 10:13:56 PM »
For me at least it was almost always due to a lapse in concentration -- my mind (which is incorrigible, but I have to live with it) would momentarily think of something else.  It might be the audience (for me, the congregation).  It might be that devastating thought -- which verse of the hymn are we on?  It might be what I plan to buy for lunch on the way home.  It might be...  but always a lapse in concentration.

If you can work on two things: ignoring the audience completely and pushing the rest of your life out of your mind; think only of the piece at hand -- it will help.  Some.  So will just doing it more.

And don't worry about it.  We all make mistakes!
Ian

Offline littletune

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 04:11:46 PM »

The only other thing I'm thinking of is getting more control.  Easier said than done though.  Control being where you understand the piece enough to where you can change it if you wanted to.  Change a chord, change the melody.  Know exactly what's going on in the piece for that the whole time.  If the piece is ingrained and learned long enough ago that you don't have to think about it, I think there's something that can happen where you just start it off and then watch your hands play.  Not necessarily bad, since that can glue it together.  But then the mental game comes in where you don't want to think about it too much in case something you're thinking influences the 'autopilot' the wrong way.  So maybe analyzing the piece more would help. 
Yes I'm sure that would help. to have more control and to be able to just change it a little, but for now I don't think I could do that, specially cause I just kind of freeze for a moment and don't have any idea what i'm supposed to be doing. And yes it's not good to think too much while you're playing. If I start thinking too much about what I'm doing I get completely confused!  :P It's good to think but not while you're playing piano!  :P specially not during a recital!!!  :)

For me at least it was almost always due to a lapse in concentration -- my mind (which is incorrigible, but I have to live with it) would momentarily think of something else.  It might be the audience (for me, the congregation).  It might be that devastating thought -- which verse of the hymn are we on?  It might be what I plan to buy for lunch on the way home.  It might be...  but always a lapse in concentration.

If you can work on two things: ignoring the audience completely and pushing the rest of your life out of your mind; think only of the piece at hand -- it will help.  Some.  So will just doing it more.

And don't worry about it.  We all make mistakes!

Thank you for your comment!!  :) Yes I guess it is about concentration for me too. My teacher says I'm sometimes too confused.  :P There's just too many things going on in my mind sometimes!  :) Thank you for your advice!  :)  8)

Offline littletune

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 06:18:41 PM »
Well I had a recital on Sunday and ... I didn't make any huge mistakes!!!  :)  :P but... I was playing a duet (which is a little less scary) and we were playing it for the second time and we did make quite a few little mistakes...  :P but I was really happy I got through the "trio" part which I completely messed up the last time. I didn't watch the video of the recital yet so I don't know how bad the little mistakes sounded but I am happy I didn't get lost in the middle of the piece or something like that. I have a little more hope now  :P
Thanks again to everyone for making me feel better about my mistakes, maybe that helped too!  :)

Offline birba

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 10:09:09 PM »
I wish i could say i always make ONE big mistake in my recital...

Offline littletune

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Re: I ALWAYS make one big mistake in recitals!
«Reply #13 on: April 04, 2014, 07:19:14 PM »
I wish i could say i always make ONE big mistake in my recital...


Hi Birba :) I'm sure you don't make the kind of mistakes that I make!! I'm talking about huge mistakes that everyone can notice, because you have to stop for a while or you keep hitting all the wrong keys or something like that. I don't even count the little mistakes where you can keep playing like nothing happened, i make a lot of those!  :P