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Embarassing concert stories (Read 690 times)

Offline lelle

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Embarassing concert stories
« on: February 07, 2021, 01:36:55 AM »
Welcome to my thread for sharing stories about embarassing/weird things you have done during a piano performance! During these covid times, we could all use a laugh, so if you got a story, feel free to share it here ;D I'll start:

I have always felt pretty awkward about bowing after playing. Back when I had recently just turned 20 I performed the Chopin Polonaise in f sharp minor Op. 44. When I had finished the piece and stood up to bow, I had the idea that I should put my hand on my heart to show how moved and grateful I was for the applause from the audience. Or something. What actually ended up happening was that I grabbed my ribs under my left  man-boob (non-existent since I am a skinny guy) as if to direct everyone's attention to it, and my hand moves so decisively, right as I stand up, so it looks like it's something totally deliberate I have planned and rehearsed to do. As I do this I take a few steps towards the audience and take an awkward bow, hand still clasped to my ribs right under my boob. I did not realize how ridiculous my post-performance man-boob grabbing antics looked until I watched a video of that performance together with my girlfriend many years later, and we hade a hearty good laugh about it!

That's all I got for now, please share your own stories below :D



Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #1 on: February 07, 2021, 01:48:34 AM »
Here are a few:

When I was a kid I competed in a talent quest and I made a mistake. I didn't realize the microphone was close enough to project me saying "sh*T!!".

I played a little concert at the hotel we were staying at in Turkey since the roads were flooded and we couldn't get out. As I played some of the hammers started snapping off inside the piano.

I was one of the award winners (sitting in the audience) at a music eisteddfod presentation night. One winners was performing for us and made a mistake she couldn't recover from. She kept making the mistake and looked very frustrated and nervous. Someone shouted out supportively "It's ok honey, keep going" which made her try again, fail, cry and run off stage. Awkward...but later on that evening when she accepted her prizes everyone cheered for her louder than for anyone else which was nice.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #2 on: February 07, 2021, 03:50:27 AM »
I was one of the award winners (sitting in the audience) at a music eisteddfod presentation night. One winners was performing for us and made a mistake she couldn't recover from. She kept making the mistake and looked very frustrated and nervous. Someone shouted out supportively "It's ok honey, keep going" which made her try again, fail, cry and run off stage. Awkward...but later on that evening when she accepted her prizes everyone cheered for her louder than for anyone else which was nice.

OMG, that's awful.  Yeah, that makes me cringe a bit in sympathy, but it seems it turned out OK.

Yeah, I don't have anything much:  just as that awkward young teenager stage when you think the way you sit at the piano bench makes you think it looks like you're having a "private moment," or pitching a tent.  Not really an issue during graded performances on stage but in more intimate surroundings. 

I think that's when I figured out that being on the stage is actually kind of better, in many ways, than playing for very small groups of people.  As a consequence, I don't remember having been embarassed much on stage:  just load up, play your stuff, and in a magnanimous mood, maybe even give a nice smile to the audience!  They have no idea what's going on up on stage:  only what they can see, which isn't much!

Oh.  At least two vivid times, and one not that long ago, sitting in on "open blues jams" using somebody else's equipment, yeah, you know where this is going.  "Blues in C, quick change!" and the rest of the band's playing in A and the d*ckhead house keyboardist turned the volume all the way up on his stage gear.  Only way I got around that latest (I don't know, a few years ago, in some hillbilly bar out in the sticks) is that I knew immediately how to fix it.

And, as a bonus, got the respect of at least the bass player, who knew I could read off his fretboard as well as just....knowing, obviously, but without having to plink around a bit but get straight to TCB.  And the rest of the band.  Who were pretty tight, really.

Got to wake up earlier in the morning to fool me! 

Trust, but verify.

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Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #3 on: February 07, 2021, 04:04:46 AM »
I remember a friend of a friend who was playing in Year 12 for a talent competition. His piece was the Militaire March by Chopin, however he had the entire piece (all 8 pages) photocopied and stuck together with tape hovering on the music ledge.

He got HALF WAY through the first page when a slight burst of air knocked the music off the ledge and onto his hands as he was playing, which he attempted to continue playing through despite the music covering his hands. This lasted for about 3 seconds before he used his right hand to throw the music over his shoulder and attempt to play from memory.

It did not go well - felt sorry for the guy. I guess playing from memory is easier for some than others.

Online ted

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #4 on: February 07, 2021, 04:05:54 AM »
In the days when my father ran the classified advertisements in the Herald the promoters used to dish out complimentary tickets. In this case Dad and I had plum seats for Julius Katchen, right up close. During the Waldstein slow movement somebody in the front row let out a long, resounding fart. He must have heard it but he didn't let on. I nearly broke up laughing but Dad's gaze sobered me.
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Offline anacrusis

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #5 on: February 10, 2021, 09:17:45 PM »
Fun thread!  ;D

When I was around 12 or so I was going to perform together with the other kids in my teachers' class. During the performancce before me I suddenly started bleeding copiously from my nose. This situtation was saved by a large piece of toilet paper from the bathroom stuffed into my nose, but right after that I had to walk up on the stage and play. I don't think this is embarassing anymore but at that age I was mortified. ;D To add insult to injury the teacher announced that I had a little accident and I was thinking like "gaaah don't draw any more attention to this I already got a big paper thingy sticking out from my nose"  ;D

Online getsiegs

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #6 on: February 11, 2021, 05:24:16 PM »
I was playing for judges from memory during a recital a few years ago and one of the pieces on my program was Mozart Sonata in B-flat Major K. 333. At the LAST LINE of the first movement, my memory completely failed and I couldn't remember the last four measures. Instead of just playing a V-I and calling it a day, I started from the top of the last page and made my way back down to the same spot, only to completely blank AGAIN. Funny looking back at it, pretty awful in the moment.

A more lighthearted story - I was playing two short pieces for a community music night event, and I had to use a Roland electric piano. For some reason I was moving my hands a lot and hit some of the buttons; during the first piece I accidentally turned on the super loud built-in metronome and during the second I managed to turn the sound from piano to organ.  ;D

Offline lelle

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #7 on: February 11, 2021, 10:32:33 PM »
Here are a few:

When I was a kid I competed in a talent quest and I made a mistake. I didn't realize the microphone was close enough to project me saying "sh*T!!".


That's great  ;D

In the days when my father ran the classified advertisements in the Herald the promoters used to dish out complimentary tickets. In this case Dad and I had plum seats for Julius Katchen, right up close. During the Waldstein slow movement somebody in the front row let out a long, resounding fart. He must have heard it but he didn't let on. I nearly broke up laughing but Dad's gaze sobered me.

Though I'm 28 years of age mentally I'm probably around 12 as things like this make me cackle from my belly  ;D


A more lighthearted story - I was playing two short pieces for a community music night event, and I had to use a Roland electric piano. For some reason I was moving my hands a lot and hit some of the buttons; during the first piece I accidentally turned on the super loud built-in metronome and during the second I managed to turn the sound from piano to organ.  ;D

Haha fantastic, how was that received? Did anyone comment on that afterwards?  :D


If I may make one request to potential future posters in this thread, I'd like if we focus on personal stories about things that happen to ourselves rather than others. I feel better about laughing with someone who is laughing at themselves rather than laughing at someone who may not even be aware of their story being shared  :)

Online getsiegs

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #8 on: February 12, 2021, 03:54:17 PM »
Haha fantastic, how was that received? Did anyone comment on that afterwards?  :D

Thankfully both times I turned the sounds off almost immediately and no one from the audience said anything. I did laugh about it with my parents afterwards, though.  :)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Embarassing concert stories
«Reply #9 on: February 15, 2021, 02:18:17 AM »
OMG, that's awful.  Yeah, that makes me cringe a bit in sympathy, but it seems it turned out OK.
Yes, very cringey moment. I've seen it a handful of times in competitions, they just run off stage embarassed at their errors. It is a little sad because we should really embrace those who stuff up on stage, every serious performer has done it at some point in time and no one is immune to it. That is why I think we all cheered so loud when she went up to collect her prize, she really was a great pianist and deserved the accolades, she just had a bad day which anyone can have.

I remember a friend of a friend who was playing in Year 12 for a talent competition. His piece was the Militaire March by Chopin, however he had the entire piece (all 8 pages) photocopied and stuck together with tape hovering on the music ledge.

He got HALF WAY through the first page when a slight burst of air knocked the music off the ledge and onto his hands as he was playing, which he attempted to continue playing through despite the music covering his hands. This lasted for about 3 seconds before he used his right hand to throw the music over his shoulder and attempt to play from memory.

It did not go well - felt sorry for the guy. I guess playing from memory is easier for some than others.
Awww poor guy, it would have been fun if it was something planned and put into the act :P

In the days when my father ran the classified advertisements in the Herald the promoters used to dish out complimentary tickets. In this case Dad and I had plum seats for Julius Katchen, right up close. During the Waldstein slow movement somebody in the front row let out a long, resounding fart. He must have heard it but he didn't let on. I nearly broke up laughing but Dad's gaze sobered me.
Oh no lol. Perhaps some disgruntled husband who was forced to attend with his wife. I remember when we were preparing a show at school, our teacher told us to keep going no matter what interruptions occur (because it's a school production with student families invited there is usually little babies crying or all sorts of distractions). One of the nights the fire alarm malfunctioned and went off for about 2 minutes, no one could hear a thing but we just kept going on. I remember playing piano solo in primary school and a few kids were talking in the front row and shoving each other around while I was playing so I stopped and told them to be quiet.

When I was around 12 or so I was going to perform together with the other kids in my teachers' class. During the performancce before me I suddenly started bleeding copiously from my nose. This situtation was saved by a large piece of toilet paper from the bathroom stuffed into my nose, but right after that I had to walk up on the stage and play. I don't think this is embarassing anymore but at that age I was mortified. ;D To add insult to injury the teacher announced that I had a little accident and I was thinking like "gaaah don't draw any more attention to this I already got a big paper thingy sticking out from my nose"  ;D
LOL! Some people get very queasy when it comes to blood. I used to get blood noses a lot as a kid too, I can remember at a friends house I had thrown some bloody tissues into their toilet but forgot to flush it. The mum saw it and fainted.

I was playing for judges from memory during a recital a few years ago and one of the pieces on my program was Mozart Sonata in B-flat Major K. 333. At the LAST LINE of the first movement, my memory completely failed and I couldn't remember the last four measures. Instead of just playing a V-I and calling it a day, I started from the top of the last page and made my way back down to the same spot, only to completely blank AGAIN. Funny looking back at it, pretty awful in the moment.
It is an awful feeling and it can even happen with something you have practiced for a long time and know very well! Everyone has experienced it at some point usually during their practice sessions, it is so annoying when it occurs during a performance. Anyone who has performed a lot by memory would have experienced it in performance at least more than one time, we just have to train to play through them to cause as little disruption as possible which can be challenging on stage when it feels like you have been thrown into freezing water all of a sudden and need to fight for survival.

A more lighthearted story - I was playing two short pieces for a community music night event, and I had to use a Roland electric piano. For some reason I was moving my hands a lot and hit some of the buttons; during the first piece I accidentally turned on the super loud built-in metronome and during the second I managed to turn the sound from piano to organ.  ;D
OMG that it one of my fears when I play on a digital piano. I remember in one competition for a major charity organization in my state (I got beaten by a robot dancer in the finals so I didnt get to go on TV :( ) I was playing my digital piano and during a difficult part I accidently pressed a different instrument sound. My piano sounded like marimbas for a few seconds. The same occured during a highschool presentation night, I had to play while people went up to collect their certificates, my finger clipped a instrument change button so the piano sounded like some artifical flute. There should really be like a lock button so even if you press something while playing it doesn't do anything!

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