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Why do pianists perform for audiences? (Read 736 times)

Offline kittenyarn

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Why do pianists perform for audiences?
« on: April 04, 2021, 01:45:43 PM »
Hiii! I'm wondering what drives pianists to perform in front of audiences? I'm thinking, don't you get terribly nervous when you need to play super hard pieces in front of many, many people? Feeling nervous feels really awful, or at least I think so. I like feeling relaxed and happy playing in my room. Maybe great pianists don't get very nervous? Or do they enjoy it?

Offline ranjit

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #1 on: April 04, 2021, 02:18:52 PM »
They like the experience of eliciting emotion in the audience.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #2 on: April 04, 2021, 03:30:12 PM »
I think Hamelin put it quite well here:
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Online j_tour

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #3 on: April 04, 2021, 03:40:56 PM »
They like the experience of eliciting emotion in the audience.

I misread that at first as "slicing emotion in the audience."

For me, there is an element of enjoyment in controlling the audience.  It's not quite an assault upon them, although it can be, but wielding a kind of strange power that has few analogs in other areas of life is satisfying.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #4 on: April 04, 2021, 04:49:33 PM »
Yes, professional pianists can have performance anxiety. Two with severe anxiety were Horowitz and Argerich.  Horowitz had to be pushed onstage. Previously, Argerich was known to self-abuse so that the performance would be cancelled; I believe she now just performs as part of an ensemble. 

Why did they perform anyway? They would need to answer but I suspect the positive of sharing music outweighed the anxiety.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 07:59:45 PM »
I used to do it because I enjoyed the "charge" you feel when playing on stage, even if it also means you are nervous beforehand. You get to really feel that you are alive, so to speak, and you almost have no choice but to surrender to the moment because the experience can be so strong. I also liked feeling like I was communicating the audience and actively making choices on how to play to get the feelings I wanted to convey across. I think most pianists get nervous, some of them terribly so, but that intensity is also part of what makes it appealing. There are few other experiences available where you can get the same feeling.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #6 on: April 08, 2021, 11:52:09 AM »
From a movie you should all watch:

Quote
The Elwood Blues I know once said that no pharmaceutical product could ever equal the rush you get when the band hits that groove; the people are dancin', and shoutin', and swayin'; and the house is rockin'!
Tim

Offline kittenyarn

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #7 on: April 09, 2021, 10:04:19 AM »
I think I understand a bit better now. But I still have a difficult time picturing why anybody would want to be nervous and risk messing up in front of so many people  :o It just sounds so terrifying.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #8 on: April 09, 2021, 02:05:38 PM »
I can see that.

I don't see myself as a soloist.  I enjoy being part of an ensemble.  It changes the dynamics somewhat when you're contributing to the whole, rather than trying to be the star. 
Tim

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #9 on: April 12, 2021, 08:27:46 PM »
I know a lot of people who prefer playing in ensembles because nerves are less of a problem in that setting for them. I used to prefer playing solo though because it's just something about sitting there and sharing your heart to the audience that appealed to me, and I don't like having to depend on the other players to do so. But you can get quite nervous at times ;D

Online j_tour

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #10 on: April 14, 2021, 01:52:15 AM »
I know a lot of people who prefer playing in ensembles because nerves are less of a problem in that setting for them.

That's probably true for most people.  There's a kind of safety in numbers, and a sense of camaraderie and co÷peration, ideally, tending toward presenting the best version of an ensemble piece to the audience.

On the flip side, the worst side, there's sometimes a competitiveness:  that can be positive, but it just depends.

I find it hard to generalize among so many different ways of performing in an ensemble, but among the right musicians, the co÷perative effort can be soothing and reinforcing of the impulse of each performer to add to the whole.

Then again, it can be just the opposite.

That's a bit of an obvious statement, but whether solo or with a sympathetic group, the goal is the same:  the attention is not directed inwardly, but to presenting an experience for the audience.

That, in itself, is the best remedy for nerves, I've found.

That is, once one is very confident and secure in the music, even if it's not rehearsed or written down.  That's a given, I should think.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #11 on: April 14, 2021, 11:56:59 AM »

I find it hard to generalize among so many different ways of performing in an ensemble, but among the right musicians, the co÷perative effort can be soothing and reinforcing of the impulse of each performer to add to the whole.

Then again, it can be just the opposite.

Yup, definitely.  A lot of that is the attitude we bring to the ensemble.

But sometimes it's the attitude of someone else in it, and sometimes you just vote with your feet and go elsewhere.

One issue here is your personal skill level.  As you improve you can get into better groups, or get called for better gigs.  But when your skill level is low, so too are the skill levels of the others, and they will annoy you no end by playing out of tune, ignoring dynamics, getting lost, etc.  If you let them, you do have control over your reactions. 
Tim

Offline kittenyarn

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #12 on: April 17, 2021, 11:27:08 PM »
Oooh that make sense that some pianists play in ensembles instead, I didn't think about that. I assume not all pianists play as soloists on stages and so on?

Online j_tour

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #13 on: April 18, 2021, 01:40:17 AM »
I assume not all pianists play as soloists on stages and so on?

I think that would be a safe assumption. 

Surely you've encountered chamber music, concerti, and so forth?

Like so:

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline lelle

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #14 on: April 21, 2021, 10:39:29 PM »
It's not an entirely unfounded question. I grew up in a family that had no outstanding musical talents (apart from me of course huehuehue), let alone connections in the music world. All I knew of what pianists did was making recordings and performing on stage. And teach, I guess, but I thought teachers taught and performers performed. I don't think I realized chamber music existed or how much of it there was until many, many years after I started playing.

Online j_tour

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #15 on: April 22, 2021, 03:56:03 AM »
It's not an entirely unfounded question. I grew up in a family that had no outstanding musical talents (apart from me of course huehuehue), let alone connections in the music world. All I knew of what pianists did was making recordings and performing on stage. And teach, I guess, but I thought teachers taught and performers performed. I don't think I realized chamber music existed or how much of it there was until many, many years after I started playing.

I think that's fascinating. 

Yes, maybe in the sense that reading autobiographies and such is, but I'm fairly sure that's interesting to a number of other people as well.

Yeah, similarly, although I grew up in a family which was kind of "once removed."  The third generation immigrants from the old sod were all musicians, and back in the day when such things mattered, it extended via tendrils down to me.  Still have the old walking stick, and the fiddle and bow from way back.  The other side, well, it doesn't matter.

But yes, I find it difficult to really "feel' the moments when as a younger person I heard the first really good music.  Neither of my parents played...they were sort of stunted hippies.  Still are, really, bless them.

And a lot of it was off those Philips recordings of solo piano from the small-town public library, which was great.  Or just old-time folk tunes primarily designed for solo piano.  Just like those old records of Lightnin' Hopkins on solo guitar and others, it wasn't always designed or played with collaboration in mind.

Yeah.  I would say it wasn't until my late teens that I even figured out that keyboard instruments had some depth.

Yeah, I'd accompanied singers and stuff, but that was just teenage "coffee house" Andrew Lloyd Webber type stuff, or copying John Paul Jones's stuff from the Led Zeppelin albums, when I wasn't trying to copy Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, or Freddie King on guitar.

It is kind of humbling to remember what it was like "back in the day," but I had that problem as a teaching assistant in grad school, when I was maybe five years older than my students.  Like "What?  How the *** should I know!  Just write your paper and then we'll fix it!"

;D
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline lelle

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #16 on: April 22, 2021, 09:45:27 PM »
Back in my days (the 90's) we still wrote on papers in school. I don't know how much kids these days do that  ;D

Online j_tour

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #17 on: April 22, 2021, 10:16:36 PM »
Back in my days (the 90's) we still wrote on papers in school. I don't know how much kids these days do that  ;D

Oh, like a professor might distribute a small notebook as an exam and require each student to write substantive prose in response to a question or series of questions?

Yeah, I remember taking those kinds of exams with some fondness.  One learns to handwrite quickly and legibly very well, which is a nice skill.

But I'm fairly sure even today undergraduate students are often assigned essays of greater or shorter length to be composed at home, to be presented in a typed form with various formatting requirements.

Depends on the course, but I find it hard to believe that's changed in the past, say, fifteen or thirty years. 

Often written with a completely execrable style, usage at odds with mainstream conventions, even basic grammar.  To say nothing of the content.

And some luckless twenty-something teaching assistant "gets to" extract maximum punishment for the sins of the students. 

Not really, but I knew some who were absolutely vicious and unyielding, for probably perverse reasons.  At least if it's typewritten, there are nice big margins to express one's paternalistic wrath in a bright red pen.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #18 on: April 25, 2021, 10:50:25 PM »
Chamber music can be a lot of fun if you play with people you gel with!

Offline chomaninoff1

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Re: Why do pianists perform for audiences?
«Reply #19 on: May 04, 2021, 07:06:36 AM »


Krystian Zimerman on nervousness
https://youtu.be/ALDzxU452gA?t=1808