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Thread: Performing Piano (solo)

  1. #1
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    Default Performing Piano (solo)

    I have been considering trying to do a solo piano performance later this year (I have never done solo piano performances, but am an experienced performer), but I have a few questions about it.

    How good do you need to be to consider doing a solo piano performance? Is it fine to be a reasonable standard, or is it a concert-standard pianists only kind of thing? Also, how long to play for? What venues should I consider? What kind of repertoire to play?

    Any help with these questions would be great.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    Do You expect people other then Your closest family and friends to pay to hear You? Then You need to be fairly good!

    If You do it for free, You still need to be reasonably good, no one really wants to hear someone play lots of mistakes.. So the bottom line is, be well prepared! And don't give in after Your first try, most performers need many times to get a good feel for sitting there alone (It took me at least half a dozen attempts!)

    If this is Your first time, I suggest planning for a "Lunch" recital of about 30-45 mins (2X45 for a regular recital). In most decently populated areas the place with the most accessible "public" instruments (Grand Piano) will be the local church or school (assembly hall). Many churches have Lunch concert series, My local church f.x. have one almost every non holiday Friday and the musical faire they stage is very wide, from Gregorian singing to avant jazz and electronic music installations, but most often someone playing the organ or their Grand Piano. Get acquainted/involved with the music people of Your community and they might have better local input!

    If You consider renting a venue, look for the one where they maintain a good instrument, check their billboard/booking to find out if the instrument is used often, ask when the instrument what tuned last, if You can't get a pin point answer, then this is a sign that they may neglect the instrument, ask for the phone number of their regular piano tuner/technician because he/she will be able to tell You the health of the instrument.. If You have Your own acoustic piano, talk to the piano tuner You employ, they will most often have through knowledge and/or contacts that can shed light on the health instruments in Your area!

    As for what to play, bas it on music You know well, pieces You can play by heart, if You go the "Lunch" route keep it Capricious and light without being trivial, the war horses from Bach on to our day's will always work, a themed mix will always work even if it's "just" music You love! One thing not to forget is presenting the music You aim to play, if You can do this aurally (public speaking), it is something that elevates any performance!

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Think first and foremost about who the audience is. Who are they, how will they find out about you, and why will they want to come hear you?
    Concert series like ptr mentions often have their own built-in regular audiences. This is great. But the larger and more supportive the regular audience, the more artists want to play there, so the more competitive it is.
    The people who can attract large paying audiences from the general public who don't know the pianist personally, and aren't already regulars at the concert series or the church or whatever, are always people with excellent skills and beyond-excellent PR. These tend to be career soloists with agents.
    A good first experience with solo performance IS a performance designed to be for just a few family and friends. In fact, this is also the best way to get ready for a big public performance: perform it privately for a few special people a couple times first.
    If you really want to develop a regular habit of solo performance, your audience will begin with these family and friends and other connections you have to people who enjoy your playing -- you'll know all the names -- and then they will tell people and those people will tell people. How good would you have to be? Good enough for them to tell people. Or good enough to attract a good agent
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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    I was thinking of playing pieces like Rachmaninoff Prelude Op.3 and Op.23 no.5 and Alkan's Nocturne Op.22. Is this a bit heavy for a lunchtime recital and would pieces like Debussy - Clair de Lune and Chopin - Waltz Op.34 be lighter and more suitable? Any suggestions for good pieces (I only really play Romantic and early 20thC piano) I feel as though those latter two are not strong enough pieces for a solo performance maybe? It would be nice to figure out exactly what to play now so I can spend the spring and early summer playing the pieces a lot.

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    At the amateur level, I doubt your family and friends will *really* care what you play, as long as you play it well. I usually just play whatever I've been working on, sometimes reworking old pieces if I'm in a crunch. Have fun!

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