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Thread: Playing in front of an audience

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    Default Playing in front of an audience

    Hello, I have been composing recently some pieces and recorded 2 albums and for the first time of my life, I am going to play these in a concert in a music hall in Summer time.

    I have played in front of people several times but usually never more than 15 min and I have never been able to play without making some mistakes...I get better with time but it is still rather unpredictible...and I am actually pretty nervous to have to play a full hour...I am sure I will make mistakes

    Would you have any tips to provide for me to practise before the concert?

    Sorry if the thread is not in the right category, I didn't know where to post it

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    Good topic!! And a rather huge one....so many aspects...so, briefly -
    Playing in front of an audience, esp for the first few times, is exciting and challenging.
    Always look forward positively, that you are going to provide the audience with a rewarding, enjoyable musical experience..concentrate your efforts on playing musically, expressively, to communicate your performance to the listeners.
    Do not worry about making mistakes - practice carefully, diligently, work difficult passages out slowly, methodically. So that they becone automatically accurate (do not practice mistakes!!)....if you are playing musically, energetically, a mistake is not going to have much effect....IOW - concentrate on the positive - expressive, good phrasing, dynamics, etc....don't worry about the negative....
    A practical suggestion - have some friends over and play for them - some, or all of your performance pieces....it's informal, friendly, you should get some good feedback. It'll also help you become accustomed to performing for an audience....
    Best of luck, I'm sure you'll do well!!

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    Regarding "nerves" , nervousness...it is natural, to be expected....
    Use it, you want that energy, that alertness to perform well, but you don't want to "get in your own way".
    Try different things to lessen the excess nervousness, people try all sorts of different approaches..but keep in mind, nerves are part of it...and you will learn to make the nerves work for you.
    Open the program with a piece you like, with which you are comfortable....this gets you off to a good start, and settles you down...you want to get in the groove, and go....concentrating on playing expressively and musically will get you there...

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    It is interesting in how I got over my nerves. Prior to being a bandsman in the Army I used to be a nervous wreak when I had to play a solo. While I was in the service I averaged having to play two to three times a week. One of my gigs was playing bassoon with a woodwind quintet. During my tour of duty I probably played several hundred gigs including some where I had to sight read the music. By the time I was discharged I was over the nervousness.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    Arpeggio - yes, once you be one a steady performer, the problem can be not enough nerves...too relaxed....you want to have that "edge", the alertness, the energy....if you're performing 7, 8 or more services a week, it becomes a challenge to get "up" for the gig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume80 View Post
    Hello, I have been composing recently some pieces and recorded 2 albums and for the first time of my life, I am going to play these in a concert in a music hall in Summer time.

    I have played in front of people several times but usually never more than 15 min and I have never been able to play without making some mistakes...I get better with time but it is still rather unpredictible...and I am actually pretty nervous to have to play a full hour...I am sure I will make mistakes

    Would you have any tips to provide for me to practise before the concert?

    Sorry if the thread is not in the right category, I didn't know where to post it
    What would you have done without the internet?
    Come-one you can do it.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    What would you have done without the internet?
    Come-one you can do it.
    The good thing is that since these are all my own pieces, nobody knows them so nobody will judge...the only one that may be disappointed might be me because I like what I play and I would like that people feel the emotion I am putting in the music...

    But thanks all for your comment. I believe starting with the piece that I have the most under control is a good idea. It will help me gain confidence...
    50min of piano, isn't it too long? Should I make some breaks? Maybe I can also relax by explaining some of the songs to the audience, where they come from...

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    Yes, take a break...a 15' or so intermission gives everyone a break....this would make the performance c 1 hr 20' or so....
    If you feel comfortable, some well-chosen words about the music would be most welcome...keep it to the point...the audience generally loves some verbal program notes, but don't deliver a musicology lecture.

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    If you can, play a little on the actual instrument you will be using on the day of the performance. Even if it is just a few scales, it helps to have something familiar since the people and lighting usually are not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume80 View Post
    The good thing is that since these are all my own pieces, nobody knows them so nobody will judge...the only one that may be disappointed might be me because I like what I play and I would like that people feel the emotion I am putting in the music...

    But thanks all for your comment. I believe starting with the piece that I have the most under control is a good idea. It will help me gain confidence...
    50min of piano, isn't it too long? Should I make some breaks? Maybe I can also relax by explaining some of the songs to the audience, where they come from...
    You see, in the end it goes well, all the best and break a leg.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    Regarding "nerves" , nervousness...it is natural, to be expected....Open the program with a piece you like, with which you are comfortable....
    As a professional organist I can relate to the above. For my programs I always started with a piece that I knew backwards and forwards, it was a favorite of mine, and one that I knew I could do precisely correct with no mistakes.

    IMHO, concert goers seem to remember the first and last pieces of a program they attend. Do those well and everything else in the middle will likely follow suite and be just as good.

    Kh

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    Hi,

    You need to keep in mind that people doesn't usually hears you errors: not a lot of people in the hall/room played instrument.If you're making little intonation errors, nobody will notice because not a lot of people have relative or perfect pitch. Also, they don't have the score.
    Remember, an audience are looking for beautiful and melodious passages, they are not checking if you make errors.
    If you want to be almost sure that you don't make errors, you need to work 2 months a piece that you've played a thousand of time.

    Cheers

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    I like the post about nerves and channeling that into a positive result. There is good nervousness and bad. One thing I THINK helped me as a young soloist 45+ years ago was I started using an old (well they're ALL old now) reel to reel tape machine when I played. Then I wound up calming the nerves by imagining I was just playing to the machine to record myself. Anyway, it seemed to work, and then for the next 45 years I developed OCS about taping EVERYTHING (school band concerts I conducted, bands/orchestras I played in, etc.). I still do it with a cassette machine but don't think it calms the solo nerves as much for some reason at age 65....
    Last edited by TMHeimer; Feb-29-2020 at 00:36.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMHeimer View Post
    I like the post about nerves and channeling that into a positive result. There is good nervousness and bad....
    For sure - you want some "nervousness", some edge, it gives you the alertness, the concentration, the energy....you don't want so much that it gets in your way....fatigue, lack of nervousness can be troublesome also. All professionals will face this at some point, you end up playing on "automatic pilot"... over some 55 years or so of performing in public, I realized that developing, fine-tuning your mental state before performing was of great, even crucial importance....it takes time to develop...Jay Friedman (long time trombone I CSO) said you need to prepare and develop <<confidence and concentration>>
    Prepare thoroughly, so you have confidence that you can play everything perfectly, as long as you concentrate!! The two work together if prepared properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heck148 View Post
    For sure - you want some "nervousness", some edge, it gives you the alertness, the concentration, the energy....you don't want so much that it gets in your way....fatigue, lack of nervousness can be troublesome also. All professionals will face this at some point, you end up playing on "automatic pilot"... over some 55 years or so of performing in public, I realized that developing, fine-tuning your mental state before performing was of great, even crucial importance....it takes time to develop...Jay Friedman (long time trombone I CSO) said you need to prepare and develop <<confidence and concentration>>
    Prepare thoroughly, so you have confidence that you can play everything perfectly, as long as you concentrate!! The two work together if prepared properly.
    I agree. I think it is also important to solo perform at least somewhat regularly. When I was doing that for decades it seemed more natural with less nervousness. Now that I solo with the band usually once every other year, it is not part of my routine, thus can be a bit nerve racking. Being the principal of my section, the expectation of fine playing also causes some pressure.
    Last edited by TMHeimer; May-22-2020 at 22:15.
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