Help Playing in front of Others

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:13 am

"What you are doing in the practice room is analyzing *why* you made a mistake and addressing that issue. Basically, not letting yourself get away with making the mistake...or at least finding a way to musically get back on track should that mistake happen in performance. Often it is because something in that place where the mistake happened is unclear to you."

My teacher sort of off-handedly said that I probably thought I was clear on the fingering of a passage when in fact I wasn't; so I muffed it. True. Easy enough to spend some time working with the passage. His point was that the passage may not be too technically challenging, but simply not well understood. I would think, almost unconsciously, 'oh yeah I can play that' and not spend time analyzing it, and so muff it over and over.

I'm very happy that I'm making progress with playing in front of my teacher, in terms of 'nerves'. After all, a lesson is not a performance. It's more of a study session. There is discussion. A back and forth. My issue was never about hurt feelings when something I was doing wrong is pointed out. Just the opposite. This is what's so irrational about nerves. I could care less what people think. It's something else...who knows?
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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Mr Kite » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:48 am

Caring what you think of yourself, maybe - although I have to say I think we all tend to kid ourselves about how much or little we care what other people think.

I keep meaning to do mental practice but somehow I never get round to it - I guess that would help with "oh yeah I can play that" syndrome.

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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by Hyrtsi » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:42 pm

I had some problems in performing some years back. Just performing more made me aware of the problem and how to fix it.

First, you have to accept the feeling. Then, just be exposed often: play to your friends, family, neighbors, go out and perform a lot! I promise that after some time it gets easier.

Another thing is to be okay with any mistakes. The audience probably does not notice them as you do.

Having your technique and your repertoire mastered makes you more comfortable. As a beginner the nervousness made me "forget" all the technique since I did not master it well enough.

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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by lagartija » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:57 pm

Tom Poore wrote: I doubt anyone believes it’s possible to always play without mistakes. Concert artists know they’ll make mistakes on stage, and they practice recovering from mistakes as smoothly as possible. But mistake free playing is a goal any serious player must strive for in the practice room. It’s a truism every serious player knows: if I can’t do it in the relaxed solitude of my practice room, then I can’t do it under the pressurized gaze of an audience. Good practicers hold themselves to the highest standard of accuracy in the practice room. That’s clearly implied by the Jason Vieaux quote cited earlier in this discussion. (If Vieaux hits only 80% of what he wants on stage, then imagine how much more accurate he is during practice.)

Mistake free practice is no illusion. Rather, it’s the cornerstone of effective practice. Ignore it at your peril.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
I will revise Jason Vieaux's quote. As of a masterclass last night (where I did not perform the piece as well as I had hoped and practiced :oops: (Although I did fine in the rest of the session), His words to me were: "Sometimes if you set the bar unrealistically high for the performance, that can lead to a lot of nervousness. It might be a totally unrealistic expectation. I expect that I will get about 75% in concert of what I get in the practice room when everything is going well and I'm in a lather. If I get 85% -90% in a concert, then that is an "A" game and I don't expect to have an "A" game at every concert. No performer expects to have an "A" game every time; it just isn't realistic. Also, I don't go on stage thinking that I won't make a mistake....of course I will make a you have to look at what in particular causes you to be nervous."

[His concert is tonight...and I'm sure I'll be blown away even if it isn't his "A" game. :mrgreen: ]

In my case, he said that I have to perform that particular piece many times in front of an audience for those jitters to go away. He asked me how many times had I performed this in front of an audience (not just in front of my teacher at a lesson), whereupon I answered "this is the second time". He said, "you need about 8-10 times more! Also, for each new piece, it is like starting over; you need to have many performances of the piece in front of an audience before you might lose that nervousness. For a hobbiest it may be difficult to get those oportunities, but see if you can find coffee houses with open mics. After I've played a piece in concert a few hundred times, I feel comfortable doing so...but with a new piece, you can have what I call those "jitters" until you've played it quite a number of times."
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Classical Guitar forever!

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Re: Help Playing in front of Others

Post by slidika » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:32 pm

I had volunteered to play at an office party, knowing that I often get the shakes when playing in front of people -- perhaps it's left over from when I used to be a perfectionist on the piano back in my college days. Anyway, what I did to get around the nervousness was to arrive early and basically play some warmup pieces as people were arriving. Since they were warmup pieces, I did not care too much about what the folks thought about my playing. Also, it meant that I already had played in front of the majority of the audience when the time came for me to actually play.

I ended up being fairly relaxed, played okay (missed one note of a single chord) and everyone seemed to like it. Other times, I close my eyes and shut the audience out of my mind that way. Yes, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Whenever I am not ready for my music lesson, I call it 'facing the music'.

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