Aug 18 2004, 10:29 PM
[COLOR=blue]I have just returned to being an adult learner on the piano, after a break of a couple of years, and whilst I am really loving it, the old problem of being really self-conscious about anyone listening to me play is still there. Even though this problem has been partly solved by getting an electric piano and using headphones, it doesn't help me gain confidence when playing to people, even lovely sympathetic people as my dear friend and ex-piano teacher, who is here this week and has just heard me play. I really can play better when I am alone, but does she believe me??
Any tips would be gratefully received.
Aug 19 2004, 04:39 AM
The way to gain confidence is to do it more often. Next time when you walk pass a music shop, go in and play a few pieces for five to ten minute. Sometimes people would look at you, and this is a valuable experience.
Invite your good neighbour for tea and ask them to watch you play / practise for 10 to 15 minutes.
Have the realisation that my self-confidence is based on the respect for the self. You've work youself a bit for this piano skills, therefore you deserve this self-respect. You play to other people just to share your success. Who would worry about how others might feel when one share their good work with others?
Aug 19 2004, 08:24 AM
| I really can play better when I am alone, but does she believe me??|
Please don't think you are unusual in this. In fact you would be unusual if it were not the case. All my adult students - except perhaps the very advanced ones - tell me regularly " I can do it better at home".
It does get easier with time, experience and practice.
Someone on these forums posted a list of the stages (I think it was 5 or 6) that a piece goes through before you can safely play it in a public situation like an exam. I can't remember the precise details but it went something like this:
Stage 1 ..... you can play it to yourself when no one is listening.
Stage 2 ..... you can play it when someone in your family is listening
Stage 3 ..... you can play it when a friend is listening
Stage 4 ..... you can play it when a stranger is listening
and so on .......... exams and recitals follow somewhere along the line.
I hope the original poster might be able to improve on my sketchy memory of the list........... but you get the general idea.
Hope this is useful. Enjoy your playing!
Aug 19 2004, 11:18 AM
But how much experience, time and practice?
Been playing in church for a number of years now... still lose my nerve in my piano lesson, never mind any performing!
Aug 19 2004, 03:22 PM
|Been playing in church for a number of years now... still lose my nerve in my piano lesson, never mind any performing! |
Well, I know what you mean. I 've been playing in church for years too, but if ever I have to play in a lesson, or one-to-one situation it does feel quite different. No question.
I was trying to account for this, and I wonder if it's because I feel subconsciously when I play in church most people are only half listening ??! It isn't a recital after all, and people are quite likely to be thinking of something else.
When you know someone is listening to you with their full attention it's a different thing, and can be more daunting.
Aug 19 2004, 03:42 PM
Well I don't worry about playing in front of my teacher, I think the point is, she's heard me at my best and worse so what else is there to worry about.
I dislike practsing with someone else in the house though, mainly because I then feel reluctant to go over and over the same phrase time and time again. I try to reassure myself with the knowledge that my parents had to endure me as a beginner (I overheard a beginner students lesson in school shortly before I left, no offense to her, but it was one of the most reassuring experiences ever~ I was able to walk away thinking~ 'well at least I sound a darn sight better that that!)
Most of the time I know my parent aren't really even paying attention to what I'm playing, and when they do make comments they are usually positive, but I still shut myself in my bedroom with the door tightly shut if I have to practise with them around!
I think it is mostly a confidence thing, and I'm not the most confident performer myself. The only thing I can suggest, is getting a completely unmusical friend around to listen~ this way, the chances are they wont notice even if you do play badly!
Aug 19 2004, 05:35 PM
I think you are right, Maggiemay, about people listening.
And why do they only ever comment on how well you played when you feel that you were so bad that day that you woulld like to sneak out the back way?
Last Sunday was a hard fight!
One of those ministers who has a big voice and reckons he can lead the singing.
No problem with the tuning, but when I play I expect people to sing at the same speed... you may have had lag but this guy must have been a bar behind after about 3 bars sometimes!!
Aug 19 2004, 05:45 PM
I have a really big confidence issue. The thought of playing in church terrifies me because I would think 'Everyone is relying on me to lead the way and if I mess up everyone messes up.' My piano teacher is always telling me that I have to play in front of people and honestly, I have tried but when I have, I still mess up and then I feel like I would have been far better off never playing in front of them in the first place. I know that people who aren't especially musical won't know what mistakes I have made but I will and I always feel like a right idiot.
Aug 20 2004, 02:06 AM
|QUOTE (musicmad_banana @ Aug 19 2004, 01:45 PM)|
| I have a really big confidence issue. The thought of playing in church terrifies me because I would think 'Everyone is relying on me to lead the way and if I mess up everyone messes up.' My piano teacher is always telling me that I have to play in front of people and honestly, I have tried but when I have, I still mess up and then I feel like I would have been far better off never playing in front of them in the first place. I know that people who aren't especially musical won't know what mistakes I have made but I will and I always feel like a right idiot. |
Dont ever beat yourself down ok - when you do that you make it easier for others to do it.
concentrate on the job at hand and learn to relax. you will be fine once you are positive about your playing. i think of playing as communication - so if u are pos or neg you communicate it, we all know which you would rather be transmitting eh
Aug 20 2004, 12:09 PM
|if I mess up everyone messes up.'|
If you mess up everyone carries on..... and you call it creative harmony
Seriuously though, I was awful when I first started to play in church but they still asked me back.
It does get easier. Arrange to have hymn lists at the start of the week. And don't be afriad of 'cheating' by using easier arrangements.
I found 'Hymn Tunes for the Reluctant Organist' arranged by Janette Cooper and Published by Oxford University Press invaluable at the start. There are many other easy hymn tune arrangements too.
Aug 20 2004, 12:41 PM
you know I often think I play better at home than I do in a lesson, but never say anything.
So glad you all think the same,
I m not too worried about the people listening thing, cos everyone knows Im a beginner, so they dont judge.
(sometimes they giggle a lot thou) my mum says she darent move when i played to her cos she was scared it would upset my rythm, but inside she was laughing herself silly - but in a nice way!
Ive recently recorded myself to MP3 files and emailed them around work.
some of our other offices have got hold of the files and emailed back pictures of themselves listening to my sax!
try playing the fool a little and you'll feel less exposed?
(i do this very well !)
Aug 30 2004, 05:41 PM
I thought I played better at home as well until I tried recording myself in preparation for an exam. Then I realised that actually at home I don't play through a piece completely but if I make a mistake I practice that little bit as I go, ie lots of stops and starts. When I was recording myself I had to start a piece a good 5 or 6 times before I got a "good" run-through. It was so funny hearing how confidently I announced my piece and then had to restart over and over again with "Take 2" "Take 3" etc.
Basically this taught me that I wasn't well enough prepared for public performance until I could play the piece reliably at home without cheating!!! I also need to practice "Starting" a piece. So if I was passing the piano during the day I would just sit down and play all my starts. This really helped my confidence in the exam as I knew at least I would start each piece well.
I still find myself saying to my teacher " I can do this as home, honest".
Aug 31 2004, 07:36 AM
|QUOTE (Farley_Teacher @ Aug 30 2004, 05:41 PM)|
|I still find myself saying to my teacher " I can do this as home, honest".|
This thread rings a big bell with me too. I think I must say that at every single lesson!!! I have a suspicion that I'm not helped by always playing my digital with headphones on, as I'm in my own world and know there's no-one listening. I'm hoping things will improve when I get my acoustic and know that sometimes, somewhere, someone will be able to hear my playing!!
Aug 31 2004, 08:35 AM
Yes - recording yourself is quite a task - amazes me when I listen to my CD of Barenboim playing all the Chopin Nocturnes!!
The other thing that adds confidence is picking a random point and start there. That's very difficult, but once you can manage it you can be pretty cofident you can play a piece well.
Aug 31 2004, 08:48 AM
No difficulty picking up a piece at any point. Just a problem playing it all the way through without some kind of error, be it technique, fluffed note or dynamics!
Aug 31 2004, 10:09 PM
I have been working on the second and third movements of Handel's violin sonata in F, the second movement being currently set for grade V. The last couple of lessons I played the movement right through, which I too never do at home. What happens then is that hand positions deteriorate as the movement progresses and then when you get to a hard bit with D flats and things in it all goes Pete Tong, passages which if I play them in isolation are much easier.
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