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Managing nerves


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#16 EllieD

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 20:53

Make sure you know the pieces inside out, that way you become more confident knowing you aren't going to mess up. On every single one of my exams my hands have been a trembling mess. But I never hit a wrong note because I know the pieces inside out.

 

Would you mind saying, what did it take you to get to that stage, and how do you know when you have got there? Is it just lots and lots of practice, or is there anything else involved? 

 

I ask because even with a piece I feel I know well, if I'm playing on a different piano, or if it's the first time through when I'm practicing at home, I will make mistakes or not be totally even or whatever, and I don't even feel nervous, I just feel it takes me a couple of attempts before I feel I'm ready. How do you get to the stage of knowing you can do a pretty good performance (even if it isn't perfect because what ever is?) whenever you need to? And how do you know?


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#17 Thepianist

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:13

I just practice really really slowly. As slow as you can and repeat each section. Hands seperate practice is important too. Eventually I get to a stage where it is embedded in my brain so I can play it without the music. Also start from anywhere in the piece, dont just go back to the beginning like I used to with grades 1-5. I would mess up then start again as I was lost and didnt truly know the notes properly. You have to make sure you are able to pick up the piece from anywhere. Extremely slow practice is the key. Same with scales and arpeggios. I have a habit of whizzing through a scale, but then I have to remeber I need to slow down to make sure my fingers are hitting the notes exact. When it comes to sections ehich are p or pp to then go F or FF , it's very important to practice very slowly and work on your touch and weight of the forearm. I'm by no means perfect or ever will be but I've learnt to practice more efficiently as time has gone on. You pick up your own little ways of practising the more you do it.
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#18 EllieD

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:18

That's really helpful, thank you Thepianist. Both those ideas (slower practice and just randomly stopping and making myself start from there) had entered my head, but of course it's hard to know whether or not that will work, so good to know from your experience that it does. I think I try to speed up too quickly, but then all I'm doing is carrying the same mistake from, say crotchet = 70 to 80. From now on, I'm going to find the speed where I can play it evenly, with dynamics and expression, and absolutely not move on until I'm ready! 

I find scales a bit harder as what seems easy at a slow speed (because the thumb has time to move under and get ready) then becomes harder if I try and speed up, but I think from what you've said, that probably just means I need more practice slowly and eventually my thumb (and other fingers) will get there.

 

From now on, I am the Tortoise!! Thank you for your help! smile.png 


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#19 LoneM

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 22:08

I find that even just recording myself, with nobody else around, makes me feel nervous / distracted / prone to silly mistakes.


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#20 Thepianist

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 06:23

No problem Ellie, I wish there was a way to post quick videos on here without having to upload to YouTube or somewhere similar.
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