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Performing practice
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HP
Trondheim, Norway
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January 11, 2020 - 7:40 am
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I've two concerts I plan on attending this year. My teacher encourages me to perform on some open mic nights as well, but I haven't made my mind about that. It sounds like fun, but I don't really have much confidence in my performance abilities. There's a lot of talk about performance practice, and I was wondering what's the best way to practice for performance? Is it really possible to practice for it without being on stage? 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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January 11, 2020 - 9:57 am
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Practicing in front of family/friends is a good way to start.

If you're too nervous for that (or can't persuade anyone to listen) try making a video and publishing it on as many fiddle/violin sites as you can find - you must be determined to publish the first take no matter what, otherwise it isn't any use as performance practice).

Sometimes just the presence of a camera is enough to give you quite realistic jitters (or so a friend tells me lol).

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Sasha
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January 11, 2020 - 10:19 am
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Performance is a different skill than playing music for sure, even if you are playing music from your performance.

The music part of it is knowing your music so well that even if you mess up due to nerves, whatever that you can continue playing as if nothing is wrong, no stops/start overs.  Quick recovery.

As Jim mentioned, friends or family is a good start.

Recording can give people jitters too, but inviting a few people and streaming live would probably be even better.

Unfortunately though, the only real way to practice performing is performing.

I used to have very bad stage fright playing guitar, and could never quite get over it.  Then I did some community theater for a few years.  Oddly enough, acting was easier for me to deal with.  But, that acting experience got rid of most of the anxiety I had performing music.

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HP
Trondheim, Norway
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January 11, 2020 - 11:45 am
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Thanks for the suggestions so far, I appreciate it. I don't have much family or friends, so I don't get to perform often in front of other people. Maybe once a month if I'm lucky. I do get jitters by playing in front of a camera, so maybe that would be a good starting point. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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January 11, 2020 - 12:42 pm
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When I played the piano, recording myself seemed to make me more nervous than playing in front of an audience, but it's possible that I was just more aware of my nerves, not having an audience to be aware of.

Andrew

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starise
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January 11, 2020 - 8:43 pm
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I don't in any way claim to be an expert on performance. I do play in Isih session in a group and piano at least once a week with a group in front of people.

I have taken note of the different kinds of performance situations.

- Large or small orchestra groups, generally you as a player don't stick put unless you do something really "out there". In most cases you won't stick out and probably won't be noticed unless you're a soloist. Great situations to get your feet wet so to speak or gain some experience. People are taking the whole thing in and the expectations are not usually that they will hear the best of the best. One voice in many voices tends to get lost.

- Community groups and pubs- People don't often come to these for only the music or if they do it might be a family member they want to support. These are often smaller groups and are casual. You are probably more into you in these settings than anyone else is. Easy to "fall in between the cracks" in these settings ...almost become invisible. Never get the feeling anyone gives much of a hoot about what I'm doing unless I really mess up badly. Even then, they laugh it off, dismiss it and keep on doing whatever it is they were doing. I think these are wonderful places to learn to play in public. There is usually a strong social element here. People meet regularly and make friends.

-Churches- Here there can be a lot of variety in what you will encounter all depending on where you go. It can be formal or it can be informal. I go to an informal church. That's the only way I would have it. As a musician you are more "on the spot" because generally you are up front leading others. No place to usually get buried in the crowd like the other two examples. What you do sticks out in a big way. In churches where they have "special music" times people will come up and play or sing something as a soloist or with only one or two other people. These can be excellent opportunities to play classical music on the violin....I realize not everyone is a church person, but if you get into something like that it's also a good place to meet new people and make friends. The first couple of times can be uncomfortable if you don't know anyone else. If you have gone twice and no one made you feel welcome...I would not go back.

So yeah....just doing it is the only way to learn. In more casual settings it seemed easier for me. I think you should work on something and maybe try it as your teacher said. It's never as bad as we think it will be 🙂

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 13, 2020 - 8:32 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14858

From my experience, its hard to practice performance. You can practice till you are blue in the face and still play very differently when you perform.
When I was young I knew my abilities and I was as ready for auditions as I could imagine but when I auditioned, I could not perform the same way.

Something to learn besides how to prepare for playing in front of others is what to do when you actually perform.

It's important to breath and focus on breathing from the stomach.
Don't start playing as soon as you get on stage. Hear the music in your head first and get in the mode.
Take a deep breath before you start (from your stomach) and lean forward.
Leaning forward is an attack mode, vs fear mode and this really works, trust me.
When playing, concentrate on the music rather than technique.... Just think about the music as though you were listening to someone else perform.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes for you. 😁

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Gordon Shumway
London, England
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January 14, 2020 - 5:35 am
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Fiddlerman said
From my experience, its hard to practice performance. You can practice till you are blue in the face and still play very differently when you perform.  

Twoset joke that you play like a tiger at home, but like a pussycat in front of your teacher. I don't recall this being the case with the piano, but it's certainly the case with the violin, so maybe you could pretend your teacher is an audience and try to discover the potential problems in that safe environment.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 16, 2020 - 9:10 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14858

Gordon Shumway said Twoset joke that you play like a tiger at home, but like a pussycat in front of your teacher.

exactlyroflol  

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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