the biggest challenge for me is nerves

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the biggest challenge for me is nerves

Post by clif9710 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:55 pm

I can get a lesson down fine but doing it perfectly is something else. Sure, it's silly to be nervous when you are only performing for yourself on an electronic keyboard that nobody else can hear, but even so, I find I have to do a piece over and over and over again, each time making some mistake I have easily avoided before. On one assignment I did the piece a hundred times and could not get past 99% because I would flub one note, and not necessarily the same note. This is frustrating and I think the solution is to move on and not obsess with it. One thing is for sure, I do not have a future playing piano before an audience.

Maybe I should get a prescription for sedatives to take before I practice! Not.

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Re: the biggest challenge for me is nerves

Post by sw1tch73ch » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:35 am

I have the same problem. I make it worse when I make videos for Facebook. The "cure" is a gargantuan amount of practice at slower speeds, advancing the tempo only a little at a time and only after I've played that speed to 100% a large number of times. Then as I get to the faster tempo, I'm fairly comfortable with the piece.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

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Re: the biggest challenge for me is nerves

Post by andrewwegierski » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:15 pm


Thanks for posting. This is an extremely interesting topic that I'm sure many users will be able to relate to. Including me!

I agree with what John said. I experience the same problem - I'll always seem to flub one note, and it's a different note every time. For me, this has to do with my mind becoming obsessed with performance anxiety. And I actually don't know the music as well as I need to.

I have two solutions: One, practice it at least 5 times at a slow tempo, and make sure you score 100% each time. If you mess up on the 5th time, restart. The key is to practice until you can't get it wrong - not until you get it right. (I'm not saying that you're doing this - this is just me thinking out loud!) Then, slowly increase the tempo. The goal is to assimilate the music into your mind and hands as large chunks. Instead of reading note by note, I would recommend to almost memorize passages - and use the sheet music as an aid. It's something that happens to every musician - when we depend too much on our eyes, we lose sight of the art behind the music - and that makes it difficult to perform.

Another solution that's a personal favorite of mine: Adjust your mindset so that you are overflowing with confidence, and pretend that you are a virtuoso pianist. Lots of times, our minds get in the way of the music flowing from our fingers - constantly worrying about messing up. It sounds silly, but in all seriousness, faking it can really help you to perform better.

My personal story is one of when I took keyboard harmony classes in college. I would know the material pretty well, but I'd always stumble in front of my teacher due to nerves. All it took was a mental adjustment. I loved the way my teacher performed at his recitals - moving so fluidly with utmost expression at the keyboard. It's like the music was flowing from within his fingers - not from the hammers and strings on the piano. So, I decided to fake my own confidence and pretend I was him. I forgot about mistakes, and I played as expressively as possible, and I did a lot better.

In summary, I really think it's a combination of: slow, diligent, hard practice - assimilating larger and larger chunks of music - and adjusting your mindset to not worry about mistakes.
Andrew Wegierski

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