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Ideas for performance experience


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#1 MusicMumDreamer

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 22:31

My daughter is loving learning instruments - she’s has lessons in three and is at a similar grade standard in all of them. She really wants to perform but then gets very nervous with people she doesn’t know (exams especially) and she kind of ‘shrinks’ she plays fine but doesn’t have performance confidence and then is disappointed with herself even though she’s doing really well. So really I’m looking for ideas for how to help her performance confidence - conventional or out of the box!
Thanks in advance...
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#2 BadStrad

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 22:41

"Treat every time you play as a performance." Can't recall who said it, but the gist was, even if the audience is a worn out broom and three ally cats, play as if they've paid a lot of money to hear you.

"Always play to the cheap seats." Ie. Always imagine you're in (insert name of concert hall of choice) and play to a person high up in the back row of the gods.

Basically it's learning to project when playing and by imagining reaching the far corners of the concert hall it encourages the player to be more "upright" rather than hunched over and curled in on themself. Over time imagining that person way back and high up becomes second nature and with it the accompanying "open" playing position.
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#3 thara96

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 08:27

Take a deep breath before starting!

 

Prepare with her beforehand. Try to get her to relax, this is not a exam, it is a performance opportunity instead. 


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#4 Piano Meg

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 10:22

Just a few possibles...

- the more experience, the better - the more often she plays to people she doesn't know, the easier it'll get, so take every opportunity - informal ones too - visitors or family get togethers. I think I probably read the suggestion here to 'perform' to anyone calling to sell you something (or to tell you your internet is about to be switched off!)

- play/perform with someone else - that can help ease nerves as she's not the only one people are listening to 

- build up to bigger performances - I think it was on the EPTA course that someone suggested performing to a cuddly toy! You'd be surprised, but having an inanimate object designated as audience can add pressure!! Recording yourself can also do that, or having a monthly 'concert' just to immediate family (just by calling it a concert!) - anything that adds an element of performance pressure can help to build up tolerance to nerves, and build confidence.

- before a concert/exam, prepare the non-playing elements - get her to practise walking to the piano, moving/adjusting the stool, getting music ready, visualising an audience/examiner, and practise relaxing if any of those things cause nerves - that way she'll be more ready on the day. It's often the extra things that you don't think about that can cause issue.

- practise playing with distractions - although it sounds like it's not the playing that's the problem, just confidence - but if having an audience/examiner there is causing nerves, it's probably also distracting. Practising with distractions (siblings can be very helpful for this!) can help her to get used to focusing on the music even with the nerves of performing.

- talk about what things went well after performances or get her to record herself and listen back, specifically to listen for the good things - think particularly of the improvement made in the last year or two, or from starting to play that piece.


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#5 Clovis

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 10:31

Small steps:

For someone who is really nervous, it can help to play to people when they are not directly focussing on you. If you're 'performing' to a group of friends or relatives who are quietly chatting to each other (or pretending to), then the effect – once the initial few notes have passed – is to relax the performer and let them recognize what it feels like to be in a good mental state while playing. I have found this very helpful and know a number of particularly nervous adults who will decide to talk quietly over each other's playing as they take turns on the piano. Some just repeat the same short piece on a loop for 10 minutes.

 

Also – playing in a room on your own, but with the doors wide open and knowing that there are others in the house listening.

 

Learning to focus on the music before playing, so that the music, not the audience, is uppermost in your mind. Deep breaths, hearing the first few bars in your head before playing.


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#6 Banjogirl

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 18:15

Perhaps she could video herself. There's no need to watch it. Just the act of knowing it's recording you can replicate sobbed of the feelings of a performance.
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#7 meadowblythe

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 10:09

Music Festivals - my children learnt all their performance skills there, and made good friends.  Great opportunity to try things out providing you take it as a performance opportunity rather than focus too much on winning.


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#8 DMC

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 10:18

Music Festivals - my children learnt all their performance skills there, and made good friends.  Great opportunity to try things out providing you take it as a performance opportunity rather than focus too much on winning.

 

Agree, although it does depend on the festival.


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#9 Norway

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 11:52

If she plays a brass instrument, a down to earth community brass band would be ideal. There is really no need to be nervous. Most players are well hidden by the more experienced players. The gigs (village fetes etc) tend to be pretty informal (duties involve helping to put the marquee up, making the tea, and giving the cornet section plenty of stick (if you are a euphonium player) or vice versa if you are a cornet player. It's a great environment for young musicians, and the more ambitious can move up the system if they wish. Brass bands are unique in their nature, and having performed in most of the usual other types of musical ensemble, I have found this to be the most friendly and suppotive environment.


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#10 meadowblythe

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 14:27

When my daughter bought her first trumpet, discussing orchestral vs brass band politics, the man in the shop cheerfully announced "and you have just reduced the politics in your life by 75% ."

 

Not sure this is entirely true.  50% maybe ..


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#11 meadowblythe

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 15:08

Incidentally I am aware there are good and bad brass bands and orchestras, and political and scrupulously fair versions of both.  Perhaps we were just unlucky.


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#12 ma non troppo

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 22:55

Bumped to get spam off the first page
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