Thursday, January 29, 2015

5 Tips for Overcoming those Pesky Piano Performance Anxieties

This is a guest blog by the less than legendary, Louis C. Monteverdi

As a pianist performing regularly in front of live audiences (well, at least they claim to be), I still struggle with hand jitters, wrong notes, inaccurate rhythms and sudden sonorities of unknown origin. 

While I know of no real remedies or telethon-type activities related to alleviating this aggravating affliction of unaccountable nerves, I can offer the following five tips in the hope that they may prove useful in times of classical piano’s annoying nuances. 

  • TIP #1: Come Early Before the performance

Avoid increasing your stress level by leaving sufficient time for a preparatory period of relaxation. Relax, compose your thoughts and slowly exercise your fingers with unrelated abstract, technical studies till you have achieved a certain comfortable level of digital dexterity.  

  •  TIP #2: Completely Ignore Tip #1

Don’t come early, fool!  That will only make you even more uptight by creating a misguided sense of importance about the whole stuffy business. Better to come a little late. Have a couple of smokes, a couple of beers.  Too bad, if people get pissed off and decide to leave because it’s already 8:15PM.  Screw ‘em!  Keep repeating to yourself “Screw ‘em. It’s just not that important”.  Relax; the whole thing’s just this side of being a complete waste of everybody’s time. 

  •  TIP #3:  Disrespect the Composer.  Does he think he’s better than you!!? 

 Screw Beethoven, the ugly son-of-a-bitch. Clearly, the guy was never successful enough to afford a facial or get a decent haircut. What’s that, lady, I was hitting wrong notes?  What do you expect, the guy was frickin’ deaf when he wrote this damn thing!  Give me a break!

  • TIP #4: Make Sure the Piano is in an acceptable  State of Disrepair

Sure I’m nervous.  Wouldn’t you be if you had to perform on this reject from a down-market Salvation Army post?  I mean, I might have warmed up, but I ran out of time while I was Gorilla Gluing  all the broken keys back on, for cryin’ out loud!

  • TIP #5   Just Go Play Cocktail Piano

Find a restaurant with a big room full of noisy people whose voices bounce off a carpet-less, slate floor, utterly drowning out the sound of your dwarf baby-grand with zero amplification. All that’s missing is a black cape and hood - and a Lone Ranger mask.  Then you can be nervous all you want. 

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