The reality of performing, especially for amateurs, is that you will make a mistake.
Piano performance tips
Over the years of playing the piano in public, I’ve passed through many stages of performance anxiety. Perhaps the most difficult time was early on, when I expressed my stage fright through visible physical reactions. I will never forget my adult piano recital of Debussy’s Rêverie, in particular, my clacking shoe.
In the summer of 2013, composer and pianist Gregg Kallor set out with filmmaker Alan McIntyre Smith to make a music video of “Broken Sentences,” a classical cum jazz inspired composition that is the second movement of Gregg’s Carnegie Hall-premiered suite, A Single Noon.
Last year, a friend’s exuberant performance of seven Beethoven Bagatelles prompted me to learn one myself.
Three weeks ago I played piano in public for the first time. Much to my young children’s disappointment, my debut performance wasn’t in a recital room at my music school, nervously awaiting my turn to showcase my beginner skills among a lineup of their elementary school classmates.
After I learned the second movement of the Schubert Sonata in A Major, D664, my new piano teacher, Mark Pakman, explained I would now shift my practice of the Andante into “performance mode.”
The Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition judges amateur adult contestants on the basis of a submitted video. The philosophy underpinning the competition is that pianists often lack the time and funds to travel long distances simply to compete.
When Glenn Kramer visited London in 1999, the noontime classical piano concerts enchanted him. In London for six weeks while on a summer sabbatical, he checked TimeOut London in the mornings and attended the concerts, usually free to the public, during lunchtime. At Wigmore Hall, he heard Liszt’s “Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude” for the first time.
For years, Ricker Choi, an amateur pianist from Canada, wanted to play a concerto with an orchestra, a dream shared by many students of adult piano lessons.
Ten days before Christmas, my schedule arrived for a conference I was to attend over New Year’s weekend in Charleston.
Alberto De Salas believes that playing in an ensemble is crucial to a pianist’s development.
During a performance of the luscious Arietta from Beethoven’s Opus 111 Sonata, the concert pianist Seymour Bernstein made the mistake of opening his eyes. Usually the Arietta transported him to such a degree that he played the music with his eyes closed, his head leaning back.
Matthew Harre believes that performing on the piano is a different art than simply playing the piano. “I think performance is terribly important for adults,” Harre declares.
Matthew Harre, one of the most well-known teachers of adult piano lessons in the Washington DC area, prescribes scales, patience, and practice like many of his music-teaching brethren.
This past August, when our music director, Julie, asked me to play during the Offertory, I decided to dust off a Chopin piece in my repertoire, the Nocturne in E-flat Major.
For over a year, while studying Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude in my adult piano lessons, I often stumbled into an A-flat trap. In the expansion of the dreamy, opening melody, I launched off a bass A-flat into nowhere, flummoxed on which notes I should strike next.
Several years ago, my piano teacher, Stephen Wu, suggested in his low-key manner that I record myself when I practiced. I allowed a lot of time to elapse before I finally worked up the courage to follow his suggestion, despite his occasional, gentle reminders.
Last week at a New York Piano Society audition, I learned first hand the value of having reentry points in my classical piano music.