December 18, 2017 at 1:41 pm #15106
Last Saturday (16 December 2017) I played at the Christmas piano recital. My piano teacher encourages as many of her students as possible to play at these recitals, though it is perfectly OK to attend if a student does not feel ready to perform in front of others.
I had a wonderful time seeing my fellow students, some I do not see often throughout the year. Several of the students have been with Laurie (my teacher) for a few years and it is interesting to see how they have advanced over time.
I was nervous waiting for my turn to walk up to the piano and I did relax somewhat once I sat at the piano. I noticed that I felt the same level ofnervousness as in previous recitals. It certainly is not a panic nervousness, but rather a good one to keep me very alert and focused.
I played “Take the A Train”. I did play a few wrong notes, however I kept on playing. I suspect most people in the audience did not even notice the wrong notes. I know the piece well enough that I did not have to look at the partition. In fact, I was afraid that if I looked up it would throw me off.
I do remember that I was conscious of the sound I was producing. This is the first time I am aware of this while playing at a recital. There are a few large dynamics changes which I thought I handled quite well. Playing on a fairly new Steinway model B did help.
I also remember that for a few moments I forgot there was an audience. I think I relaxed a bit more during these moments and I felt I was playing in the comfort of my own home. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. Does forgetting there are people watching and listening mean that I lost contact with the audience? I don’t know.
When I ended the piece, people applauded and I bowed. I felt that I had done something quite respectable and was rather proud of how I played. I was also the only one who played a jazz piece, so I was proud knowing that I played something unique.
The recital was held in the beautiful St. Peter’s Lutheran church in downtown Ottawa. It is not a huge church and the acoustics are excellent. Everyone was in high spirits and happy to be there in this beautifully decorated church.
Laurie told us that she listens to us differently at a recital than at our lessons. She congratulated us all for having had the courage to play in front of others. She also emphasized how we all played so well and that we are all making a lot of progress (which we are!). I think very highly of Laurie.
This is a good way to finish off the piano season before breaking for the Christmas holidays.
Here is picture taken next to the piano of all those who played. Laurie is seated in the foreground.
DennisDecember 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm #15111
I would like to add something to my previous post.
Jaak and I had discussed the fact that there would inevitably be errors while performing and accepting that fact would remove a lot of the pressure we put on ourselves while performing. I did have that in mind while preparing for this recital. It has helped me a lot since, for the first time that I can remember, I was able to concentrate on the music and not just on notes and correct fingering.
The more I think of it, I did a pretty good job.
Next time, I can do even better.
There is saying in French: Petit à petit l’oiseau bait son nid. Bit by bit the bird makes its nest.
DennisDecember 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm #15154
I am so proud of you! That was a big thing to go there and still be observing, making decisions and learning consciously on stage.
I think this is something that really teaches a lot. What you wrote proves that you are more free to choose what to concentrate on, onstage. And I guess it shows you had some real freedom while performing. Great work Dennis. Pictures are nice too!
Did you discuss things with fellow students too after the recital?
Actually it is so pleasant, that learning piano is always about ‘learning more about yourself and also others’.
Best wishes for now.
December 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm #15174
- This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Jaak Sikk.
Well done Dennis, very well done!
KenDecember 28, 2017 at 3:36 pm #15194
We did talk about among ourselves after the recital, but I did not talk very much about my experience. I think I had not digested it enough at that point. All my colleagues talk about how they were nervous and played wrong notes and played it so much better at home. No one seemed to consider the letting go and making good music.
I just hope I can keep this in mind for a next recital or playing for someone.
A comment I often get is that I appear to enjoy playing the piano. Even when I am very nervous, somehow it does not seem to show.
I have never mentioned it to my colleagues, but the look of some of their faces is like they are at their public execution. No smile at at all.
I think I am learning something from you that may give me a slight advantage when it comes to performing for people.
DennisDecember 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm #15196
I was away in the family-in-law over Christmas. We just got back yesterday.
It is too late to wish you a Merry Christmas, but I can wish you a Happy New Year. I wish you health. I also wish you success in whatever project you undertake in 2018, whether it be guitar, piano, photography…
DennisJanuary 4, 2018 at 6:44 am #15300
You have a real cold and white winter there in Canada right now, don’t you?
It is strange, here in Estonia, we used to have long and cold white winters but this year it has been constantly around +2 C with high humidity and wind. Nasty..
At the same time there is snow in Florida. Very strange…
How did your plane ticket story end by the way?
JaakJanuary 4, 2018 at 7:46 am #15302
We sure are having a cold winter. Luckily I have a lot of cold weather clothes so that has not prevented me from being outside. When I come back in my face is pretty red.
Today there is a huge storm on the eastern coast of USA and Canada. We will not be affected where I live. We have a lot of snow so far. As a matter of fact, I should go check out the cottage to make sure everything is OK. I don’t want to go through the same thing as last winter.
+2 degrees… that sounds like Boston weather. The global weather is going crazy. We saw images of the the storm in Ireland, England and the western coast of the continent. Winds with high humidity is sometimes worse than just plain cold.
Plane ticket ?? That wasn’t me. You must be confusing me with someone else.
Anyway, today is rather mild, but tomorrow we go back to the -25 temperatures.
My piano is out of tune… really out of tune. A couple of days ago I thought it must be because of the cold. We had the wood stove going in the basement for several days in case the power would go out. Consequently the furnace did not come on very much, which means the humidifier attached to the furnace did not come on either. It got so dry in the house (20%) and I assume that is why the piano is out of tune. The humidity level in winter is usually around 45%. Now we cut back on the wood heating and I have adjusted the humidifier to produce more humidity to see if it will help the piano. If not, I’ll have to call my piano technician.
My sister-in-law gave me a lottery ticket as a Christmas present. The draw is January 14th. If I take off on a round-the-world trip you’ll know I won the jack pot. 🙂
DennisJanuary 4, 2018 at 12:19 pm #15304
You wrote on Facebook that the train ride was 25 h and the plane ticket was over 1000$.
Did I remember somrthing wrong 🙂 ?
@dennisdooleyJanuary 4, 2018 at 1:14 pm #15306
Oh I see… I realize now that I was not clear in what I wrote. I forgot that pople can’t read my mind. 😀 😀 😀
The drive to go up north is 6 hours, when the roads are good. This year I found the drive quite tiring, even though the roads were in good condition and my wife took the wheel for a couple of hours.
After we got back from our Christmas holiday I did a bit a research online to see what the travel options might be for another year. That’s when I discovered that there is not direct train route, instead the train makes a huge detour via Montreal and Quebec city that lasts 25 hours and no sleep wagon option. The other option would be to take the plane, but at $1 000 each that is a lot of money to go see the family for 4 days, plus the costs of car rental once we’re up there, dog sitters, house sitters, etc.
So I guess we’ll be driving again the next time we go up. Unless I win the lottery on January 14th. 🙂
DennisJanuary 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm #15308
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