Playing the Piano

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Rosa, Dec 6, 2002.

  1. Rosa

    Rosa
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    I'm learning to play the piano. I've been taking lessons for 18 months now. My music director wants me to play in a pinch so I've learned to play two songs out of the hymnal.

    I'm trying to learn how to overcome performance anxiety. I play for as many people as will listen to me play at home. Still when I get in the church building I cann't even run through the hymn once without a lot of mistakes. Any suggestions???

    I might add that I sing solo's and that doesn't make me nervous at all. Not that I have a wonderful voice, I am just comfortable with the amount of talent that the Good Lord has given me.
     
  2. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    Hi Rosa! I've been there - and when the regular pianist is unavailable they use me as an emergency substitute. Mistakes and all. Do you know, when a congregation is singing heartily, they never notice the mistakes. Often then think it is wonderful that you are going to so much trouble for them (as evidenced by the mistakes).

    Hint: Learn the CHORDS. Don't be a slave to the notes on the page - simplify to the underlying chords on a regular basis! Play the bass note with double octaves a lot. Sounds tremendous and doesn't take a lot of thinking. When in doubt, leave a harmony note out rather than play a discord. Get the last measure right first. That's the one they'll remember.
     
  3. LadyEagle

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    It's not unusual to be nervous playing for the congregation, not at all. Even pianists who have played for years get the jitters sometimes. But here are a couple of tips:

    1) Pray before hand. Ask the Lord to quiet your heart so you can play for His Glory, and His alone! Then concentrate on playing for Jesus, not the crowd.

    2) Work out a good strong introduction and finish with a strong ending, adding some extra notes other than what is in the hymn book. From personal experience, I've found that if you have a great beginning and great ending, nobody even notices if you hit some wrong notes in the middle! [​IMG]

    3) Here's a web site with some great piano arrangements for specials or offertories, for beginning to advanced students:

    Piano Arrangements, Click Here
     
  4. Rosa

    Rosa
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    Thanks y'all, I appreciate the encouragement. I'll look into the suggestions and ask my piano teacher about them.
    Rosa
     
  5. Thankful

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    I agree with sheeagle911. Begin strong and end strong. I'm the organist and when our pianist is away, the music minister wants me to play the piano. Our pianist is very, very talented, but I finally came to the conclusion that when I play the piano, I am the best that they have at that time.

    I also pray just before the service and this always helps.

    The first time I had to play the piano was at a Christmas Eve Service with at least 12 Christmas Carols to play. Our church is always full for this service. Many, many guests. I practiced so much that my hands hurt. The piano touch and the organ touch is that different. I was overwhelmed with the compliments from the people.

    Rosa, you can do it. Just find out what songs that they are going to sing so that you can practice. Insist on this. I still get a list of songs on Friday so I can practice all the hymns before the service.

    Another thing that it took me a long time to understand...Don't ever dwell upon your mistakes.
    If you make one, just keep going as if you played the correct note.

    My problem is I still make a face when I make a mistake. I am trying to stop that.
     
  6. Grace

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    If you make a mistake..DON'T STOP PLAYING. My old teacher used to get so mad at me because in lessons, I would stop and look at her instead of going on. Something my Gramma tells me to calm me down (she's our pianist) is that most of the time, the people don't know if you mess up in the first place.
     
  7. Mike McK

    Mike McK
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    I can't help you there.

    I used to play semi(semi-semi-semi) professionally and I still get scared.

    The good ones are the ones who can use their nerves to their advantage and convert it into energy.

    Bob Weir used to do whole shows with his back to the crowd and Artimus Pyle got stagefright so bad that he had to build his drum kit high enough that he couldn't see the audience and he would pretend they weren't there.

    They used to have to drag him out to the front of the stage to take his bow.

    I know for me, if I'm with a band, I'm ten feet tall and bulletproof but if I'm by myself, I'm a wreck.

    I would echo Steve Goodman's advice and find the prettiest girl in the crowd and sing just for her.

    Mike
     

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