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My biggest fear...... first recital as an adult beginner

January 27, 2008 at 5:38 PM

I hate public speaking. I mean hate with a capital everything. Yet, my job requires me to give presentations every other day.

Two weeks ago, and my teacher told me she will have a Spring Recital and she really would like me to play. I started to panic, instantly. I was still working on twinkle and song of the wind, and the thought of myself playing those songs on stage just frightens me. I know I should be proud, hey, I'm a beginner, no one would expect me to be playing Paganini! But on the other hand, I'm very embarrassed about it. The bottom line was that I didn't want to do it.

This week, my teacher brought the flyer, the recital is in April. She seriously consider that I give it a try. She said she and I will work on picking a piece that will be a bit challenging but I will enjoy playing. I think the pieces she gave me for the past two weeks has been challenging, the Suzuki is alot, i mean ALOT easier. Maybe playing the piano does help afterall.

Should I play with piano accompaniment or violin duet with my teacher? Are there any pieces you can recommend? I posted a question but never made it on air. I'm working on a piece call Papini themes and variations.

From Jasmine Reese
Posted on January 27, 2008 at 6:00 PM
I say embarrassment is the best way to face even more scary and future performances.

Although, I really don't think anyone will embarrass you.

I am not going to lie. I started at 14, and when I gave my first recital, I heard people whispering, "I bet she's going to be good," based on the fact that I was 15 and they had expected me to have been playing since I was like 2.

But seriously, audiences are always expectant during a concert; you can't stop the basic human nature to imagine and set standards, so why not do the recital? I am sure your audience will already know that this is a beginning recital and they will support you all the way.

And as you progress, you can learn how to perform at every stage level. It's so great to look back and say,"When I was in suzuki book 1, I had this recital...or when I was in Suzuki bk 4 I had this recital on."
You'll steadily see yourself progress not only as a player, but as a performer. And you'll know how to deal with audiences in every mood, every level.

Its a beautiful experience, so please take it on!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 27, 2008 at 6:10 PM
Go for the violin duet with your teacher. It is a compliment to you that she is encouraging you to do it. You doubt that you can do it; she knows that you can. You'll practice with her so many times that you'll feel good about having her on stage with you, giving you moral and musical support. It's probably the easiest way to start playing on stage.
From Ann Miller
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 12:22 AM
I just participated in my first recital as an adult beginner ( I am in my 40s). I did Bourree by Handel, from Suzuki Book 2. I do not like to be in front of a crowd because I get very nervous, to the point of having my hands and sometimes even my legs shake.

I also have to give presentations at work. While I do not memorize those presentations, because it would sound bad, I have found over the years that memorizing the first sentence that I will say gives me a smooth start, and helps me get over the initial and intense nervousness.

I found the same thing worked with the violin recital. I practiced the sniff ( for the accompianist) and the first few notes a whole lot the evening before and morning of the recital. It really paid off. I got off to a great start, and I didn't shake nearly as badly as I had during rehearsal.

I definitely recommend doing a rehearsal the day before.

Best of luck to you. I have found much joy in taking Suzuki violin with my daughter, and I hope you do too.


From J Kingston
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 4:20 AM
If you never do anything, you can never do anything wrong...Go for it and go out to celebrate no matter how it goes!
Since the recital is in the spring, I would do the recital with your teacher because you will have many times to play it with her/him. One rehersal with the pianist may not be enough for you unless a friend can do it for you and you will have a few chances to run through it. Go early in the program or your anticipatory anxiety may build up. Count in your mind while you wait to keep your brain busy and you won't be as nervous. Play the song all the time to anyone who will listen or practice with another adult who is a better player to build up your sound.
Good luck.
From PM Chu
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 5:17 AM
I should add that if i do a piano duet, it will be with my husband. He is a very good piano player, I think it'll be fun to practice with him, but I'm not sure if I mess up , he would be able to keep up with me.
From Joe Veilleux
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 12:34 PM
As another adult beginner (I'm 44)I had my first recital last Fall. I too had all the same questions leading up to the recital. My intructor was the biggest help with all of this. Unfortuneately, he couldn't be there because of prior committment, so I did have piano accomp. which I had only played with maybe 2 times prior to recital. I like what others said here about having duet w/ teacher because you will already be comfy playing with them. As for the anxiety, shaking, stomach rolls, sweating, etc....just getting through them was a big help for me. I shook so bad, my bow bounced throughout the whole piece. BUT I FINISHED THE ENTIRE PIECE. That is what was important to me. Now that I have my first recital behind me, I now can move on to the next level and at the next one, I should be able to see my improvement. I now have to get up in front of my church congregation and teach lessons and I am not nervous one bit.
From John Allison
Posted on January 28, 2008 at 3:35 PM
I just had to say that I appreciate this question and the responses to this question, on this board.

The talent that visits this board can be, to say the least, extroadinarily intimidating to those of us that have taken up this instrument late in life.

I can understand taking an interest in a young person that is learning. But to give constant encouragement and expertice to us older folks says volumes to the caliber of individuals associated with these instruments, and that visit this board.

It reinforces my decision to play this remarkable instrument.

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