Relaxation therapy

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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planete
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Re: Relaxation therapy

Post by planete » 17 Dec 2010, 14:21

Have you tried some breathing techniques? Your local library should have some books and DVDs on yoga or Alexander technique. You do not have to practice yoga or the Alexander Technique to benefit. These will describe relaxing breathing techniques which you can practice by yourself at home. For this to become effective, you will have to do it several times a day as your body will then build up a kind of muscle memory of the ensuing relaxation. I know it is easier said than done but if you persevere it should happen. I really feel for you as I know how much of an uphill struggle this can be.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Relaxation therapy

Post by Gill the Piano » 18 Dec 2010, 19:29

Dave, for the panic attacks try Bach Rescue Remedy from chemists/health shops. I have a friend on another forum who is getting remarkable results for the same problem using rescue remedy, and another Bach remedy, Rock Rose. Try it.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

joseph
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Re: Relaxation therapy

Post by joseph » 28 Dec 2010, 12:50

This is an excellent topic and will hopefully be one that attracts some good posts.

About 18 months ago I went to play in a competition in Vienna. I played Bach's prelude and fugue in D from WTC-2, Moskowski 1st Etude and Haydn E-flat major sonata No.49. All pieces I could play perfectly at home. All pieces were well within my technical range. So, I went on the platform and performed.

The Bach went so well, I don't think I've ever played that well before or since. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful performances that you're ever likely to hear, even if I say so myself. Trouble is I couldn't bottle up the thing that made it beautiful and sell it, because if I could, the next thing might not have happened

The Moskowski. I totally screwed it. I got through it but it was splashy, choppy, lumpy, tense, harsh, I mean, it was rhythmic at least ( I ALWAYS play in time, luckily, although not always well!!!!). With the first mistake I tensed and it led on to a horrendous experience on the platform. After which I had to play the Haydn, which was somewhat luke warm because of what happened, and I had a huge memory slip thinking about the Etude whilst performing the Haydn.

I guess the thing is that I have an excellent technique. I know how to use my body and hands at the keyboard to get the sounds I need for the repertoire I play. I know this because I wouldn't be able to play so well in the practice room. However, at that point it wasn't secure enough to take on the pressure of a competition. When you get nervous, the first thing to go is finger strength (ok I know its a BAD term, finger strength but you all know what I mean). Then, the ability or desire to listen goes, and then things go base over apex.

I am constantly working on my technique to repair holes in it, I mean, as well as working patiently on repertoire and focusing on the music. What I'm getting at though, is that if you have any weak points in your technique, even if they are normally under control, they will come to the front in a performing situation.

Incidentally after the performance I went out to the pub with my best friend, had a laugh about it, had a drink and enjoyed the rest of the week in Vienna. It was only one competition.

The ONLY thing I kick myself about is that the adjudicators came up to me and said 'When you played the Bach, we thought we had the winner'..... oh well, not on that day!

Gill the Piano
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Re: Relaxation therapy

Post by Gill the Piano » 28 Dec 2010, 17:56

At least you aren't screwed up about it, Joseph! I suppose you just have to let go and look forward. I hate performing, though, so I deeply admire those of you who get up on your hind legs and perform!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

joseph
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Re: Relaxation therapy

Post by joseph » 29 Dec 2010, 21:50

There was a time when my ego would have got the better of me and I'd have got very screwed up over such things! I just have to find out what to repair in my technique so that its as performance-proof as I can make it. Chopin Etudes are helping!

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