5 comments

  • Have you personally used this method? Have you thus experienced the very inspired state of mind while performing? Have your performances become better due to it? Stage fright is a very interesting topic cause in a way, while performing, you lose the automatism you usually have, which makes you fragile (and that is probably the very creative side of performing) and on the second hand, it may be difficult to draw all attention on the piece you’re playing or to go into it. The mind is distracted. Taking off the distraction, the performances might really become better than rehearsals. And then, what about communicating with the audience? Probably it should be something on a deeper level. I have experienced a huge inspiration while talking in public, having new and new ideas coming up and making up a system at the same time. It proves that new gates(of mind) can be opened while performing. And without a doubt, you learn something valuable about yourself while performing, even when you’re afraid of it. For me, perfoming is like a path to the unknown. I’m learning how to not cling to the safe and predictable.

    • Hi Gerda.

      Yes, I have used this method both while speaking in public and performing on the piano. I have experienced a great boost to the ability to express, to imagination and creativity.

      The other good aspect for me about the method is that it takes the pressure off. In some way fear is a certain state of mind, where we try to act differently from something to avoid bad things that could possibly occur. But it is strange that people usually do not know from what they want do differ and it can just happen as being unnatural and stuck.

      Going along means that you accept whatever happens and release your inner energy and you do not try to do something different any more and then all power flows into the very moment and is just creative energy.

      The thing you say about the automatism is very interesting and exact. Sure there is a risk to lose automatism and that is the moment when you are “driving a car that is at too high speed”.

      Playing the piano is a big system of habits that have been created during a long period of time and it is essential that these habits still work for the performer on stage. This is the moment, where the importance of “trusting your homework” enters.

      By my opinion the best way is that your habits and automatism work in a good way plus you have a boost from the situation of performance.

      About entering the piece mentally – a very important ability is drawing your attention to the right place. If you draw your attention into your body and feel what is going on inside of you, you are in connection with your mental and spiritual self and can express all interesting things that you go through.

      I really like your ideas and precise thoughts. And I think similarly to many of your opinions.

      Thank you very much for you comment, Gerda.
      It for sure widened the message of this video.

      Jaak Sikk

  • Ruta

    Hello Mr. Sikk,
    I am performing a 25-minute program on Saturday, the 22nd for a piano competition. I’m quite stressed about this performance because the past year and a half I have been struggling with bad performances. I have had memory slip after memory slip each for almost every performance, and have noticed that my passages become a nervous wreck. I have been practicing like a lunatic and I really want to do well. How do I trust myself? And most importantly, how do I keep myself from thinking “oh no” and “what is happening here” and things like this? Thank you.

    -ruta.

    • Jaak

      Hi Ruta,

      I can not promise, that you can overcome the issue in one week or even a month. The habits system is strongly activated in performing situation. On stage you are a different person and therefore you can develop your artist only on stage. It needs practicing.

      But I can promise that if you keep the right direction and are steady you can solve the problem and even benefit from your nervousness – your potential power.

      Some tips that are very important:

      1) You should have an imaginary piece in your head. Play without the piano. Listen, see, feel the motions and know the theoretical structure and so on.

      Practice until you can play the piece in your imagination without problems. This imagination is in very direct contact with the memory. You are almost in your memory. If you can do this, the piece is memorized well.

      2) Now if you go on stage there will appear a temptation to start worrying about the accomplishing. This is the most important part – use willpower to move your attention point to the imaginary (mental) piece and use it as your guide. Play at the same time on your mental piano and the real piano. It is not easy to do, because nerves try to draw the concentration on uneffective things.

      Do not start playing before you are in contact with your inner picture of the piece (your memorized material). It can feel like walking on a wire first, but you have to do it. If you lose contact with it, it is just like losing contact with your memory. If this happens only muscule memory and very unreliable things work and a mistake can happen.

      3) Practice performing while using the technique. Play to your friends, family, ask other pianists to listen to you and so on. And grow your concentration, willpower and character.

      4) If there is a mistake this does not matter. Everybody fails sometimes, even the best. Let yourself fail and do not blame yourself for it. Your goal should be the mental beautiful piece that you carry inside and bringing it to life through the piano.

      5) Let your nerves free. Do not fight with nerves. They help you if you let them do it.

      What pieces do you have in your repertoire and tell me about the competition :)

      This is all very interesting.

      Best wishes,
      Jaak

  • AndyCinnamonbear

    Hi, Jaak!

    Your analogy of driving a car at high speed helped me a lot! I have done three solo public performances recently, and each time, my focus and control has improved. When I feel the adreneline start to flow, I picture myself behind the wheel on the highway driving fast and smooth, and everything calms down for me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience!

    –Andy

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