Nervousness during lessons

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

  • Participant
    Donna O on #155816

    I tried to search for this topic but have been unable to find anything.

    kay-lister on #155817

    Hi Donna,

    I know EXACTLY what you mean.

    sherry-lenox on #155818

    My teacher is the kindest person on earth, but I can never play in my lesson as well as I do at home.
    For me, it’s definitely expecting myself to be perfect, and I also get totally freaked out if I think my teacher will think I haven’t practiced enough.
    Do you feel that the music in your assigned lesson is appropriate to your abilities and goals?
    One other thing- when you say you can play your music perfectly at home, are you sure that you’re playing it at the same tempo when you take your lesson?
    I have a tendency to try to do everything faster in my lesson than at home.

    Donna O on #155819

    I actually think I slow the tempo down in my lessons just because I know I am going to mess up.

    Audrey Nickel on #155820

    What you’re describing is normal.

    When you play for your teacher, the same mechanism comes into play as when you perform.

    dawn-penland on #155821

    Donna, I think I’m like you.

    luanne-oreilly on #155822

    My wonderful teacher solved this problem for me.

    Donna O on #155823

    Thanks for the suggestions and observations.

    diane-michaels on #155824

    From the perspective of a teacher, specifically about worrying that your teacher won’t know how hard you worked:

    We can hear and see hard work through the nervous mistakes. If in last week’s lesson a student and I focused on a particular mistake to be corrected, and I see that job was done, a new mistake where there wasn’t one last week won’t detract.

    When nervousness derails a student, that can be a topic for a lesson. Since this usually happens at the beginning of a lesson, I remind them that sitting down cold and expecting their best performance is unrealistic. If warming up directly before a lesson is impossible, look at that first pass through last week’s material in the lesson as a warm up. Cut yourself some slack: go slow, if it is newly memorized, use the music, and take the time before playing to gather your thoughts about this specific piece or passage.

    Sylvia Clark on #155825

    After several years of lessons, one day my teacher spent the whole hour lesson on a 4-bar section of a piece.

    diana-day on #155826

    Hi, Donna;

    I’ve been in the same situation. I think the nervousness in lessons is perfectly understandable. You’re playing for someone whose job is to help you correct your errors, so

    HBrock25 on #155827

    I think most of us experience this nervousness to some degree.

    Gary C on #155828

    I get this. I’ve been having lessons with Susan Z via skype for about 7 months (wow, is it that long?) and I often flub a piece that I’d been playing correctly only a half an hour before the lesson.

    I beat myself up a lot when I don’t get things right, which isn’t so helpful either, and I’ve been admonished for that.

    And this is from someone (me!) who used to be a gigging musician in his younger days. I was never nerve free on stage, but the critical observance of a skilled professional is much more nerve racking for me than playing to a house of a hundred or so slightly inebriated C&W

    Audrey Nickel on #155829

    I find the same thing, Gary.

    Gary C on #155830

    Yeah it’s fun with other musos in some situations. If I’m in the audience I can tell if something’s been fluffed, at which point the band member and I will have a quick glance and grin. That’s fun.

    In most gigs I played (I don’t know about Harp, perhaps audiences are more discerning), it was quite clear that 90% of them didn’t know enough or care enough to catch the small mistakes, and the small number who did, you’d have a quick grin with. Quite fun really.

    The main thing I learned when playing live over all those years, was to never EVER stop. Even if you end up on the wrong chord or something, just keep making noise and you’ll get away with it most of the time, with most of the audience. If you stop though, that’s awkward, and people will notice. Even the drunk ones!

    Being in a lesson scenario is just totally different. I need to relax more. Now where’s my coffee?

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