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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:54 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Posts: 302
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
I watched you last time (2 years ago) but regret that this time I had a conflicting commitment. I'm glad to hear it went well and especially that you felt great.
Now you can focus on your second round pieces. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:22 am 
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Thank you, Rainer, but there won't be a second round for me. I did not advance into the semi-finals. I practiced so hard, too, but it never pays off! Will I ever do a competition again? I told the competition organizer that I will try again next time, but I probably won't. I am pretty dejected right now. But at the same time, I am a little relieved because had I made it to the semi-finals, I would have been under even more stress and pressure because my second round pieces haven't gotten enough practice. Also, I'm happy that I felt good at the piano for a change. No headache, no heart beating out of my chest, etc... And now I can relax and watch the remaining three days of competition WITH NO STRESS. Except I may play a little something at an impromptu recital on Saturday--it's a lot more low-key. But I'm not even sure about that. I'm having so many conflicted thoughts about piano-playing now.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:31 am 
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Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 12:11 am
Posts: 732
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Don't be despondent, you played very well, and committed none of the common sins of amateur playing - technical fallibility, badly articulated passagework, stop start after problems, etc. (I didn't expect you to though - you're a better pianist than that!)

Trying to be objective about it, I can only see three things judges can hold against you (and one of them is subjective any way). Firstly, your playing is slightly introverted (that's the subjective observation) and possibly doesn't have enough emotional range. It's something I've noticed over the years attending masterclasses where there are a mixture of professionals and amateurs - some of the amateurs are competent, but a little "polite" in their playing. I'm not a completely objective observer here, because I incline towards more demonstrative playing (and indeed often mentally criticise myself for not being demonstrative enough): your playing is part of who you are and it's also completely reasonable that you might lean towards caution in such a stressful situation.

Secondly and thirdly, the means by which I would deduce as an impartial observer that you were a true amateur, in the best sense of the word... As I've mentioned before, your playing doesn't give it away. I didn't want to comment on this beforehand as I didn't want to influence your decision, but rightly or wrongly, playing from the score can be taken as such an indicator. (Amusingly, it's "acceptable" to play from the score if you're playing highly complex modern/contemporary music eg Messiaen, Ligeti - I think the whole attitude to score/memory is ridiculous, but nonetheless I tend to go along with it for appearance's sake).

The other sign is the repertoire - I think you're being very sensible in your choices and not overextending yourself - but ultimately if a pianist wants to advance in such competitions, it's almost de rigueur to have some flashy material to showcase your technique. So my point would be that the absence of such material is also (harshly) a potential indicator of your status. I've not had time to look through much of the playing and see how many who advanced did have such warhorse material, but I did see last competition's archive and you seemed to be on there after someone playing Ligeti's L'escalier du diable, case in point. I don't know how you deal with something like this, all I know is how I would in your position. There's also no point in playing something ridiculous, Alkan or whatever, and playing it badly, as I would have probably ended up doing several years ago when I discussed entering an amateur competition with my teacher.

You can, and should, be proud of yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 3:03 pm 
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Thank you, Andrew!
It was very when I wrote the last post and I was emotionally drained. I feel better this morning.

They have video up on the website now, so I just watched myself. Yuck! I hate seeing myself!! I have confirmed the places where I knew my fingers did something weird, but also some places that I thought came out badly turned out not to be too bad. I understand what you mean that I play too politely. It's my nerves. I wish they could hold competitions in my own living room, without an audience and definitely without a judge. Then I'd be a lot better! haha

Choosing repertoire is hard! And boy....you really hear some great variety at these competitions, which I appreciate since I'm always on the lookout for something new to play. There are some duplicates of course, but even listening to the more common pieces is fun since you can then critique the playing for real.

Thank you for you words of wisdom!! :D

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 1:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:59 am
Posts: 264
Congratulations on going outside your comfort zone and taking a risky step.
Not advancing doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It just means there were other people who played better on that particular day. And as previously noted, some of those people have a LOT of training and experience. I believe it is Emanuel Ax who refers to competitions as lotteries!
Have fun at the impromptu recital. See, after this it feels easy ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:45 pm
Posts: 380
Location: New Jersey, USA
Yes, you should play at the informal recital. If you play one of those Spanish composers that are new to many (and that you play so well), it will also break the ice since listeners will want to know something about the composer. (It's an old party trick - play something no one knows so they'll talk to you later.)

Rainer's right about difficulty; but I think that the Rachmaninov is pretty difficult. I read through it again after I heard you play and my fingers kept getting tangled (and I got a headache). You chose very entertaining stuff, which is not bad because it makes it easier to remember your performance.

He's also right that you should be more assertive; you probably have more recordings than the other competitors combined, so you're no novice. You should be on a bench in front of an audience entertaining them; it's your rightful place. Anyway, have fun at the rest of the event!

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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 3:37 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:07 pm
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Location: Carbondale, IL
Got a chance to see you play with the archive section on the webcast. I really enjoyed all three, I just wish i had my headphones because I was watching it on my phone and it doesn't have great speakers. I'm glad that you are still enjoying the contest, even if you're not number one. As I was always told by my cross country running coach "it's nice to be great, but far greater to be nice." :)

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 Post subject: Re: Competition time!
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 1:01 pm 
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@Heather - thank you for that. You and Emanuel are right: anything can happen at a competition. And also, anything after this seems easy! :)

@Stu - I actually did play at the recital. I originally planned to play two pieces, but just played one. It wasn't Spanish though. It was Vladigerov's "Autumn Elegy". It's a piece I learned several years ago but have always liked it and felt like re-learning recently. The audience seemed to like the piece too, and because nobody knew it, nobody knew if I made a mistake. I did make one or two fumbles, but it wasn't terrible.

Sorry you got a headache after trying out that Rachmaninov piece, but what you said made me laugh!

@Riley - thanks for taking the time to watch. I like what your coach said!!
I am still very much enjoying myself. Today (Sunday) is the last day--the final round. I will simply be sitting in the audience enjoying the music.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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