So today, I participated in a piano competition (finals) with Chopin's Etude Op.25 No.11 Winter Wind, and I failed.

I was thinking maybe this was because I practiced too much during the day of the competition at school (and at home), and I crammed too much right before the competition. Also, since Winter Wind is an extremely technically demanding piece and playing it as my first and only song was really difficult, and I lost my concentration during the performance.

I have another competition with the same piece. I am extremely worried about it, and I am desperate for any advice on how to prepare for the competition (in 2 weeeks). Thank you.

  • It would be very helpful to help you if you gave more information: Where did you fail? Have you been stressed to much? Do you think you wouldn't have failed just before the real situation? Did you have to play without sheet music? What have been exactly the failures? Did you care about water and nutrition? My failure in a similar situation usually would have been I was not prepared enough, concerned with a lot of other things and I was "under sugared". Oct 2 '19 at 12:56
  • There isn't some magic trick to be not nervous. Obviously make sure you've had enough water and food. Don't tire your hands too much before. Take deep breaths before starting. The more performances you do the better you will become at handling this. However, to the point of losing your concentration is a bit confusing, not enough info is given to pinpoint why, but try just focus on the music and its emotions.
    – Vitulus
    Oct 2 '19 at 13:01

Getting to the finals but not winning a competition isn't a fail. Losing your concentration during a performance is a mishap. Being able to play Chopin's Etude Op.25 No.11 to a standard where you'd present it in a competition is a considerable achievement though.

Put it down to experience. Don't try to micro-analyse the reasons for whatever happened. Better luck at the next one.

  • My long standing beef with music competitions really comes down to this point. How exactly does one "win" at the lifetime project of enjoying and creating music? Encouraging people to practice and try to reach their best is great and all, but a lot of people quit or get discouraged because they "lost" at art
    – Alex Y
    Oct 3 '19 at 20:17

As we don't know how you have been exactly prepared it is difficult to give advice. I assume your teacher was preparing with you the stumbling stines of the piece and you was able to cope with them, otherwise he wouldn't have sent you there.

Look at my comment above to your question: Can you tell us more about the factors that could have been irritating you?

So I think it must have been the stress situation of the competition, but it can have been also the concentration before you started playing, the seat height or the distance to the piano, the light, your heartbeat, the nutrition or the water you had intus or not ... but all these factors you surely will have considered yourself and managed the competition piece before.

Now, I suppose that the problems you have at your level are similar that an ordinary piano student might have in an ordinary piano lesson.

That's why I share here a link to another question that is related with your problem:

I had a bad piano lesson one day, why?

I'm confident that you'll find there some good advice that will benefit to your problem.

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