Questions tagged [performing]

Playing or singing in front of an audience.

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87 votes
14 answers
11k views

How do professional accompanying musicians (seem to) figure out songs instantly?

Sometimes, when I'm watching any TV show which has a live hired band for accompanying and they have a musician guest, the host will ask for them to sing something on spot (that wasn't really planned), ...
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78 votes
19 answers
57k views

How to play a song without making mistakes?

I have played keyboard quite a while and now I'm starting to practice some classical music like Fur Elise. When I see a live performance of any musical instrument, there seem to be no errors at all. ...
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  • 1,934
63 votes
22 answers
55k views

How can I overcome the fear of performing in front of an audience?

I have been learning how to play Spanish guitar for more than two years and half. Every time my friends ask me to play something, I get scared and my hands start to shake. How to break this fear? I ...
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  • 2,002
43 votes
7 answers
7k views

Can a flute soloist sit?

I am a 60 year old flutist and I am about to perform a humble concert in my community. I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot, and I wonder if it is acceptable for me to sit on a high chair (like ...
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42 votes
16 answers
20k views

What do you do when a string breaks or you drop your pick on stage?

One of my nightmares when I'm on stage is breaking a string or losing my pick. The former has happened to me before once, and also once right before I had to go on stage. Are there any tips my ...
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41 votes
11 answers
9k views

Forgetting the musical notes while performing in concert

Yesterday I performed my favorite piano piece "Liebestraum no.3" by Franz Liszt in an audition. I forgot a lot of its musical notes although that I prepared it very well and I even played it a lot in ...
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  • 521
35 votes
12 answers
5k views

Pay-to-Play Gigs

There is a local open-mic where I live that charges its musicians to play on stage for 10 minutes. The amount of money is trivial ($2), but I have the gnawing sense that, no matter how you coat it, ...
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  • 1,559
35 votes
8 answers
23k views

How do you determine if you're ready to join a band?

I've been pondering joining a band for some time now, but I usually get stalled at deciding whether or not I should spend more time learning to play first. I don't want to go through potential ...
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  • 2,232
33 votes
7 answers
13k views

How do jazz players communicate while playing?

When a jazz group is playing and improvising, how do they communicate so as not to produce cacophony? Somehow, one player's choices and intuition need to guide the other players so that they can ...
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29 votes
11 answers
16k views

Do musicians that began playing from an early age have an incontestable advantage?

If you look at the winners of international music competitions, or the biographies of famous musicians (Liszt, Chopin, Paganini, Mozart), there is one thing they all have in common that really stands ...
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  • 917
29 votes
3 answers
62k views

What is the difference between Overdrive and Distortion?

What's the difference? They sound vaguely similar to me and I can't tell a distinct difference sound wise. What is the difference in tone, harmonics, etc.? Are they the same? Which one is better and ...
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  • 657
28 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do I keep my concentration going to the end and not get distracted thinking about how well it's going?

Often when I am performing a piece of music and it's going really well - all that practice really paid off! - I start thinking, "wow, things are going really well. This sounds really good!" But as ...
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  • 1,043
27 votes
10 answers
9k views

Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?

I am not a music expert and I have always wondered why orchestra performances require a conductor to play. The musicians are presumably professionals who have had much practice at this point, so why ...
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27 votes
8 answers
9k views

Every time I press 'record' I forget how to play and sing!

I have a very simple home setup with a 4-channel USB interface, into which I plug my electro-acoustic guitar and a decent mic (SM58). Purely for fun/learning/curiosity what I sound like, I will often ...
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  • 9,676
26 votes
4 answers
5k views

Did baroque composers think of ritardando on their compositions?

I've been always told that whenever I play any baroque piece on the piano, I should take special care when attending to, for example, the amount of right pedal I should use. It sounded perfectly ...
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26 votes
8 answers
17k views

Stage volume levels in rehearsal and performance

Two questions in one here. Often when rehearsing or at gigs, I'm asked to turn up my volume "'Cos we can't hear you!" when the band is already quite loud. Very rarely will the others turn down to ...
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  • 173k
25 votes
10 answers
8k views

How would you live perform a piece whose recording has a faded ending?

Much recorded pop music has endings that fade to silence. If a live all-acoustic band is trying to perform such pieces, it's not really feasible to do a fade. So what other techniques are available to ...
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  • 9,304
25 votes
9 answers
32k views

How to select a key-signature for a song

There are so many songs in pretty odd key-signatures like 4,5,6 sharps or flats. At least this is my impression when I listen to songs on the radio/net while trying to follow them on my piano/guitar. ...
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  • 405
24 votes
4 answers
2k views

How can I tell when music is live and not recorded?

I was walking past a bar the other day and heard music coming out. I could immediately tell that the music was live, being played in the bar at that moment. This is something I have often noticed, I ...
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  • 535
24 votes
7 answers
858 views

Is there any way for my to become a better judge of my playing? Especially while I'm playing

When I'm playing my flute I sound fine, but when I listen to a recording I sound terrible. Is there any way for me to become a better judge of my playing? Especially while I'm playing, I want to be ...
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  • 281
23 votes
9 answers
5k views

How to avoid stopping when I play a wrong note on the piano

When I play any sheet music by memory, if I realize (by ear) that I play one wrong note, I always stop/get stuck and cannot continue playing. This is very bad in case I need to perform. So how to play ...
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23 votes
8 answers
10k views

Do ear plugs have a big effect on ability to hear the music?

Ear plugs are likely a good idea for anybody performing amplified music (or even enjoying amplified music). But what is the effect on the ability to hear your fellow musicians when playing in a ...
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22 votes
13 answers
19k views

Tips for how to stay calm before a concert

I have a big performance coming up and I am SUPER anxious that I'll mess up the song or something. I need help from anyone who has had experience with orchestra concerts and that sort of thing. How ...
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21 votes
10 answers
945 views

Keeping time when tired

When I'm playing late night gigs, I find that my drumming is generally a lot slower. The timing is consistent throughout the songs, but I just start them slower. When I'm playing early gigs or had a ...
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  • 311
21 votes
6 answers
5k views

I feel like I don't evolve, and sometimes shamed when playing with someone better than me

I'm currently 15 years old, and I play violin on the church. I started playing there when I was 9 years old, and always loved doing what I do, specially for the reason I do it. I sometimes play with ...
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  • 313
21 votes
1 answer
19k views

Developing Stage Presence as Guitarists

Where do I start to develop a good stage presence as a guitarist? While guitar-specific stunts (like the guitar spin, etc) are good to know, but I'm more interested in knowing general rules for ...
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20 votes
17 answers
5k views

What can I do to stop getting nervous before and during a performance? [duplicate]

Normally when I have a piano performance/recital I tend to get nervous. I have done a couple of exams, and all I do is stare at the wall. But then I start sweating and then my hands are all sweaty ...
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  • 586
20 votes
4 answers
3k views

Fermata over a rest at the end of the piece?

Why? It seems to me that as soon as you stop the instrument from making a sound at the end of the piece, it's done. I understand that the final rest is necessary to fill up the measure, but why put ...
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20 votes
6 answers
3k views

Synth sounds that make good solo instruments but don't mimic pianos, organs etc?

I have played a lot of piano, some organ and a fair few synths in my time, and have yet to ever find a synth patch that makes a good solo instrument (i.e. like a piano, you can play an entire concert ...
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20 votes
4 answers
30k views

What is the best way to learn to sing harmony?

I am quite capable of singing the lead vocal but have a difficult time finding the 3rd or 5th harmony in order to harmonize with someone else. Is there a method of learning to hear or find the ...
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19 votes
5 answers
23k views

What exactly is the act of playing behind the beat?

I am a guitarist trying to improve my rhythmic feel and have been told to play a little more behind the beat. This is in a studio setting. How should I approach this to be more consistant in playing ...
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  • 2,479
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do you successfully share another drummer's kit at a show?

The typical indie band showcase has 2 or 3 bands on a bill, and it usually makes logistic sense to share a backline (drums, bass amp, and maybe guitar amps). Some stage managers, or entire festivals, ...
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  • 293
18 votes
11 answers
4k views

Practice to avoid mistakes or practice to cover mistakes

I am having a debate with the drummer in my band. His view seems to be that it is inevitable that musicians will make mistakes so it is more important to practice recovering from mistakes than it is ...
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  • 390
18 votes
6 answers
4k views

How to prevent a string from breaking during a performance?

Especially for the guitar, but also for other relevant string instruments, I've had my string break while practicing. I feel like such things could happen at any moment, this made me wonder... How to ...
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18 votes
9 answers
21k views

How do you organize your set list for a gig?

To performers out there: What principles/guidelines/methods do you use when you make the set-list for a gig? How do you decide what order to play the songs, when to talk, how to deal with transitions ...
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  • 643
18 votes
5 answers
661 views

How to make a career out of music?

I have a full-time job but I am also very interested in making a part-time career out of music. The aim would be to continue learning as well as making some money out of this passion. So what would ...
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17 votes
7 answers
4k views

Can piano studies be played as a performance piece?

I've learned that Etudes are performance pieces, but what about piano studies like Hanon and Czerny?
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  • 1,160
17 votes
7 answers
3k views

Vocal range of a crowd

I am planning to sing a song and which has a vocal range of D3-D4. I want the crowd to join in too. Should I raise or lower the tune of this song to better fit the crowd's range? Which key or vocal ...
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17 votes
5 answers
740 views

Is it acceptable to play the same note simultaneously on different strings on cello?

For a piece I am performing with a local school orchestra, a final open A is to undergo an "insane" crescendo to a Fortissississimo, which our conductor interprets as "as loud as possible." A fellow ...
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  • 273
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why is a consistent rhythm and tempo such a vitally important component of modern music?

When performing music solo on guitar (and singing) for an audience, I have noticed that the audience is very tolerant when I miss a chord or mess up a lick. Often they don't even notice. But if I ...
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16 votes
4 answers
3k views

How do you play this measure on piano? Are unwritten polyrhythms a thing?

This is the measure that's confusing me: The piece is in 4/4 time, so I count 4 1/2 beats in the treble clef and 5 beats in the bass clef. I'm not sure if I've just miscounted the beats in the ...
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  • 163
16 votes
4 answers
6k views

Who plays the chords during a live performance when lead guitarist is soloing?

I recently watched the live performance of 'Stairway to Heaven' by 'Led Zeppelin'. I had a question while watching that song but it even applies to other songs. See during the section of the song ...
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  • 305
16 votes
11 answers
16k views

Tips for playing outdoors in cold weather?

A few years ago our church band had a gig playing early in the morning to a volunteer crew to get them pumped for the day ahead. It was about 7AM and in the 30s F. It's a good thing I was only playing ...
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16 votes
3 answers
320 views

What is the historically informed way of playing the 1/16 notes in Handel's Water Music suite no. 1 overture?

Handel's Water Music suite no. 1 starts with a slow overture with 1/16 notes at the middle and end of each measure: Some performances play it "as written" [Koopman], but some play the 1/16 notes ...
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  • 1,621
15 votes
8 answers
19k views

How is electronic music performed live?

I produce electronic music like electro house/dubstep. I am releasing it on the internet for some time, and I think it's time to do a couple of live performances. How can I perform it live?
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  • 373
15 votes
6 answers
29k views

Ritardando, Rallentando, and Allargando

Three common musical markings for gradual slowing down are ritardando, rallentando, and allargando. How do these differ from each other in interpretation and execution? For example, I was taught many ...
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  • 501
14 votes
8 answers
4k views

Which would benefit my band the most, learning covers or writing originals?

I've been playing the guitar for nearly four years, and I think I'm getting better at it.My brother plays the drums, and our two cousins play the guitar well. When we had all met last time, we wanted ...
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  • 337
13 votes
9 answers
3k views

Should I worry about painful fingertips?

I just started to learn playing the (electric only for now) guitar, and I love it! I've read on a few pages that it was normal for my fingertips (those that I use on the fret board) to hurt in the ...
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13 votes
7 answers
13k views

How does a advanced classical pianist start to play pop music?

I consider myself an advanced classical pianist, being able to play many Etudes, Ballades and Sonatas by Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin, for example. However, I have been struggling to play pop music for ...
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  • 1,293
13 votes
6 answers
2k views

Practice before a gig - bored of material

I'm doing a gig soon, together with a friend. We will play songs written by myself, at a small local venue. The last couple of weeks, I've been practising a lot. I now know the songs flawlessly, ...
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