55 votes

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

The source of the problem The most common cause I've encountered for this kind or problem is practicing primarily from the beginning a piece. The "mechanical" solution Beginners tend to ...
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  • 54.7k
43 votes

Can a flute soloist sit?

Absolutely. Nobody ever expects (extreme case) Itzhak Perlman to stand. Personally, I'd be a happy audience if a flautist sat on a barstool, as many guitarists tend to do. Now, performing while on a ...
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40 votes

Forgetting the musical notes while performing in concert

For some reason, practice isn't always enough for prepare us for a performance. That's not unusual. Some things that have helped me and others I've talked to include: "Practice" performing in ...
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  • 50.9k
38 votes
Accepted

Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?

There are several reason. The most basic would be “so that they could play together”. A symphonic orchestra is much bigger than a band, and being in perfect sync with the player at the other side of ...
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  • 3,849
35 votes
Accepted

Can piano studies be played as a performance piece?

Well pretty much anything can be played as a performance piece but many of them would be very dull to listen to. Personally I find Hanon extremely boring and I believe many other people do too. ...
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  • 4,811
33 votes
Accepted

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

Well, ok, I see what you're saying. Keep that record button down all the time then. If that makes you suck all the time, then so be it. Suck and slowly improve. If your music is only being ...
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33 votes
Accepted

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

I find any learning process goes in cycles: At first, you're pretty bad. And you know it. Then, you start getting better. You're playing pretty well. Everything is great. And then you realise that ...
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  • 9,469
32 votes

Fermata over a rest at the end of the piece?

Do you sit there and prevent the audience from clapping until you want that rest to finish its extended duration? I've always thought this is pretty much what a fermata like this is about. When ...
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  • 50.9k
31 votes
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What is the difference between Overdrive and Distortion?

From a sound design / sound engineer context As an effect, distortion is any process that alters the sound in the harmonic (tone, timbre) domain. Overdrive is a type of distortion. It is achieved ...
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  • 15.9k
31 votes

Can a flute soloist sit?

I've never seen a flutist sit, but I've also not seen very many flute soloists. What I have seen is plenty of soloists that do sit, so you'd be in good company! And keep in mind that cellists, ...
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  • 78.6k
30 votes
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How do you play this measure on piano? Are unwritten polyrhythms a thing?

Here's how I'd interpret it. Excuse my lack of drawing skill. There are four beats in the right hand, each a crotchet in length. I've drawn lines between each beat to make them clear. The left hand ...
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  • 9,469
29 votes
Accepted

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

I write from personal experience -- I now always wear earplugs as an audience member in big gigs. When music is very loud, it impairs your ability to hear detail. Pitch and even rhythm become ...
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  • 35.7k
29 votes

Pay-to-Play Gigs

$2 for 10 minutes of stage time is nothing. If you include the changeover between acts the hourly rate is about what the waitresses earn before tips. If you get a free beer out of the gig you are ...
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  • 542
28 votes
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Pay-to-Play Gigs

Musician's representatives, including the Musician's Union in the UK are diametrically opposed to the entire concept of pay to play. As they point out, somebody is making money from these gigs, and it ...
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  • 36.3k
25 votes

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

I'm reminded of what my mother once told me. Music is not competition. Leave the racing to the horses. Having taught children myself and having lived in a house of teachers for 22 years I can tell you ...
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  • 13.8k
23 votes

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

I'd recommend just finding a number of fade-out songs and looking for live videos on YouTube (etc.) to see how they're handled. There are a number of ways, but here are some common ones: If the ...
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  • 78.6k
23 votes

Why don't bands try to fade out songs live like they do in the studio?

There might be many different reasons for different bands. So I will be able to point just some possibilities. Studio recording and live performance are different ways to present the songs. Recordings ...
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  • 11.6k
21 votes

Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?

Let me try to add to the excellent answers. In general: Your question is legit, but it can be readily explained with scale. Compare: "me and my brother built a doghouse yesterday - why building a ...
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21 votes
Accepted

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

You should do both! When I just start working with other musicians, I like to get a cover or two under our belts so we can feel each other out and learn to play as a group. Literally at the same time, ...
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  • 50.9k
20 votes

Tips for how to stay calm before a concert

Firstly, realize that it's normal to be anxious before an important performance. Experienced performing musicians often still have some level of anxiety, and there are even stories of some big-name ...
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20 votes

Forgetting the musical notes while performing in concert

Dealing with pressure Get a sound recorder or use your phone and record your performances. The extra pressure of recording yourself will cause similar pressure to an actual performance. Also practise ...
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19 votes

Vocal range of a crowd

One other place where we find large crowds of people singing songs together is worship music- so perhaps we can find relevant advice there. The general consensus* is that the most friendly keys for ...
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  • 4,500
18 votes
Accepted

What does it mean for music to be technical?

"Technical" means that it requires an impressive amount of sheer technique (that is, muscle control) to play. Paganini frequently pressed the possibilities of the violin to the extreme. His music ...
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  • 21.2k
17 votes
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Preparing for my first jazz gig

The admonition I run into again and again, attributed to such lights as Thelonius Monk and Louis Armstrong is "play the melody." Of course you will syncopate it, put a little ornamentation here and ...
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  • 1,727
17 votes

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

Another option is to actually overplay the fade out! The singer slowly stepping away from the microphone, the drummer dramatically only slightly touching the drums, etc. This kind of "comic overdoing" ...
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17 votes
Accepted

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

How often do you practice in front of others? You could try asking people to join you while you practice, or find a public piano and jump on to practice. The idea is to have more experience playing ...
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  • 7,379
17 votes

Can piano studies be played as a performance piece?

I have taken a few works from Czerny, slowed them down and played them as prelude pieces in church. One day a woman commented how gorgeous a piece was that I played and I told her it was by Czerny. ...
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17 votes

Can a flute soloist sit?

Orchestral flautists sit the whole time so it's clearly possible to play the flute to a high standard while sitting. It's the 21st century and people are used to legislation that requires employers ...
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17 votes
Accepted

Why was no first prize awarded at a competition?

This actually happens more than you might think. If you Google it you might be surprised by how many results you can find. The reason is usually to do with the overall standard of the competitors. ...
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  • 4,811

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