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Originally Posted by Dirkjan
when the sensitive deep emotional part comes, there's some kind of blockage. I can't give myself over to the music. Is it because I put it in my own experiences and it's too heavy and painful to let it go?

Hi Dirkjan. This is how I understand you. Just read what I am thinking, and see if it resonates with you. If it doesn't, I am wrong.

You tell that you have had a rough childhood with physical abuse. When you were a child, you probably had a lot of feelings that you could not express or even acknowledge for yourself. Instead, they are stuffed deep inside of you.
Giving yourself over to the music would mean opening yourself, letting go of control, becoming vulnerable. You long for this to happen, but at the same time there is also a fear in you - maybe conscious, maybe not - of what would happen if you give yourself over. For instance, that those feelings inside of you will come up and overwhelm you.

My advice to you would be to try and find someone kind with whom you can talk about your childhood, a psychologist, a therapist.
And yes, explore your piano playing on a deeper level by getting a piano teacher.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
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Originally Posted by Dirkjan
... I can't give myself over to the music. Is it because I put it in my own experiences and it's too heavy and painful to let it go?

I would so love to have the abilty to let myself go, to become one with the emotional and the story, but I't like I'm not ready to look behind that curtain yet...

Better to feel than not to feel.

All the baggage we carry needs to be stored away, but don't think we should try to get rid of it altogether, as it makes up who we are whatever the baggage contains.

Personally, I like to relate what I play to personal experiences, or imagined ones or sad ones. Just for the music though and just in practice try to go this deep. The thing is not to let it overwhelm us. Like you shouldn't be thinking more about it when you play something else, or after you have finished practicing or certainly not the next morning. That's when we are hanging on and maybe even reliving something painful again, which is not living in the present and so, missing out.

It is OK, to pull something out of storage occasionally to examine it and reflect on how it makes us feel, good or bad. Learning how to let it roll off soon after is key. But, acknowledging it, when something just pops into our mind is OK. Piano for me is an ideal outlet or release valve for bottled up stress and emotion. We can use it to some degree as a method of therapy and it may even contribute to improving our playing, with practice of course.

You are in a better place now.

Last edited by Greener; 01/14/22 10:17 AM.
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Originally Posted by Dirkjan
Originally Posted by bennevis
One thing to bear in mind if you're performing for others: they won't necessarily feel what you're feeling, no matter how much you think you're pouring all your feelings into your playing. Some students think that if they feel the music while playing, their audience will also feel what they are feeling, from how they play it - which is far from reality.[/i]

In my case, my piano playing is merely a personal thing. I've never performed for others, or not officially anyway. I let a few people every once in a while hear some things, but it's actually a personal and very introspective thing.

Originally Posted by bennevis
If you're just playing for yourself, it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you enjoy what you're doing and how you're doing it.[/i]

Exactly.

Originally Posted by Dirkjan
There might be some embarrassment that’s the issue, as if I’m afraid of showing my emotions because it might put me in a vulnerable and “weak” light?

I always think of people playing in that Chopin Competition, they always look so into into their music. Their faces ain’t pretty with their mouths open and eyes closed. But they are one with the music. So it is possible.

I’d give Al my money and possession to learn that skill. To be able to so that.

Originally Posted by bennevis
I'm getting the impression that you believe you have to show emotion outwardly to make the connection with the music, and to your audience. But as I said, you don't.[/i]

This is not the case. Actually the opposite. I don't give a hoot what other people think of how I look like when I'm playing. That's not why I play. I just meant that they look like they are truly into the music, truly expressing themselves and their emotions.

I myself for example get confused when I look to much at my fingers. It's not like I'm ray charles, but I often find myself staring in the front, like at a wall or a painting behind the piano. And every so often there comes a moment where my whole inside kinda shivers. It feels so deep and connected that it somehow scares me or makes me afraid that I'm not able to cope with such intensities.
Dirkjan, I think you need to go outside your home far away from others and just scream and let it all out. Really let it all out at the top of your lungs and see what happens. If you were able to cope with what you experienced just dial it back a few notches when you play the piano and you will be fine because you are aware of the limits of your emotions. (Now mind you I've never done this before but reading your posts makes me think this is the thing you ought to do).

To be more specific be like Cameron going berserk in Buelller's Day Off

[video:yahoo]
[/video]

Last edited by Jethro; 01/14/22 02:32 PM.
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Dirkjan,
Your story is so touching. I don't relate to that as I have no problem in abandoning to the emotions. I can share this, I love Chopin as much as you do and when I play some pieces by Bach I find tears in my eyes, really. That's the mistery of music. But your problem is not musical. Your post shows how sensitive and intelligent you are. Do some therapy and free the best of you.

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Whether an instrumentalist or a singer, every musician has to exert some kind of conscientious control over their emotions; just "letting go" can be disastrous or maudlin. Think, for example, of the opera singer who is lamenting a crisis in the drama: the loss of his/her lover, for example, in a touching, emotionally-charged aria. The singer still has to have complete control in order to execute the technical and musical demands of the moment while giving convincing life to the character portrayed. Some singers are better at this than others.

Similarly, the actor who, while living the part of the distressed character, must at one and the same time "be" the character but yet be enough outside the character to control the technical demands of the moment.

I don't think that an instrumentalist is governed by performance standards that are any different, although they may be less obvious.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Whether an instrumentalist or a singer, every musician has to exert some kind of conscientious control over their emotions; just "letting go" can be disastrous or maudlin. Think, for example, of the opera singer who is lamenting a crisis in the drama: the loss of his/her lover, for example, in a touching, emotionally-charged aria. The singer still has to have complete control in order to execute the technical and musical demands of the moment while giving convincing life to the character portrayed. Some singers are better at this than others.

Similarly, the actor who, while living the part of the distressed character, must at one and the same time "be" the character but yet be enough outside the character to control the technical demands of the moment.

I don't think that an instrumentalist is governed by performance standards that are any different, although they may be less obvious.

Regards,
I agree. I once heard a master class where the student played the opening of Bach's Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue but kind of got carried away and lost control. I can't remember the teacher's exact comment but it was something to the effect that a professional never gets so engrossed in the music that they lose control.

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Originally Posted by BruceD
Whether an instrumentalist or a singer, every musician has to exert some kind of conscientious control over their emotions; just "letting go" can be disastrous or maudlin. Think, for example, of the opera singer who is lamenting a crisis in the drama: the loss of his/her lover, for example, in a touching, emotionally-charged aria. The singer still has to have complete control in order to execute the technical and musical demands of the moment while giving convincing life to the character portrayed. Some singers are better at this than others.

Similarly, the actor who, while living the part of the distressed character, must at one and the same time "be" the character but yet be enough outside the character to control the technical demands of the moment.

I don't think that an instrumentalist is governed by performance standards that are any different, although they may be less obvious.

Regards,

You have expressed very well what I was going to post. I have heard opera singers say that while their task is to express emotions, to convey those emotions to their audience, it is dangerous for them to feel those emotions while they are expressing them, because this may lead to a lack of the necessary control of the voice. I imagine a similar thing might be true for a pianist.

Of course if you are just playing for yourself, this may be a less important consideration. You may positively want to feel the emotion as you play - and if this leads to your losing full control, there is only yourself listening.

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