Jenny Kay writes about taking part in our Performance Workshop for adult pianists, 8th November 2016.
I went along to this performance event with both trepidation and excitement. I have been learning piano again as a ‘post-retirement returner adult’ for a couple of years, and have played at few London ‘Piano Meet Up’ events. While I enjoy the opportunity to perform, it is quite nerve-wracking to play in front of people I don’t know, and especially at the Meet Ups when some of the participants are brilliant young post-diploma pianists and far more competent and musical than I am!
The difference here was that Bethan had brought together a very varied group of pianists, from experienced ex-professional musicians, learning the piano as an adjunct to their usual instrument, to young mums just beginning to play piano again after many years away from the keyboard. Bethan immediately put us at ease, we introduced ourselves and it was already easier to play in public once we knew a little about each other. Bethan gave us some great tips (‘remember that silence between the notes can be more important than the notes’) and stimulated a discussion about preparation (comfortable clothing!) and some typical performance anxieties. She also had some interesting hand outs and book references to give us.
At the end of the evening we played some lovely Schubert ‘Ländler’ piano duets - some of us sight reading, some of us having done a bit of work learning them in advance. Great fun and certainly got us all laughing!
It was also great to hear everyone else play (credit to everyone, they all sounded lovely, even those who had only just picked up the piano again after years away) - and I heard some repertoire that I didn’t know and gave me great ideas for new pieces to play. It’s good to have a chance to play a lovely grand piano - so different from my upright at home - a very responsive brand new A. Geyer grand piano.
I will certainly go again if I can and I would recommend the event to any adult pianists as a friendly, informal performance opportunity that adds bit more than the usual ‘meet up’ format.
Our next Performance Workshops for adults are on Sunday 29th January for guitarists, and on Tuesday 21st February for pianists. Find out more.