Recital time is upon us – just a few weeks away- May 6th bring your friends, family, and neighbours. As we prepare, I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts on why recitals are so important. There are 3 weeks left now for your child to be friends with their piece of music. There will be practising, anticipation, practising, re-learning how to bow or courtsey, more practising and anticipation. Students prepare for a recital differently than they do for their lesson, and that is important!
Mastery & an Opportunity to share their Accomplishments
This is an opportunity to really master a piece, to practice harder than at any other time – fantastic! The recital is a chance for them to share what they’ve accomplished and to show-off their hard work. This is a goal for the students to work towards, much like a report card or tournament. It’s a sense of accomplishment not to mention a great photo shoot opportunity. The recital is a “Parent Payday” – a chance for parents to reap the rewards of their hard work throughout the year. It’s a chance to marvel at the pride-inducing sight of your own child playing beautiful music.
The kids do really well, and I see smiles (and perhaps thoughts of cake) on their faces when I talk about having our recital (or even the rhythm festival). Lots of time and effort go into these recitals and I love to see the kids excited about it. But what happens if your child or yourself see the stage fright monster. Well, with the kids still being young, we get to overcome this stage fright monster sooner – better now than in their grade 9 exams.
Tackiling the Stage Fright Monster Early before he becomes a problem
Performing regularly helps teach them how to overcome this anxiety. In fact, the kids usually don’t see the stage fright monster. Why is that? Well, we had a performance early on (November – for many students the stage fright monster was tackled then), we perform in a group first which lets them feel supported by other kids in the class, and makes the solo much easier. We focus on the music and sharing it, and we know we will do well. The parents, however, are sometimes nervous – though they try to be cool and calm for their children. I appreciate that – the kids are counting on your strength and support (and a treat afterwards).
So what happens if your child makes a mistake even though they’ve prepared well. Nothing bad. The audience probably won’t even notice, and if other kids do notice it often ends up being a relief. No matter how many times they hear “don’t worry if you make a mistake, we all do sometimes, just keep going”, it’s something else for them to witness it and hear audience clapping even louder for that child – the child who just showed strength and fortitude by continuing. The children start to realise that the recital isn’t about being perfect, it’s more about having fun.
Empower & Build Confidence
Recitals empower students and build confidence. It’s a chance to show new skills and growth. For example, say your child had trouble keeping a steady beat in the piece and had to practice counting through it several times and finally got the steady beat. We now get to hear all that practice time and effort being validated by an appreciative audience. This makes the student feel empowered and builds confidence to move on to more difficult music.
Shows your support and involvement in music education
Recitals are also a chance for you to show your child how much you value their involvement in music, and a chance to show their hard work to their loved ones.
Rewarding Experience of sharing their Progress
Personally, I like to group different levels of students together. The students get to see and hear more difficult music of where they are headed, and easier music to remember where they’ve come from. This is a very rewarding experience.
Recitals are hugely memorable. I remember one I played in over 20 years ago (and my mommy memory isn’t as great as it used to be). I remember who was there, what I played, what happened afterwards, everything. This is a wonderful chance for your children to make these memories. 🙂
P.S. Please don’t forget to tell me your final choices this week!