DAMTA President’s Message
My recital is this week, so I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on recitals with you. You may agree or disagree with my thoughts, but it seems to me to be a topic worth thinking about.
I hold 2 recitals a year, one in the fall, usually late October or early November. Late enough for kids to have time to polish the summer rust off their playing, but before Christmas season gets rolling.
I try to make sure that the kids are super-comfortable with the piece they will play. Especially with the little ones. It’s a little traumatic for kids to have a melt down on stage. I don’t think it builds character. I often meet adults whose only memory of piano as a kid was a horrifying recital. So, I don’t push too hard until they reach the teen years. In general I make the recital as safe a place as I can.
I also leave all competitive aspects out of the recital. We’re creating beauty. Not defeating opponents. They get plenty of that in soccer. (And they get plenty of soccer!!)
I stress to my students the difference between practice and performing. When you practice, you are on the alert for all mistakes. When you find one, you stop and handle it, with many repetitions. In performance, it’s the opposite. You act like mistakes never happened. You don’t acknowledge them at all! That takes some practice!
I usually have around 35 students performing at each recital. That can be about an hour and a half. I find that’s too long, especially for families with young kids. So, I split my recital into 2 shifts, with a 15 minute break in between. That has been a big hit with my families.
I always start each half with a short piece that I play, both to hopefully inspire my students and to spare anyone else from “going first”. It also gives me a chance to perform, which is fun.
I find doing recitals is a valuable part of my teaching. Good luck with yours!!