Saturday, May 14, 2011

Almost Recital Week: Giving Students Food for Thought on Preparing for a Recital

This coming week is recital week! While I still have a few make-up lessons to teach next week, I'm already into my 'recital mode'.

Two weeks ago, as we reviewed recital music in lessons and discussed how to prepare for the upcoming performance, I stapled a colorful page into each students' assignment notebook with some ideas on how to prepare for a recital. It was quite a revelation to me to hear many of my intermediate students confess that they'd never before thought about prepping themselves for a recital in their home practice (something we'll need to work on for the future!). The sheet contained advice that any level of student could use, but with my younger students I especially emphasized the idea of performing as often as possible- for family, friends, and even for stuffed animals and pets.

When my students came back for lessons this past week, I was quite encouraged to hear reports from several of my younger students on how they'd taken my advice to heart! Here are a few examples:

*For Mothers' Day, one of my students gave a 'mini-recital' especially for her mother and grandmother.
*One student whose motivation level leaves me constantly searching for new ways to engage him actually took the initiative to play for his music class at school.
*Another student played one of her songs in music class, and the teacher was so impressed that she asked her to perform her song in the weekly chapel service!
*3 more of my students who are in the same class at school decided to all play in their music classes at school.

Beginner students are such a treat to teach! Seeing these students' excitement about the upcoming recital as well as their pride in what they've accomplished and eagerness to share their music is such a joy to me!

I am really looking forward to this coming week and all the events surrounding the recital! More to come, but in the meantime, what do you do to help your students prepare for a recital?


  1. My studio is in the final week before their recital as well! It's such a hectic, yet fun time. I really like idea of playing for a stuffed animal audience. I think I'll try that this week with my younger students!

  2. We are lucky to be able to have regular lessons the week before in the recital venue. There we practice on the recital piano and I also have them introduce themselves. This requires some repetition as many children are shy to address a large crowd.

  3. I am teaching group classes so it's really nice to be able to do rehearsals during lessons. We do this the last 10 minutes of the classes and the kids are just excited to get up there and introduce themselves and the pieces they are playing. I LOVE recording these sessions...and the kids just absolutely love watching themselves in the videos :)

  4. Sara- Try it! The kids love it. I've used this idea since my beginning days of teaching :) You can even have them bring a favorite stuffed animal with them to their lesson. One of my students brought a stuffed bear this past week for the 'performance' :)

    BusyB- Practicing on the recital instrument is always an excellent way to prepare! And I'd never thought about having the students introduce themselves before playing- I might have to think about doing that for upcoming recitals- thanks for the idea!

    Wendy- What a great idea- especially recording! I have a dress rehearsal with my studio the night before the recital (I'll be posting more on this later) but I've never considered doing recordings. Hmmmm... ;)

  5. BusyB, I do the same thing - I have the kids practice on the piano on which they'll be performing. My studio is downstairs in my house, and we hold recitals upstairs where there is more room. The piano upstairs is so different in touch, that the kids need to play on it at least once before the recital. We hold mock performances during the lesson before the recital - that really helps get rid of jitters and nerves.

  6. Tanya- Thanks for sharing your ideas. I agree that performing on the instrument is important- and 'mock-performances' are always a good idea. The more practice the students get the less nervous they'll be at the actual event.