2020 is a year we will all definitely remember. Due to the enormous changes and restrictions, we have adapted to many different ways of doing things (if we were lucky enough to continue doing them at all). One of my challenges has been to find a way to keep the student recitals going.
I like holding two main kids’ recitals a year, before the summer break and in mid-winter. Fortunately, our 2020 summer recital was at a time with less restrictions, so we could have an in- person event. Each family sat in a cluster in the large room within a distance to the next one. Mask -wearing and windows open wide enabled us to all sit together in the same room and listen to the playing. It was rather adventurous and the general feeling was that by the winter recital things will be back to normal.
As we know, things have not gone back to normal. With only 10 people allowed in a closed space, we had to find a different way of celebrating the achievements of the student’s hard work over the last few months.
It was going to be an Online Recital. The basic alternatives where a live Zoom recital or a pre-recorded YouTube video.
The Zoom recital would have meant many families logging in on time, setting up the cameras so the kids can be seen and heard, with other family members sitting in the room hovering around the screen. I imagined this alternative to be too stressful for all involved and opted for the pre-recorded video recital.
In an in person recital, the players stand up and perform their pieces, then join the audience and continue listening to the other players. They play their pieces once and then it’s over and the show goes on.
When preparing a video, the whole vibe is different. It’s difficult to release a video with the feeling that you could have done better, with perfectionism lurking around the corner. Of course there is also the temptation of editing the videos which would make everyone sound amazing, but also amazingly different than in real life playing, so we left the editing out.
Once the separate videos were ready, we put them together and uploaded the video to YouTube with private links. What I didn’t anticipate was the difficulty of creating a feeling of community. Watching the video on your own when it is convenient for you may be more comfortable, but you don’t feel part of a group.
Hopefully, our next recitals will be in person again. However, if not, I think I will try a combination of pre-recorded videos shared during a zoom meeting with all the families. That way people will be watching the videos together, commenting and applauding, without the stress of performing in this uncomfortable situation.
Praying that 2021 will be a better year for us all!
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