Note :Adult students can switch the word "Parents" with "The Responsible Me"
Most students feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety before a recital. They would love to shine on stage, make their parents proud and share their achievements with others. However, apart from a lucky handful, most people find performing in front of others quite challenging. A piece that has been practiced and played successfully many times at home can suddenly feel awkwardly strange while performing it, the hands may sweat and perhaps shake a little, the concentration falters... so how can the parents and teacher help?
Teachers usually hold class recitals once or twice a year. The event could be on a small or large scale, depending on the size of the studio and how the teacher decides to organize it. These recitals are like flower bouquets; students of different ages and levels come together with each one playing the pieces they have been working on recently and have prepared for this wonderful occasion.
Parents love these events. They feel so proud watching their offspring walk up and perform in front of the audience and can't wait to share the photos and video of the performance with relatives and friends.
The students, however, are not always as happy and enthusiastic about this as their parents are. The idea of marching up to the front of the room or stage and performing for a crowd can be quite daunting. However, the students do learn how to handle the nerves as they gain experience and with time become more comfortable on stage. Some students I had, discovered the sheer joy of sharing their playing with an audience and wanted to perform on any possible occasion, but it took a while for them to get to that stage.
First of all...
1. Before students participate in this music celebration, they should have a clear idea of what this is all about. First timers should come as non performing guests to at least one recital before being allowed to perform themselves. I once made the mistake of letting a 7 year old perform before just visiting one of the recitals and I shall never forget the expression on his face while walking up to the piano. He looked as though he were walking to his execution! It took years for him to dare and perform again.
2. I think the students should only perform if they feel up to it. I had students over the years who just couldn't do it and were about to quit playing to avoid the big performances. I also had students who found it extremely difficult to perform but wanted to overcome this. Here is another occasion where communication is so important. Keeping the channels open between the student, teacher and parents is crucial to pave the way to a healthy performance attitude.
Most students will make the effort to expand and grow. Some may need a little longer to summon up their courage, and there is also the small percentage of people who just can't do it.
3. In the next Pianoways posts you will find some techniques to help build up the confidence required for a performance.
The beaming faces of the students after the performance are wonderful to watch. When the parents appreciate the effort it has cost the kids to overcome their anxiety and perform, when the kids are praised for their achievements, the chances are good that the students will remember this as a positive experience and will gladly participate in the next recital.
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