Our studio piano recital is fast approaching. We have about three weeks left to refine the pieces chosen about a month ago. I love the excitement the students show in being able to choose and prepare a piece which (usually) become personal favorites!
These are some goals I have for my students upon the completion of a recital (or any other playing event):
- Learn a piece of music which is a bit more difficult than the week-to-week pieces, possibly developing new skills, broadening knowledge of music history, and learning how to pace the learning of a bigger piece
- Have a sense of accomplishment, even if the performance didn’t go as well as was hoped for
- Being a blessing to those who hear us play – parents, audience members, judges
- Showing traits of humility, gratefulness and joy in performing
How do we accomplish these goals?
- Discuss how to handle disappointment at the piano – what happens when I forget a passage? How do I keep going?
- How to talk to yourself – only kind and helpful self-talk is permitted access throughout the recital preparation process and the recital itself
- Practice your performance – no stopping is allowed during the performance – no silences (unless the piece calls for it). You must practice this at home.
- How to convey the mood/character of the piece – often the student and I come up with elaborate stories of what is happening throughout the piece – this is lots of fun!
- Several weeks ahead of the recital we record a performance of the piece in the studio. Then we get to evaluate (with positive comments) what went right and what we need to work on. Students are always amazed at what they can hear when they aren’t concentrating on actual playing.
- Play for other people!
- Remember the recital hall is bigger and you will need to adjust your touch. Usually this means playing more deeply into the keys to allow the piano to resonate fully.
- Listen to your playing!
- Relax – you have prepared for this day. Trust your preparation
- Enjoy! You are giving a gift of time and work to your audience to produce something lovely.
How do you prepare your students? Feel free to keep the conversation going by adding to this list in the comments section or linking to your own blog!