The Studio is excited to be holding three student recitals this weekend. As the students are polishing their pieces the last few times, it’s worth a look at the value of recitals and of live performance.
The first recital I participated in was in my teacher’s small house. All the students were crowded in to the area surrounding the piano with standing room only, and when it was our turn, we squeezed past the other students to get to the piano. We shared our talents in the true spirit of community. My teacher had arthritis so she never played for me and this was a golden opportunity to hear the repertoire of other levels. For me, hearing the older students play was inspiring to me! Their fingers moved so quickly and everything sounded so beautiful. It was in these times that I would decide to play certain advanced pieces or even to learn them better than my piano forbears a year or two ahead.
Today, students can preview their pieces on YouTube or log on to the Royal Conservatory of Music website to hear the selections of each grade, so there is no scarcity of student or professional performances. Does this mean that recitals are no longer desirable for inspiration? Not at all. The performer imparts his own musicality to his or her pieces and creates a lasting memory of a fellow student playing a piece in a live performance. In our digital age, there is no substitute for live, unedited performances. The performer experiences the nervous anticipation of presenting their musical creation to their family, friends and fellow students, who share in the moment. The pride the students take in their performances is heartwarming!
Recitals are a time to celebrate the success of students in mastering their pieces and improving their skills. They provide the venue for students to communicate their uniqueness to the audience in a very special circumstance. A recital allows music lovers to celebrate those who are engaging in their studies to create beauty for others.
Students experience great benefits from interacting with others through performance. It’s an enriching experience that no video game or app will ever provide for them. The preparation, anticipation and then presentation of their prepared piece enables them to experience the process of creating a work of art. This diligence can be applied to any other project they embark upon creating. As they improve their skills, they gain self-confidence, maturity and sensitivity. Young musicians learn to appreciate the effort it takes to produce a work of art, or anything of value for that matter.
At Upbeat Piano Studio, we focus on students performing as part of our program, as we know that providing this opportunity enables young musicians to apply the knowledge and skills they learn in their lessons to producing quality music as well as the many other benefits mentioned above. In addition to our annual June recitals, we host an annual Halloween recital where students wear a costume and play a piece that has the quality of being dramatic, scary, interesting or creating a character. This is a far cry from a student rattling off some notes in a detached manner. The students love this event and it provides them the means to connect with their music in an individual way. We value the experiences and the memories that these events produce.
At Christmas time, we perform Christmas music at seniors’ homes. The seniors love to hear the students showcase the seasonal favourites and the students appreciate the gratitude that the seniors express over their playing. Over the years, the students build their repertoire of Christmas music and play for their friends and family in an informal setting over the holiday season. I have one student who loves playing “Deck the Halls” all year round and can sit down and play it even now.
Each student is unique and we nurture them in their lessons to love and appreciate music. What better way than to dig in and learn a piece inside and out and dazzle the audience with the excitement of the creation. It give great joy and satisfaction to all involved. In fact, it is actually fun!
For parents of those students playing in their first recital this weekend, we encourage you to support your student with enthusiastic accolades for performing and doing their best. They will be nervous for their first recital, but the good news is it gets easier the more they perform. That’s another reason we encourage them to keep trying and improving at performing. The teachers are very involved in making sure the students have a supportive environment to perform and are there for them every step of the way. The teachers often play duets with the students to create a supportive and musical recital experience for them.
We wish all of our students well in their performances this weekend and look forward to hearing them! The teachers and I are all cheering for you and are proud of your accomplishments over the past year of studies and at the recitals this weekend.