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The Truth About Student Music Recitals
Music students need to perform in order to demonstrate and confirm their abilities. But the key aspect is not to limit yourself to performing exclusively in or for teacher studies. This limitation has insidious drawbacks strong enough to force a student to give up. Many music instructors observe this phenomenon.
It is common practice for certain music teachers to hold recitals to showcase the achievements of their students by inviting them to perform, usually in a reserved hall and with refreshments served and certificates of participation issued. While this may seem like a good idea in theory, there are drawbacks to be aware of.
One of the reasons is that it can destroy the confidence of students, especially children. If, say, an 11-year-old started learning at the age of 10 and is performing at something less advanced than an 8-year-old who started learning at the age of 4, this can be discouraging for him/her. While it is true that an 8-year-old learns longer, an 11-year-old does not necessarily understand this analytically.
Another reason is that a student’s frequency of lectures and practice becomes quite apparent during recitals, more so than their inherent talent. Let’s say two students of the same talent and age started learning their instrument at the same time. This makes them comparable as peers. However, let’s say one student has two or three classes a week, while another takes only one, and practices daily, while another doesn’t. Progress just won’t be the same, regardless of talent. It goes without saying that the one who studies and practices more will be better. It’s like two sports cars, each of the same make and model, one has a full tank of gas and the other doesn’t.
Not only can this discourage a student, but it can also frustrate parents of young students, as they often tend to misattribute it to their child not being as “talented” as others.
Another reason is that, unfortunately, it is very common for a performer’s friends and family to only attend his/her performance and then get up and leave. This causes the next performer to feel invalid. It’s sad, but it’s true.
Also, some studios teach different ages and levels. Imagine a four-year-old and a senior citizen performing at the same recital. How does that seem to you?
There are many opportunities for music students to perform and showcase their abilities.
Some are good at family gatherings, talent shows, state competitions and events organized by various music associations. The Internet is also a great forum these days. There are video sharing websites like YouTube etc. plus online audio distribution platforms. You can even record an album or a demo.
One note about ensemble performances is that if the student performer is an instrumentalist and needs a piano accompanist, it is important to ensure that he/she has an experienced accompanist. This is because the pianist must be able to catch and deal with all the weaknesses of the student performer. However, if there is an experienced instrumentalist, whether vocational or professional, he/she must choose a pianist who is concert level and has special training to accompany. Otherwise, the performance seems like a student’s, regardless of the fact that the instrumentalist is excellent. This is because the “advanced” adult pianist is in reality still a student, thus bringing the entire performance down to that level.
by Evelyn Simonian
© 2014 Evelyn Simonian
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