Recitals are a very special event for students and parents! It is a time when we come together to celebrate the accomplishments of the student! Here are a few things to keep in mind for a recital:
• Performers should wear appropriate attire. Girls in appropriate-length dresses or nice pants, boys in dress pants and polo or button down dress shirt. Please no flip-flops, or athletic footwear. Please do not wear dangling, jingling jewelry.
• It’s a great idea to practice in your outfit, especially with shoes included.
• Once it is your turn, rise quickly and walk up to the piano. Adjust the bench, pause and collect your thoughts, and begin when you are ready.
• Performers bow at the end of the performance. We will practice bowing properly a few lessons before the recital.
• Arrive at the requested time in order to learn where you are to sit and receive instructions for the performance.
FOR THE AUDIENCE
• Please arrive a little early in order to find a comfortable place to sit.
• Turn off all cell phones and any electrical devices that may produce sound.
• Once the recital begins, please listen and be quiet. Crying babies should be taken out. They are not happy, and neither is the audience or the performer!
• The soloist will bow and your response is to applaud politely!
• Please stay until the performance or event is completely over. If you have other obligations or matters to attend to before the recital is over, please do not attend.
It’s pretty amazing to think that I had only one piano teacher from grade school through high school graduation, and only one in college. I’m not sure that it is normal to only study with two piano teachers...in my teaching career, I have seen many students switch teachers for various reasons. Even at our national pedagogy conferences, there are seminars devoted to teachers who receive “transfer” students. Let’s just say that I am one of the lucky few who stuck with the same teacher week after week, year after year for 11 years! That’s a lot of time!
So a little about my experience with this very special teacher, Jerry Stephens, who was my first teacher. I started taking with him in the 2nd grade and continued through high school. He also taught my two sisters and my brother back to back. That’s a LONG time to be at piano each week! And that was only for private lessons! Back in those days, we went twice a week: one for private lessons, and another for group theory and performance classes. That’s one dedicated mom!
I remember (most of the time) loving my piano lessons and group lessons. I made life-long friends in his studio. Together we were each other's encouragers and together we stressed about recitals, competitions, theory tests and ear training.
Every once in awhile, my mom would sit in on lessons and give her input on which pieces she “approved” of us playing. I remember her NOT liking the pieces that “went on and on forever...or had lots of scales going up and down.” I think that sometimes we were grateful for her opinion just because it would get us out of harder pieces!
He could tell what kind of day or week we had just by how we sat at his piano. To keep us working, we got stickers on completed pieces each week and we LOVED his sticker pile! Even as we got older, we still wanted stickers! When helping us learn pieces, he gave us clever, silly words to help count the rhythm, such as huckleberry and gooseberry: words that we still remember. Sometimes, he would come to my house if we couldn’t make a lesson that week at his house, especially as we got older. He told the same jokes over and over and over again- and yet, they were still funny! He did push us to our potential- and he knew that our hard work would pay off! We learned how to play in contests, festivals, and ensembles. Of course, this also taught us recital etiquette.
Jerry shaped my life as a student and now as a teacher. You know when you become a parent and you start sounding like your parents? Well, I hear him in my teaching! I even use the same music from my many years with him with all of his markings on it. With my own students, I use the silly words to help them with rhythm- they laugh and remember how to play correctly! It works! I have passed his high expectations of me down to my students, encouraging them to be the best they can be, but always remembering that learning and appreciating music is the key.
Thank you, Jerry, for all that you did and still do for me! You’re amazing!
Yep- it’s that time of the year! Recital time! As teachers, we always get the parents and students who are not sure they want to participate in end of the year recitals. Want to know why your student should prepare and play on a recital? What’s the big deal? Well, there are a lot of amazing things that happen from preparing and participating in a recital. Here are just a few:
I honestly had never thought about how I impacted my students when I first started teaching 15 years ago. After graduating from college, I wanted to try teaching as a way to make extra income. All of a sudden, I started falling in love with my students and I realized how much I influenced their lives. Being a music teacher and giving the gift of music can be incredibly rewarding, and I can honestly say that we do make an impact on the students we teach.
Kids are involved in so many activities these days: sports, dance, study groups, learning languages...the list could go on and on! But music lessons give students something that many of these group activities don’t: one on one attention with a teacher.
For just a moment, forget about the benefits of music education. Think about your child and how much one on one time they get with a teacher. Even if they are in a small school, they don’t get 30 minutes to an hour of individual attention. In addition, we as parents are also pulled in so many different directions that giving each of our children special attention is rare. This is why private lessons are so great, as long as you feel comfortable with the adult your child is with.
I love learning about my students, especially their interests, and most of the time I like to hear about how they are doing when I see them at lessons (how their day at school was, what they are sad/happy about, what’s going on at home, why they got to practice more/less this week, etc.) Many times these students will tell me things that they won’t talk to their parents about. Sometimes talking about feelings in the music will drive out emotions in the student, and they begin to use the music as a way of expressing and understanding their thoughts and feelings. I encourage them to keep working harder, and they want to become better pianists for me because there is a relationship and trust. It is really amazing!
Bringing music back into this chat, I think that learning to play an instrument teaches and reinforces lifelong habits. Learning a piece sections at a time teaches discipline and time management. Memorizing and preparing for a recital or contest teaches presentation skills and being in front of an audience. And lastly, practicing teaches dedication and commitment. These are all lifelong skills that we want to teach our children, and music teachers have a key role in helping kids learn how to do this. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that we are raising well-rounded students who will be prepared for high-school, college, and eventually real life!
To think that a while ago I didn’t even consider how I was going to touch the lives of my students is kind of crazy! Being a piano teacher can sometimes be much more than just teaching music. I expect to touch the lives of each student I come in contact with by being a positive role model and teaching them the love of music. The thing I don’t always expect is how students touch my life in return, and that’s probably another blog waiting to be written...