Recitals are opportunities for our students to demonstrate what they have
learned, show their growth in musical understanding and gain poise and
confidence. They are also an educational introduction to the concert hall for
both students and their families. Through teaching and practice, they learn
considerate etiquette for the concert/recital hall.
In order to showcase the best of what our students can do, a solid preparation
is essential for the student and their family. Here are some ideas we've gleaned
from Virginia Buhn, Lea Mirabella and Dorothy Munz:
- Lay a firm foundation of technique and theory.
- Cover a wide selection of repertoire at each level. Include more than
what is contained in the method books. There are so many choices of
supplemental repertoire to delight and challenge the students.
- Develop concepts of style and expression with each piece. For example,
how is the Mier jazz piece different from the Gillock waltz? Do the
staccatos in the jazz piece sound the same as in the waltz? Help the student
so he/she not only "feels" the expression but can project those
feelings/sounds to the audience. Can the student's dynamic contracts be
easily heard from the back row? Compare and contrast with the student. Play
- Choose repertoire carefully for recitals. The method book is similar to
the students' school reader, i.e., short stories covering educational
concepts but not the stuff of book reports and special projects. The grade
school student is excited to read those special books for reports. The same
should hold for our selection of special pieces for performing at special
- Memorization - the key to reliable performance. Memorization should be
expected at least three to four weeks ahead of the event. Teachers can drill
the various memory spots to make the memory work secure.
- Rehearsals are paramount. Rehearse with the student on how to walk up,
adjust the bench, mentally prepare, perform, bow and exit. Rehearse the
piece at home with parents, friends, at school, with stuffed animals, etc.
Rehearse and enjoy in special playing classes where students can share their
special music with each other. These rehearsals can start with the shy
student using his/her music, then gradually moving toward full memorization.
The primary purpose is to grow and learn how to perform in front of
- Studio and OMTA recitals offer a more formal environment where students
are encouraged to play to the best of their ability. Suggest that students
"dress up" for this special event that showcases what they have
- Even with solid preparation, students are human and make mistakes. Even
the best prepared student will have off days. With solid preparation,
students and teachers are better able to deal with mishaps along the way and
continue to take on the challenge of performances and growth.