Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why Are Recitals Important?


A pipe organ that I played in 2015

You should play with real musicians; the best music comes from real people interacting with each other.
– John Fogerty

Learning to play a musical instrument is traditionally a solitary pursuit. Students attend weekly one-on-one lessons with their teacher, and then return home to practice alone or with a limited audience of family and close friends. Public recitals are a great way to expand the musical vision of students and can greatly benefit both the student and the teacher.

Recitals are a vital part of authentic training towards musicianship. Any type of performance, no matter how large or small, and no matter how advanced or new the performer, is an emotional and raw experience for everyone involved. Professional musicians share their art; they play with others and for others, and there is no better training for this than live performance.

Playing in front of others takes great courage. A student participating in such an event has a chance to shine and may experience a boost of confidence when they perform a piece in front of their peers, friends, and family. They learn how to successfully set and achieve tangible performance goals. They develop important aspects of their character—discipline, commitment, and kindness as they support one another.

As students become adept performers, they also grow to appreciate and recognize this skill in others. This is a very important (and often overlooked) element to the continued support of music education and professional musicians.

By now, the benefits of recitals for students have been established; what are the benefits for teachers? Private music teachers that offer recitals build their studio community; students are given the opportunity to support and motivate one another. This facet of cooperative learning leads to increased studio retention, motivation, and growth. It has also been proven that students tend to retain more information in group settings. In Tools forTeaching, Barbara Gross Davis writes, “Researchers report that, regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats.”

Recitals are also great for business. When recitals become a regular part of a studio’s curriculum, it becomes a place where music happens, and students and their families will be so excited to spread the word about it.

These are big events, and can be a bit daunting at first. In the upcoming posts, I’ll provide some how-to tips to help you plan and host a successful recital that your students will talk about for years to come!