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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Simple Things to Help Your Child Prepare for a Recital

This is the time of year when studios prepare to give spring recitals. As I prepare my own students for their performances, I thought of a few things that parents could do at home to help their student prepare for this big event.

  • Make sure that the student listens regularly to the piece that the student will perform. Extra solid listening will help the student to feel more confident during the performance. 
  • Make sure that the student has learned the correct notes of the song that he or she will play. 
  • Make sure that the student has learned the correct bowing.
  • Make sure that the student has memorized the piece and help him or her to complete this important part of learning a song well. I prefer that students complete final memorization one month before the performance.
  • Make sure that the student plays the recital piece daily in the last month before the performance. Please do not neglect this task as it is key to the child performing confidently under any circumstances.
  • Make sure that the student practices recital etiquette -- the formal bow before and after the performance, the steps to get ready for proper playing position, and how to negotiate any special clothing (make sure in advance that recital clothes do not hamper proper movement while playing, shoes are not uncomfortable, and neckties do not get in the way performance posture).
Simple advice, right? I think this advice is common sense. Still, I found this past month that for some of my students, I have had to resort to practice plans that ask my students to play their pieces a certain number of times each day in order to be sure that the pieces were learned thoroughly and well. I had to resort to this type of assignment -- which I do not generally like because it does not require much thought on the student's or parent's part -- because some of my students and their parents had neglected some or many of the above points. I begin the final preparations for my studio recital around mid-March, after the winter/spring break, so that my students have ample time to be prepared. Still, I find that in some cases I need to resort to more elementary assignments in order to ensure my students' performance success.

Remember that the best goal for your student's recital performance is to have a resounding success! Think about what you need to do to create the perfect environment for a resounding success, and then make sure that you follow your plan.

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