teacher's role at students' recital

Posted by: Barb860

teacher's role at students' recital - 12/10/12 10:22 PM

Recently I attended another teacher's students' recital. A former student of mine participated (moved her on to a teacher who teaches advanced students).
Teacher followed the music scores while each student played, and if any had memory slips he was right there at the piano with the music to help them recover.

What do you teachers do at your students' recitals? Do you follow the score and assist the students as needed? Or do you sit back and blend in to the audience?
Somewhere in between?
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/10/12 11:00 PM

I have never seen that approach at a recital. If a student is not fully comfortable with playing from memory, most teachers simply allow them to use the music. If the student plays from memory without being fully confident, then they stumble a little, ...or a lot. Maybe it's just me, but I have not seen a teacher approach the bench in rescue mode with the music in hand.

I suppose it seems humane to be the backup. But it's also a crutch.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/10/12 11:39 PM

I usually sit in the front row, but on the outside end of the aisle so the student has their back to me. By sitting here, I am quickly available to help young students adjust the bench, play duets or give a quick assist to a student in distress. I don't follow along with a score, but I know the repertoire well enough that I can help, if necessary.

I can't remember ever having done so, though!
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/11/12 08:31 AM

I am usually there close by, and sometimes a student will stumble and look at me and I just tell them to find a way to end it if it's a disaster. I don't keep the music handy, however. I let them play with the score if they're not quite memorized, but disasters usually happen due to nerves, and having the score there often doesn't help. Me bailing them out doesn't help either, but we reflect afterwards and devise plans for how to deal with such things for the next recital. It's a process and personally I don't agree with coddling students like this.
Posted by: Candywoman

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/11/12 02:26 PM

At my recital last month, I wondered about my role. First I was trying to greet the newer families while my friend acted as the general greeter. Then too, I had to greet the residents of the senior's home for whom we performed. I was trying to find chairs for several people once the seating became limited. Even though I came a half hour early, there were enough people entering at that time to impede my attempts to get the piano and microphone set up. Then a parent surprised me with a big floral arrangement which I wanted to display properly.

During the recital itself, I announced each of the numbers because some people couldn't see the program well enough to read it. Meanwhile, I was adjusting the seat between younger performers and for myself for the duets.

At the end, a resident wanted me to answer whose purse she held. Was it one my people's purse? Meanwhile, I was trying to have a refreshment before it was too late. Altogether too much stress. I think I need to hire more people to help me.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/11/12 02:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Candywoman
At my recital last month, I wondered about my role. First I was trying to greet the newer families while my friend acted as the general greeter. Then too, I had to greet the residents of the senior's home for whom we performed. I was trying to find chairs for several people once the seating became limited. Even though I came a half hour early, there were enough people entering at that time to impede my attempts to get the piano and microphone set up. Then a parent surprised me with a big floral arrangement which I wanted to display properly.

During the recital itself, I announced each of the numbers because some people couldn't see the program well enough to read it. Meanwhile, I was adjusting the seat between younger performers and for myself for the duets.

At the end, a resident wanted me to answer whose purse she held. Was it one my people's purse? Meanwhile, I was trying to have a refreshment before it was too late. Altogether too much stress. I think I need to hire more people to help me.


Yes I agree, stressful because there is so much going on at the same time. How would you delegate these duties though? Perhaps just have an assistant available for impromptu go-to stuff that comes up. One thing I did this past time is to not serve refreshments. That took a load off right there.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/11/12 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I am usually there close by, and sometimes a student will stumble and look at me and I just tell them to find a way to end it if it's a disaster. I don't keep the music handy, however. I let them play with the score if they're not quite memorized, but disasters usually happen due to nerves, and having the score there often doesn't help. Me bailing them out doesn't help either, but we reflect afterwards and devise plans for how to deal with such things for the next recital. It's a process and personally I don't agree with coddling students like this.


I think bailing them out could cause more stress for the student but I really don't know, having never done that. Teacher at the recital I attended focused on the scores the whole time. I'm not being critical, just found it interesting as I'd never seen or heard of teachers doing this before at performances, plus helping out the students during memory slips. I wonder if this teacher does this at festivals and competitions; wouldn't be allowed, would it?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/12/12 09:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb860
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I am usually there close by, and sometimes a student will stumble and look at me and I just tell them to find a way to end it if it's a disaster. I don't keep the music handy, however. I let them play with the score if they're not quite memorized, but disasters usually happen due to nerves, and having the score there often doesn't help. Me bailing them out doesn't help either, but we reflect afterwards and devise plans for how to deal with such things for the next recital. It's a process and personally I don't agree with coddling students like this.


I think bailing them out could cause more stress for the student but I really don't know, having never done that. Teacher at the recital I attended focused on the scores the whole time. I'm not being critical, just found it interesting as I'd never seen or heard of teachers doing this before at performances, plus helping out the students during memory slips. I wonder if this teacher does this at festivals and competitions; wouldn't be allowed, would it?


If a student doesn't actually go through a memory slip, how will they ever learn how to recover? I know the urge is there, I TOTALLY want to help my students, but to do so would be to their own detriment. At the very least, they need that experience if it ends up in complete disaster to get some perspective the next time they make a lesser mistake.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/12/12 10:21 PM

I can still remember my eldest having his first big memory slip. Unfortunately, it happened in a competition, where no helping hand could come to his rescue. He came off the rails at a particular measure, stopped, and circled back a few lines. Then he went off the rails again at the same spot, and circled back again. The third time through he stumbled again, but busted through and was able to finish. He was toast, and left the venue quite distressed. He was twelve at the time.

That was a great, if painful, learning experience. He was due to play the same piece a week later (with an orchestra, no less) so he had to figure out what went wrong at that spot, and why when things went wrong he was unable to think holistically about the piece. He had never learned how to create recovery spots every few measures. Well, that learning experience ensured that he never again had such a breakdown.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: teacher's role at students' recital - 12/12/12 10:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
I can still remember my eldest having his first big memory slip. Unfortunately, it happened in a competition, where no helping hand could come to his rescue. He came off the rails at a particular measure, stopped, and circled back a few lines. Then he went off the rails again at the same spot, and circled back again. The third time through he stumbled again, but busted through and was able to finish. He was toast, and left the venue quite distressed. He was twelve at the time.

That was a great, if painful, learning experience. He was due to play the same piece a week later (with an orchestra, no less) so he had to figure out what went wrong at that spot, and why when things went wrong he was unable to think holistically about the piece. He had never learned how to create recovery spots every few measures. Well, that learning experience ensured that he never again had such a breakdown.


This is so important!!! I agree that the students have to own their stuff and figure it out. It is hard to sit there as their teacher and watch them go through it though.
Today I had a conversation with a young student of mine who botched a piece at a recent recital. He felt so badly about experiencing a memory slip, but he was able to recover beautifully and I was so proud of him and told him that this is what good musicians must be able to do: recover.