When to introduce students to public performances/recitals?

Posted by: Amaruk

When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/18/13 09:13 PM

Our son's teacher does not manage recitals but other teachers in our area do but we are happy with the teacher that we have. I think it is actually good not to take part in recitals too early (our son just started taking lessons). At what age/level do you think it is good to start with recitals?
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/18/13 09:36 PM

I have two recitals each year. At the fall recital, everyone plays except the beginners. I do make sure they attend, however, so they can see and hear how the recital goes. In the spring, the beginners all play, but usually I play duets with them.

When they finish a method level, I have them give a private recital of their favorite pieces for their parents at the lesson.

I also hold group lessons once a month and the students share their pieces with each other.

All of these experiences help prepare the students for recitals and make them a positive experience.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/18/13 09:50 PM

My students who is as young as 4 YO with 6 months of piano lesson take part and play in recital.
I believe that playing in public has to be trained as early as possible to have the full benefit of it.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/18/13 10:18 PM

Our studio lets any student participate. It makes the recitals interesting to see tots get up on the bench and play. laugh

I think being on stage is important. My daughter had a couple of errors in her program but she learned that the audience didn't know (or care) and that she survived and knew we were proud of her for continuing. How can you learn that in a lesson?

One mistake I made was not having her play for other people often enough.
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 03:49 AM

Our's is a small audience of families. I have them play from the beginning, certainly after 2 lessons. I do think it gives them a boost to get a round of applause and a certificate. Adults and adolescents generally want to wait till maybe a year of lessons.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 08:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Amaruk
Our son's teacher does not manage (sic) recitals but other teachers in our area do but we are happy with the teacher that we have. I think it is actually good not to take part in recitals too early (our son just started taking lessons). At what age/level do you think it is good to start with recitals?

If you think this is good, then obviously you are with the correct teacher. However, I, like others, start my students performing just as soon as they have something to perform. Their eyes light up, they feel a solid sense of accomplishment, deservedly so. It's not surface self-esteem, but real accomplishment, which many of us feel is far more valuable to personal development.

A book could be written of the problems and successes of early performance, and I'm sure that more than one has. However, to jump ahead, to successfully perform, a student must be both well prepared (subject matter) and comfortable. A once a year performance, a very big deal, is almost certain to instill fear and loathing of performance for many if not most students, whereas frequent playing in front of others puts the activity into perspective.

To that end, our teacher's chapter puts on 5 performance opportunities a year for area students, plus any performances a teacher wants to engage in, or at school, church, or other social event. Additionally, my studio hosts 8 student only performance opportunities, once a month, through the school year. Performing, while perhaps not routine, is certainly not the ordeal that many families/teachers make it out to be.
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 11:36 AM

Obviously this is like so many other questions, the answer is "to each his own". If you search previous posts, you will see that the attitude varies from "as soon as the child has something to perform" to "there is no need to perform for others at all". The teachers we have had all strongly encourage performances. My older child's first performance with his first private teacher was when he had four lessons. Indeed, as John said above, performance once a year could be too big a deal. Frequent performances, at least for those who like to perform, help them regard performances as something natural and fun. Some kids love performances, others are afraid, yet others really don't want to bother. I just hope that teachers and parents decide such things based on the student's personality and the goals of lessons, and give each student what he/she needs.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 12:27 PM

Originally Posted By: childofparadise2002
Some kids love performances, others are afraid, yet others really don't want to bother.
One wonders where this "fear" comes from. Is it inborn, or is it nurtured by parents and teachers? Or is it transferred from other activities in life, perhaps where a child is teased or tortured (aka bullied) by an older sibling or neighbor?
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 12:41 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: childofparadise2002
Some kids love performances, others are afraid, yet others really don't want to bother.
One wonders where this "fear" comes from. Is it inborn, or is it nurtured by parents and teachers? Or is it transferred from other activities in life, perhaps where a child is teased or tortured (aka bullied) by an older sibling or neighbor?


Agree. Fear can be overcome; a natural indifference to public performance should probably be respected.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 04:27 PM

Thanks for your inputs here!! I guess we will just wait and see how things pan out with our teacher. I just wanted to know what you think about these things and what the potential value with recitals would be (other than overcoming stage freight that is).
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 05:57 PM

Our MTAC branch has public recitals, and we always have one or two teachers who put their method-book kids playing 8-bar pieces. These kids get on and off the stage in less than 20 seconds.

Personally, I wouldn't put students in recitals unless they have something more substantial (32 measures), or can play several of the shorter pieces. It might be cute to have 4-year-olds at recitals, but you must also be considerate to the other performers. How long can a 4-year-old sit still and not bother others? And what's the rush to get these kids on stage?
Posted by: MrsLois

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 07:50 PM

I strongly believe in having students play as soon as possible. The majority of my students are group students, so they play for each other pretty much every week, and I don't find that it is as intimidating for them to get up in front of a large audience at Christmas and Year-End concerts. I would rather have 4-year-old students get up and play an 8-bar piece, and have that be their first recital, than when they are playing significantly more challenging repertoire.

I think it also depends on what the concert format is, though. I have students play ensemble pieces, and so have 4 keyboards set up in a line across the stage. This allows me to get groups of students up there to play their solos, and I find this saves a lot of time.

Music is for enjoying and sharing... regardless of level smile
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 08:52 PM

Maybe it depends on venue as well? Ours has a green room and the kids love hanging out and playing and talking. The audience doesn't hear them.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 09:27 PM

Quote:
I would rather have 4-year-old students get up and play an 8-bar piece.
Music is for enjoying and sharing... regardless of level


Like! thumb
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 10:50 PM

Parents, this may come as a major revelation to you, but I and all the teachers here (and in your children's schools) know far more about you than you know about us. Why? Your children are mimicking devices. What you say, what you do, your children reflect in their behavior. In re recitals: if you have a fear or apprehension of public speaking or appearance, it will be reflected by the attitudes and actions of your children. The best I can do as a teacher is to offer your student a non-threatening, engaging, warm and comfortable environment in which to present their music to others. After all, piano, like song and dance, is a performance art. I would urge all parents to take advantage of teachers who offer performance opportunities for students throughout the year.
Posted by: jc111

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/19/13 11:45 PM

My son just had his 3rd recital today. His first one was only 2 months after he started lessons. His teacher does recital twice a year and encourages him to play "wherever he sees a piano" (with permision from the owner of course). The teacher also had my son play for his music teacher in school and now he gets to have his own little recital for his class every month. He gets a lot of positive feedbacks and really enjoys performing. Then it shows in every aspects, not just in playing piano. He is more self-confident and self-motivated. I definetly think kids should start doing recitals early.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 12:30 AM

Originally Posted By: jc111
My son just had his 3rd recital today. His first one was only 2 months after he started lessons.

Unless the student is a true musical prodigy, I would never put a student in a recital after 2 months of lessons. What is there to "recite" after 2 months of lessons, seriously? Mary Had a Little Lamb? Twinkle Twinkle?
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 01:43 AM

Not a teacher, but maybe this will provide a perspective.

I started piano in the 3rd or 4th grade. I recall doing a show and tell at my class where I played some pieces pretty unselfconsciously.

Then something changed.

IIRC, I changed teachers sometime around then. The next recital I remember--6th grade--was a pretty formal affair with a stage. Now, I was no model student--I don't think I was very diligent and either wasn't taught how to practice or didn't listen [totally possible]--but I tried to do an arrangement of "Alley Cat" and, in my mind at least, I really flubbed it and felt terrible about it.

My next performance was around 8th grade. Having moved, I had a different teacher. This was a smaller recital, in the teacher's house, and again I really felt I flubbed it.

This basically made me gunshy about memorizing and performing for people for, I estimate, thirty years. To the point where I felt I could never memorize and could never perform for people.

I'm working to overcome that. This is very, very hard to do now.

We live in an age of ready entertainment. The need for people in the family to provide entertainment to while away long evenings without the aid of TV, recorded music, or the Internet is long gone. Music as a community experience is no longer ubiquitous but must be scheduled, must be an event.

This puts a lot of pressure on a young performer. Some have the nature to thrive in that sort of environment, but that isn't my nature. Maybe if I'd been in an environment where I could have performed music frequently, in small settings, I would have been better able to adapt to larger settings.

It is what it is. But I wonder what it was that changed my unselfconscious performances at the age of 10 into anxiety-ridden ordeals at 12 and older.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 08:24 AM

I am guessing the response of peers or adults + the rarity of performing.

My daughter is not one to want attention. She is very soft spoken and even her coach/teacher has to bend over to hear her (I don't approve, I think she should just have to talk louder and she CAN but she gets away with it because her coach and teachers accommodate her).

Anyway, her class teacher said it is effecting oral reports. I let my daughter know this was a concern of her teacher(she gets A's on them but her teacher wants her to participate in a role in the class play so she needs to be heard).

When we got back to school after break my daughter told me she had to apply for a new class job. I asked what she applied for and she applied for song leader. She begins all class recitations (pledge, class code) and songs. I asked WHY she applied for this job. Her response was that she wanted to work on speaking louder.

I think every child is different and handles situations differently. I do think someone who has performance anxiety can overcome it. By forcing themselves to do it daily (song leader), exposure in a situation that can only be positive (playing in a retirement home, for family and friends) and with lots of support (parental, teachers, coaches).

Specifically though the different in 3rd/4th grade and middle school is huge and typical. It is when peer pressure kicks in and kids become more self conscience and less self confident.
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 10:17 AM

I too am a parent of a beginning piano student, and definitely appreciative that my kiddo's teacher offers plenty of opportunities for public performance (not easy with 60 students!). My 5 year old has been playing for 4 months, but has already participated in 3 recitals. At his first, which took place after 4 lessons, he played a Faber PreTime piece called Old MacDonald Had to Rock, which I believe only has 16 measures. Was it a waste of time or detrimental in any way? In my humble opinion, not at all! He got to practice his stage presence--looking out into the audience, bowing, taking a moment to collect himself before placing his hands on the keys, the playing itself, and then of course everything in reverse. As someone with massive stage fright myself, I was enormously proud of my little guy.

Since then, the kiddo has played in 2 more recitals, will perform in a festival next week, and then play again at a master class soon after that. Thus far, he has no qualms (or shame, as the case may be) performing for others--whether in a formal or informal setting, and seemingly regardless of audience and perhaps even genre. He recently won a speech contest for all the kindergarteners at his school, and I can't help but think that his recital experience gave him a leg up. Whether or not he continues playing piano in the future, cultivating the ability to perform in public starting from an early age seems like a good thing to me.
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 10:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Whizbang

It is what it is. But I wonder what it was that changed my unselfconscious performances at the age of 10 into anxiety-ridden ordeals at 12 and older.


It could simply be the developmental stage. As adolescence approaches, it is natural for a child to become more self conscious and more aware of how others might perceive him/her. I've heard from some of the music teachers who I know that it is not uncommon for kids entering middle school to be nervous about performances if they haven't got used to it by then.
Posted by: jc111

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 11:19 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: jc111
My son just had his 3rd recital today. His first one was only 2 months after he started lessons.

Unless the student is a true musical prodigy, I would never put a student in a recital after 2 months of lessons. What is there to "recite" after 2 months of lessons, seriously? Mary Had a Little Lamb? Twinkle Twinkle?


We did have young students do Twinkle Twinkle and I think they did great. I made a mistake about the time of the 1st recital. It was 3 months after he started lesson. He played 2 pieces from Hal Leonard Book 2 for his first recital. According to the teacher he did learn very fast and progress quickly. For this third recital he played Russian Folk Song and Emperor Waltz. I don't think he is musical prodigy but he really likes it.

Here are the YouTube links to his recital videos:
1st recital
3rd recital
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/20/13 11:35 AM

Lately we’ve been to some recitals that have lots of beginners and “average” students, if one dares to use the word. The easiest pieces that I’ve heard in these recitals are a five-finger pattern, played RH and then LH, and a violin piece that has only a G arranged in various rhythmic patterns. I honestly enjoyed these performances as well as the performances by 6 year old little wizards. I’m confident that most if not all parents in the audience feel the same way--I think audience who go to these recitals know that they are not going to hear world-class performances, they will hear kids, some more advanced than others, but are nonetheless all kids, learning to interpret and share music and appreciate others' music. Student recitals are not simply a progress report or an opportunity to show off, everyone should be able to share their music and get to know the joy of it. The vast majority of students taking instrument lessons will not grow up to be professional musicians, and they should be able to enjoy sharing their music without having to worry about whether it’s worthy of sharing in other people’s eyes.
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/22/13 01:16 AM

Anyone should have the opportunity to perform. Performance is an integral part of the pianist discipline, yet only a small percentage of pianists will be able to perform regularly.

The only thing I can compare it to off the top of my head right now is the difference between talking to one person versus talking to a large group of people versus making a speech. Pianists need opportunities to grow in different ways and find their own styles through that medium.

Trauma or stage fright isn't a good excuse. Really, if you never do it, you'll never know, and you'll never get better.

Tons of people are self-conscious even in everyday life and years of living doesn't fix it.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: When to introduce students to public performances/recitals? - 01/24/13 09:42 PM

Very interesting stories/suggestions/explanations! Thank you!!

For now there is nothing we can do as we like our teacher, who by the way is an active musician with gigs now and then.

Our son has only taken 3 lessons so far but I noticed right away that he is picking up things very fast. He can now play the main themes of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and some more songs from memory as I taught him for two months before he enrolled with this teacher (I simplify arrangements for him and he does not read music that well yet so he copies my playing for now). I do this as I want it to be fun for him to play the piano. Our teacher fully supports it and wants me to continue doing this on the side which is great.