We have one week left before recitals, and I’d like to ask you to review the two sides of recital etiquette with your students this week, even if they are not coming; Being a good audience member, and being a good performer. I will likewise ask parents to review this with their kids, so we should have an improved recital experience, but hearing it from both sources this week will make a good impression!
Being an Audience Member
Take the time to discuss how to observe and respond to performers. Encourage critical thinking from your students to choose how they respond; Did they love it? Is the young(er) kid that just performed maybe shy for their first time and would be happier to have really loud applause? How would they like others to behave if and while they were performing?
I encourage you to add your own thoughts about being a good audience member to this.
Being a Performer
The biggest area that I would like you to emphasize is the approach and departure from the instrument. Kids often feel nervous and pressured, so I encourage you to practice this in your lessons this week, so that each student looks like they are under control. A practical reason for this is our video process, which does need to be adjusted from student to student, but it is good practice for being a better performer in general.
1. Approach the instrument not too quickly, and smile like you own the world. Take a measured bow, then sit down.
2. Be comfortable at the instrument, make sure everything is where you want it – it is your performance, and you can take whatever time you need to set up.
3. Before you begin, take a good, deep breath. This act alone can relieve tension and nerves to a high degree.
4. Play your piece the way you want to, and the way you imagine it.*
5. When you finish, bring back your million-dollar smile, and take a bow.
6. Walk away from the instrument, not too fast, like what you did was something you do every day, no problem.
*Most people don’t know what you are playing, the only way they’ll know if you make a mistake is if you let them know by making a face, a noise, stopping, twitching, etc. I usually recommend smiling like you are pleased, and did exactly what you wanted to. Fool the audience!