Prelude in D Flat - The Raindrop Prelude (Frederic Chopin) on Roland on September 15, 2012.mp3

Forget that anyone is listening to you and listen to yourself -- Chopin. 

As students prepare for upcoming recitals and examinations, they can often be filled with both excitement and trepidation.  As teachers, we all have felt this when preparing for our own recitals.  For most of us, it takes courage to get up and perform in front of others. Every student is to be commended for having this courage. Unfortunately, courage doesn't mean that there will be no nervousness or butterflies. What can be done about those butterflies?

The first thing that can be done is to remember that the audience wants the performer to succeed. Every person in the audience will be rooting for the performer if they are not already lost in the music that is being played. It is also worthwhile for the performer to remember why we are all at the recital in the first place. Everyone is in attendance or performing to have FUN! Music is meant to be shared and it brings joy and satisfaction to both listeners and performers. Performers should also remember that their music is a gift to the audience. Much learning, preparation, and introspection, goes into each musical performance and so, a performance is the very best kind of gift too as it a gift of you. 

We are often asked "What happens if I make a mistake?” The best answer is that "You keep going. Improvise. Jump to a portion of the music that you know well. Jump to the ending. Trust your fingers." People will still enjoy the performance and marvel at the fact that you are doing something that they often cannot do. Making mistakes is not earth-shattering. A performer needs to remember this. It is also worth noting that mistakes are inevitable. Did you know that even concert pianists make mistakes? The audience rarely realizes this though. We have heard about a gold medal winner in a very prestigious competition having a memory lapse during a major portion of the work she was playing during a GALA recital that was held at the end of the competition. What did she do? She jumped to the end. The only people in the audience who were aware of this were those select few who knew the music well. Sometimes it doesn't happen as seamlessly as this. Sometimes you really will have a poor performance. Did you know that every concert pianist has had a least one poor performance in their history? At times like that, it is best for the performer to remember previous successes and put aside the poor performance. 

Our recitals are not about who is best. There are many competitions to satisfy the need to determine who is best.  We all have unique musical gifts to share. We are proud of every student just for having the courage to get up, perform, and share their musical gifts. We always enjoy every performance. Developing the courage to perform will benefit students for the rest of their lives because it is an activity which encourages them to get up in public.  For many of us, getting up in public is a big part of our lives whether we are prepared for it or not.

Please enjoy the student performances below.