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  • Writer's pictureMary Barton

10 Reasons to Perform in a Music Recital!

the number 10

There’s something about live musical performance that no recording or virtual experience can replace. Perhaps it’s the energy in the room, the mixture of anticipation, excitement and tension in the air, or the sound waves bouncing off an instrument and straight into our ears. For the music recital, there’s also a sense of community and positivity, as everyone has gathered to celebrate and support those on stage. 

Soaking up that celebration and support is a reward that awaits recital performers, but there are many other benefits to performing in a recital. Here are a few at the top of my list:

  1. Builds Confidence It’s no small accomplishment to perform for an audience! Whether it’s in front of a small group or a packed concert hall, stepping out in courage to perform on stage not only builds confidence as a musician, but also helps prepare us to tackle other challenges in life. 

  2. Rewarding  Working hard to prepare, not backing down due to fear and nerves but following through in the spotlight when all eyes (and ears!) are on you, and doing your best regardless of the result, brings a sense of accomplishment that no short cut, substitute, or AI can give you! A job well done is a personal reward that stokes the desire to do our best in other areas of life.

  3. Raises the Standard of Your Playing An audience, even a musically untrained one, will hear if your rhythm is off, your tempo is inconsistent, your playing is hesitant or stilted, or your articulations are poorly defined etc. They will also get a sense as to your level of preparation by the degree of proficiency of your performance.  This motivates the student to prepare much more diligently and seriously than simply playing for their teacher during lessons or family members wandering about the house.  This extra preparation raises the student’s musical proficiency overall and they advance more quickly afterwards.

  4. Develops Artistic Expression Preparing a piece for performance helps the student develop artistically as they strive to communicate with the audience through how they play and interpret the piece. Audience feedback helps a student evaluate whether their performance successfully conveyed the emotions, images etc intended.

  5. Problem Solving Under Pressure In the heat of performance, one must recover from slip ups and minor memory lapses quickly and continue on with confidence, not letting the mistake derail the performance. Good performance preparation includes training in how to keep going after a slip up. Audiences are sympathetic when a performer stumbles and are silently cheering the performer on, but will become uncomfortable if the performer has great difficulty recovering from a mistake. This is also valuable training for ensemble performance — you can’t stop to correct mistakes because the ensemble is already onto the next beat or measure. One must carry on and jump back in at the right spot. Thinking on our feet musically is good training for other situations in life that require a quick and appropriate response under pressure!

  6. A Unique Musical Report Card! Listening to our peers perform can be very instructive. Noting what they did or didn’t do well, students learn to judge the quality of virtually all musical components and skills inherent in the performance and learn organically to identify what constitutes good or deficient skill. And since it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, hearing and watching others perform automatically reflects back to us our own strengths, weaknesses and level of proficiency in virtually every area compared to the performer.  Perhaps the best part of this self-evaluation is exactly that — it’s self-evaluation! The student leaves with a valuable checklist of things to improve upon as well as encouragement in areas in which they excel.  Armed with this unique musical report card, students learn to take ownership of their musical development.

  7. Audience and Peer Feedback There’s nothing like the affirmation of our peers! When another performer has positive feedback on some aspect of our performance or an audience member compliments us about something we did well, it affirms students in the real world, outside the safety of assessment by those closest to us, such as family and friends. The spontaneous feedback of an audience, whether exploding in applause at a stellar performance, or enthusiastically applauding a performer who made it through a bumpy performance, cannot be experienced quite the same virtually because the energy from the an audience can’t be felt online. Recitals present a special opportunity to experience that energy!

  8. Broadens Your Musical Landscape Recitals expose us to musical ideas we’ve never heard before — new music, new styles, new insights into our instrument, new ways of interpreting a piece, and even new ways to play something familiar! I remember the first time I heard a performance of Chopin’s Waltz in C Sharp Minor; it was at my first piano recital and I didn’t know that such beautiful music existed! I was shocked and left with an insatiable thirst to learn more! Experiencing music live is a wonderful way to broaden one’s musical landscape!

  9.  An Inspiring Look Ahead  One of the most exciting aspects of the music recital is hearing students at the higher levels perform! This provides students with a glimpse into the musical future and the joys and possibilities that await if they diligently continue their music studies. A student may think — I can’t wait to learn that piece! Or, I want to be able to play like that! It may just spur a student onto greater commitment to their craft!

  10. Musical Community Sharing the stage with other performers puts the performers in a club that only they share and, thus, develops a sense of mutual respect and community. Students will know that they are not alone in striving to master their instrument and will gain a sense of affirmation that it is time well spent because, guess what, there’s other cool people doing it too!

As you can see, performing in a recital is about so much more than how you played! Don’t miss out on your next recital opportunity!

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