|Morgann Davis and studio.
Logistically, it can be difficult to organize a recital, but once you’re past that part of the process you are left with a very rewarding musical journey to take with your students. I begin by finding a location I like and offering two dates for parents to choose from, usually about two months in advance. It can be hard to coordinate so many schedules, so my goal is always to have about two-thirds of my students present at a recital. I find that Sunday afternoons work well, but it may depend on the area you live in and the other activities that your students participate in.
|Morgann performing with student.
In regards to accompaniment and learning to collaborate, recitals again provide excellent opportunities for students to learn. Many will have played very little outside of band at school, and are often unfamiliar with chamber music, cueing, communicating through gesture, and other subtle elements of performance. Even the youngest students can give confident cues and cut offs with the right preparation, and all enjoy feeling like they are truly in charge of what’s happening with their piece.
|Morgann accompanying student.
At least two to three weeks before the recital, I begin discussing stage presence and performance practice with all the students. I have each student, from youngest to oldest, practice bowing and how they will carry themselves on stage. We talk early on about the fact that they will not be able to stop and correct mistakes in performance, and work on doing “no-stop” run-throughs of their pieces. It is usually around this time that students begin to express feelings of nervousness to me. Depending on the severity of their performance anxiety, we do a number of activities to help with this. There are, however, a few key points that I stress with each student, even if they’ve heard me say it before. I remind them that although the audience may look intimidating when you’re on stage, everyone listening is hoping to hear amazing performances and that for each new performer who comes on stage they are likely hoping to hear something truly amazing. I also remind them of the hard work they’ve done, and how much progress we’ve made since beginning the piece. I share that while we might be afraid that we’ll mess up, it’s very exciting to share our hard work with our family and
friends. Finally, I always confide that they’re not alone - we all get nervous! The key is figuring out how to take your nervous energy and make it useful.
As a young student, I learned stage presence from taking dance lessons where etiquette was always stressed, and you were on stage at a very young age. For my flute students, my goal is always that they become comfortable on stage in a similar way so that they may play with ease and poise. I want my students to have as many opportunities as I can provide to share the music they’re making with as many people as possible, not just with me each week in lessons. Studio recitals inspire hard work and preparation, but provide a relatively safe environment to grow into excellent stage presence and musicianship. No student is too young or old to discover the excitement of live performance, or to be inspired by a positive performance experience that is preceded by hard work.
For more on Morgann Davis, visit her website at http://www.morgannelycedavis.com/.