Recitals are good for students both in the short and long term, relevant to music lessons, academics, personal life and career. When students express a hesitation to attend recitals it might seem simple to acquiesce and cross one more thing off of your busy calendars but take a moment to consider all of the facets of this lost opportunity before caving in. The joy of performing in front of an audience and learning to overcome stage fright, the lifelong memories and gained confidence from a fun and successful recital are only the beginning.
The beneficial lessons learned from recital participation translate into real life lessons,whether students are on a musical career path or not. Recitals offer the satisfaction realized from the opportunity to shine which in turn boosts confidence. Overcoming natural stage fright takes courage which builds character. And still, there is so much more.
Recitals teach discipline. Whether preparing to perform a piece now, preparing for exams in school, working on a thesis at college, preparing a presentation for work, preparing to discuss a diagnosis and treatment options with a patient or presenting a case in court, discipline is required. Discipline leads to mastery and instilling that concept at a young age is immeasurably valuable.
Recitals teach us how to manage our time and work with deadlines. I would argue that responsible time management skills may be the most valuable tool we can provide in the process of guiding our children toward independence. The ability to work with deadlines transcend all areas of life – personal, home and career. The successful time manager will conduct themselves in such a way as to minimize stress in their lives. Breaking tasks down into manageable parts and accomplishing them in an orderly manner teaches students how to be prepared ahead of the actual deadline so that they are comfortable with the repertoire. That level of preparedness can mean no more cramming for exams, never again suffering the consequences of leaving the grocery shopping or bill paying until the last minute or having to work late to complete what could have been accomplished during regular business hours.
Recitals help students to delve into the music they are playing. They will become aware of the fact that the music they are playing is constructed in an orderly and structured way. Gaining an awareness of those patterns and their subtle changes is both emotionally satisfying (we all crave order) and essential to completing any task; cooking a meal, writing a resume, building a home or creating new software. Being able to recognize the significance of patterns helps us to gain a more meaningful understanding of how things work and how they and we are interconnected. This also leads to the tendency to pay closer attention to detail which can lead to giving any task we are attempting more focused attention, therefore attaining more complex goals.
Recitals teach us how to deal with mistakes. We are human. We make mistakes. We can learn to minimize mistakes but not avoid them. Learning to accept our mistakes and work with them early in life is obviously an ability that surpasses almost everything else brought to light in this article. Becoming aware of this tendency can create compassion and understanding on so many levels.
Recitals provide immediate feedback as well. You know immediately if you did well and you know what you could have done better. Recitals provide a safe platform with an audience that wants to see you in the best light and will reward you for doing the best that you can do. Reflecting back on your successes and recognizing any weak areas are essential to progress. There is always another recital, another essay, another presentation.
Recitals and performance are their own teacher. We are constantly faced with performing in addition to and not necessarily pertinent to music. Whether we are giving a presentation at school or work, making a toast at a wedding, getting up to bat at a baseball game with the score tied at the bottom of the last inning, teaching, or introducing yourself to potential customers, clients or employees, our lives are full of performance opportunities. Recital performance offers a concentrated dose of experience that goes a long way toward helping to develop the calm focus and attention needed in any performance situation we find ourselves in. Student recitals offer the additional benefit of safety, providing a nurturing environment yet holding an intensely effective preparation in the development of performance growth.
I will close with this true music school story. Many years ago there was an adult student with a very successful professional life who took music lessons and like many adults wished there was more time to practice. Despite that fact, the student persevered with lessons and even participated willingly in recitals. This student exuded an innate level of comfort and confidence in front of an audience that literally overcame the fact that they were not particularly accomplished on their instrument. I so admired those traits and wished that I had the opportunity to have learned them at an early age! I can not honestly say how the person came by this skill and cannot suggest that music recitals are the only way but they certainly provide a reasonable and natural option for students studying a musical instrument.