I don’t remember my very first violin recital because I was just 4. I didn’t play an actual song since I hadn’t started long before that. Instead, I played a finger exercise. It’s one of those things that helps you practice putting down your fingers correctly on your violin. The finger exercises I teach my students are portions of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star before they learn the whole song, so this was probably something very similar. To some, getting up on stage to play for less than 30 seconds probably seems like a waste of time. For a student’s parents, it’s a chance to see their child demonstrate all they’ve learned. And trust me, even a finger exercise on the violin is A LOT to learn. For the student, it’s even more valuable. It teaches them performance etiquette, like how to hold your violin and taking a bow. It teaches poise under stress. Because even in a very positive environment, like a studio recital, it can be very stressful to a little violinist who hasn’t been playing very long. And it teaches them that playing in front of people doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be fun.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we had our spring solo recital. Four of my students played pieces they had been working on for a very long time. My students pick their pieces a month ahead of time and in most cases, they are encouraged to pick a piece that isn’t the one they are working on when we pick. This sets them up for success in their performance because they are playing a piece with which they are completely comfortable.
Around that same time, I send my parents an image file of an invitation that they can email or print out to invite friends and family to our performance. I just started doing this for this last recital, but it’s something I will do every single time from now on.
I also arrange for refreshments to be served afterward. Right now, with the size of our studio, I really only need one person to bring a treat, since my mom is wonderful and helps me with this part of the evening, but my plan for the future is to have a sign up sheet for these events and ask the parents at the beginning of the year to sign up to bring something to one event.
I am also very fortunate to have a great space for my recitals. The basement of my church has a stage and it is large enough for us to set up chairs and the refreshment tables all at once. I am so grateful to have this space.
Finally, because we are so few in number, and because a couple of my students were unable to play, a good friend and colleague of mine came to play the Bach Double Violin Concerto. We had an absolute blast playing.
I just want to thank the families in my studio for their work with their children. It really made the whole evening wonderful because each of the students played from their heart. I am already looking forward to our recital next fall and can’t wait to see how they have grown!