Nicole O., California
I’ve made it a habit to have piano performances at least three times a year and each time I’ve done it simply as an opportunity for students to showcase their work/successes. I try not to make too much of an ordeal out of it as I want them all to be comfortable and excited about sharing their songs.
Here are some things I’ve done in the past and am planning to do next weekend at the next performance:
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• I rent a space at a church in my area. • One of the parents always comes with his video set-up, microphones, camera – and a few weeks after the performance he provides DVDs to all the students for a fee; also, he provides all of the photos for my website – great man:) • Parents/students bring a snack/dessert/fruit and I provide the beverages. • To prepare for the performance, I tell each student a few weeks in advance that they can choose to play up to three songs (I usually have about 12 to 15 students participate). • At their lesson before the performance, we practice introducing ourselves and the song we’re going to play and then also bowing after, but they always seem to forget that part during the performance:) • I type up a program with their names and song choices to hand out to everyone at the performance. • At the performance, I make a little announcement, welcome all the family and friends that have come and then we start. I have picked who goes first a couple different ways. Sometimes I put each name on a stick and have students or parents randomly draw sticks until everyone’s played their songs. Most of the students plan to play three songs and they’ll only play one at a time. Giving them a little break. By the end of the performance, I’m always amazed at how relaxed they all are and how much they want to continue to playing! • As far as picking songs to play. I make suggestions about playing their own compositions or playing a familiar song that they’ve written new lyrics for. Most of them love to sing into the microphone as they’re playing. Parents and friends are given lyrics to all the songs and we all sing along. Because I usually have a few beginners with a limited repertoire, there is a lot of repetition. At one performance, I think we heard Night Storm about 6 times. But for me, that’s just part of it. They feel so proud to be able to play anything:) • After everyone has played, I then take a seat at the piano and play something. Either one of my own compositions, a classical piece, ragtime, something from the 30s or 40s, just something I enjoy playing and know the students and parents will enjoy. • I used to have the refreshments set up before the performance, which allowed everyone to dig in right away. This made it a bit more difficult to get everyone settled. In June, I changed the approach, and made sure that refreshments would follow the performance. This seemed to work better as it then gave everyone a chance to mingle and talk about the performance. Students got the kudos they deserve and parents got to meet other parents. • I decided that for the upcoming performance, we would do it as a costume party. The kids are sooo excited about this! I honestly, haven’t put that much thought into how to make it extra special:), but I’ll be doing that this week. Any suggestions are welcome! I plan to use the same format, but am interested in adding some Halloween fun:) Anyway…. I know this is LOOOOONG. I apologize. I hope this helps. And look forward to hearing how other teachers conduct their piano performances.