Performances, Questions, repertoire / methods

Forum Q&A | Recital Music: Assign Easy, Hard, or Just Right?

Ready for another installment of a Forum Q&A?  Okay!

A couple of weeks ago we discussed what to do when a student performance “bombs.”  This week, we’ll return to the topic of recitals and talk about assigning repertoire:

When assignment recital repertoire to students, do you generally assign something challenging since they have a lot of time to work on it?  Or do you assign something that is a little bit easy for them, so they can easily succeed at polishing and memorizing the piece?  Or do you simply assign a piece that is right at their current level?

Share your thoughts below!

Photo Credit: meddygarnet | CC 2.0

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6 thoughts on “Forum Q&A | Recital Music: Assign Easy, Hard, or Just Right?”

  1. It depends on the student. If I know the student likes a challenge and will strive for mastery, I will give him a piece beyond his level (of course giving it to him in plenty of time to learn in well for the recital 🙂 ) If the student gets overwhelmed easily, or doesn’t like to be challanged, I will give them a him that is his level.

  2. I tend to let the student (with my guidance, of course) select music at their current level or a little easier. I truly want the recital experience to be positive and encouraging. I hated recitals as a student and vowed as a teacher I would make them fun and my students all enjoy performing at the recital (so far!). We call it a “Celebration Recital.”

  3. I go with Hannah’s logic – a few students love the challenge of putting together a fantastic piece that’s a bit of a stretch for recital, others struggle just to get through their regular lesson material and need the comfort of something they feel is easy for performance. Obviously for new beginners, we just pick a recent favorite from the lesson book for the first couple of recitals. Most of my students play pieces that are right at their level in terms of note reading, etc. but I stretch them with artistic or very rhythmic pieces that we’ve selected especially for the recital.

  4. I used to always assign pieces that were one level above their current one since I was giving them a lot of time to learn and polish the piece. I’ve since learned better! =) Now, it depends entirely on the student. There are some students who are always up for a challenging piece, but there are others who may be working through insecurities with performance anxiety and memorization. I give these students pieces that are easily attainable, but sound/look impressive to the performer and listener.

  5. I completely agree with the comments. I want the recital to be a time when they get to play a piece they enjoy and have confidence playing. I generally keep the pieces to their same level, or just slightly harder. I love the pieces that sound more difficult than they really are.
    As piano teachers, we are teaching them to read music and play the piano. It seems to me that when a student has to be basically taught a piece measure by measure by rote, that it goes completely against what we are suppose to be doing.

  6. I’d love to see lists or links to lists of good, showy, but not too hard recital or performance favorites, maybe arranged by level…like we had at Christmas time…I’ve used some of those sites over and over since then….

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