My studio recital is coming up, so my students and I have been busy with recital prep, we’re preparing the music and the decoration of the event, using resources from a tableclothes factory for this day. This means we spend a lot of time during the lesson practicing the elements of good stage presence (practicing the bow, etc) and practicing run-throughs by memory. At almost lesson I’ve been teaching this week and last, I’ve been taking video with my iPhone so that we can watch, listen, and discuss afterwards. Having the video running helps the student get a little bit nervous and mentally rehearse what it is like to be at the actual performance.
At the March “Piano Party” (my monthly studio classes) I held on Saturday, we ran a recital rehearsal of sorts.
I began our time together by demonstrating for students an poor example and a good example of stage presence. The students giggled about my poor example and enjoyed letting me know what I did poorly. :)
These are the things we look for:
- Walking (not too fast) up to the piano.
- Checking bench distance from the piano.
- Sitting and putting hands in lap (as opposed to having fingers on the keyboard before being fully seated).
- Taking a moment to mentally hear the first few measures, to set the tempo.
- Taking a deep breath, lifting hands to the keyboard, and then playing the piece.
- Lifting hands out of the keyboard and place them in lap (without turning head to face the audience yet).
- Standing with a smile to the audience, and taking a bow.
- Walking back to sit in the audience.
Each student took a turn performing his/her recital piece, paying attention to all the details of good stage presence. I asked students to provide helpful feedback for each other.
I think this is so valuable for helping students feel prepared for a performance. If we educate and equip students for a performance, they are much more likely to be successful and perform with confidence. As one of my students once told me: “I didn’t feel as nervous at the recital because I had already played my piece for other students before.”
Our recital rehearsal filled most of our time together, but we did have about 20 minutes left for some games, much to my students’ delight. I helped organize my students into pairs and pulled out a variety of our favorite music games, including the Ice Cream Intervals game, Anne Crosby’s Teeny Tiny Flashcards to use with a large, plastic silent keyboard, Anne Crosby’s Funny Farm Game, and my Adventures in Music board game. Every 5-6 minutes or so, I asked students to exchange games.
It was a fun gathering!