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The Weekend Vote

V.com weekend vote: What is the most stressful thing about giving a recital?

March 15, 2008 at 6:45 AM

Twice a year I arrange a recital for my studio, and with spring in the air, it's time to do it again. Despite arranging a good number of my own recitals as well as my students, this task remains a large one. First, I have to find a date that is mutually acceptable for both the church where we hold the recital and my accompanist. Then, I have to flog my students for several months, choose pieces for them, make them memorize their pieces a month in advance, remind them at every opportunity to save the date, to invite their friends, etc. Then I prepare the programs, prepare my house for the reception (I forgot to mention the reception in the poll!)...

Back when I gave my own recitals, I learned an important fact about promoting them: if you want anyone to show up at your recital, you need to paper the town with recital posters and started talking it up to every friend and fan you have LONG before you feel comfortable that your performance is ready for prime time. And this, my friends, can be stressful.

Example: You still can't play the last movement of the Ravel Sonata and the recital is three weeks away, and someone says, "I'd enjoy hearing you play. What are you playing at your recital next month?"

Wrong answer: "Oh my God, the Ravel Sonata, it's so hard and I totally can't play the last movement. Right now it sounds absolutely horrible. I'm going to have to practice at least 40 more hours on it and my fingers just may fall off and I'm so stressed out about this recital I think I just might end up in an institution."

Better answer: "I'm going to play the Ravel Sonata -- oh you would totally LOVE it! The last movement is wicked fast, and it's so incredibly fun to play. It fits with the piano in such a cool way, too. I'd be so thrilled if you could come hear me play it! Can you bring you sister, too? And doesn't her best friend play the violin? I'd love to have her along as well! Here's the flyer..."

What, for you, is the most stressful part of giving a recital or performance? Be sure to tell us why, and if it isn't listed, tell us about it in the comments!


From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 15, 2008 at 8:13 AM
I think it's remembering to tell people. I forgot to tell one entire family last year. That haunts me to this day.

Also, misspelling names.

From Nicole Stacy
Posted on March 15, 2008 at 7:15 PM
Imagine getting to the hall and finding it double-booked.
From Maeve O'Hara
Posted on March 16, 2008 at 4:54 AM
NERVES, especially the doubt-filled week before.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on March 16, 2008 at 2:16 PM
Giving studio recitals isn't stressful for me, but fun! I have learned a few things along the way:

1) I let the pianist schedule the recital and rehearsal times. We are lucky to have a fabulous pianist, so I work around her, and am happy to do so.

2) I get the dates/times worked out way in advance, and then keep reminding folks about it!

3) I create a recital "book" for the pianist. Because my students play pieces from many sources, having all the piano parts, in order, in one book, makes life easier for the pianist.

4) I have a standard recital "kit", including things like nail clippers (!), rosin, music, spare shoulder rests, safety pins, tissue, etc. Just follow the old saying "Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best".

5) I ask the kids how they want their names to appear in the program. I have botched names in the past, usually mixing up "i" and "y".

6) I don't have receptions. There is a great ice cream place right down the road, and that makes things much easier. (It is great, but not as great as Graeter's!)

From Mara Gerety
Posted on March 16, 2008 at 11:17 PM
The week before is the worst. When all you can hear is how much more you want to make of the pieces and all you can see is the lack of space on the calendar in which to do so.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on March 17, 2008 at 4:55 PM
My son just gave his Suzuki Book 1 graduation piano recital at our house this weekend. It was a really nice rite of passage, with his teacher and about a half-dozen friends. :)

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