FIRST RECITAL DILEMMA

January 23, 2017 at 02:52 AM · Hi! I'm an adult beginner in violin, I started learning 5 months ago and I'm half way finishing Suzuki Book 1. Last Saturday my teacher asked me if I can join the recital but she is still deciding what piece I will play. But she specifically mentioned, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. When I told my mom about the recital and the piece, she laughed at me. Can I ask my violin teacher not to join the recital until I learn more difficult pieces or should I go for it but request another piece rather than the twinkle twinkle? Right now I can play the all the pieces up until perpetual motion in Suzuki Book 1. Help! I feel like a fool too because I am 24 years old yet I have to play a nursery rhyme in a recital.

Replies (28)

January 23, 2017 at 03:14 AM · I understand how you feel; I am a senior student who got the same request: learn a piece for the teacher's student recital. I said I would learn a piece, but have no desire whatsoever to participate in the recital. The teacher understood, and there was no further discussion. When I was a kid, I did many piano recitals, but now I don't want to go thru that again. Your teacher certainly won't give you a hard time, but it would be a nice gesture to attend and congratulate the kids!

January 23, 2017 at 04:51 AM · Any piece that you have *polished* and *memorized* already (not in the future) is recital-ready. Which of the pieces that you have prepared so far are in this category? Determine which of those you want to perform and demonstrate it for your teacher. Remember, though, everything gets harder when you're with an accompanist (especially if that's a new experience for you) and when you're on stage with all those eyes looking at you.

If you are performing in a recital with a lot of small children, don't worry. I always tell myself that if there weren't children who could play circles around me, classical music would have no future.

January 23, 2017 at 10:21 AM · @Erin- I personally think that recitals will help me as a violinist. It's just that I think I can play a much more difficult song than twinkle twinkle. I also have stage fright but I can overcome it once I'm on stage. The problem lies on what piece I will play. ??????

January 23, 2017 at 10:28 AM · @Paul- I would definitely do what you suggested play a piece to my teacher so she can change her mind about twinkle twinkle. But I'm gonna perform in front of kids, their parents and family members too.

January 23, 2017 at 02:10 PM · Jan, Sorry-- I misunderstood. Best of luck in your debut!

January 23, 2017 at 03:17 PM · I also had my first recital at about 6 months in. I have anxiety, stage fright, and I'm an introvert. I was absolutely terrified but I didn't over think it, I just accepted and practiced. When I arrived at the recital that's when I started panicking, but I did it.

The song I played? Home on the Range. I am a 29 years old and most people there were children, parents and my significant other. I was mortified to have to play such a silly song, but I did it for the experience, not for the song. I got through the song with no mistakes, except my bow was shaking off the string for about half the song. I'm not sure I will ever do it again, at least not until I'm decent, however, I am very proud of my accomplishment and I'd never take it back!

As others have said, ask your teacher about playing something more to your taste. It may just be that you teacher thinks that song is the most polished. Remember, it's not about the song you play, it's about the experience.

January 23, 2017 at 04:12 PM · My opinion is that you are an adult and already know what you want to do. I'd say go with your instincts. If you were 4 years old my answer would be completely different.

You really have nothing to gain from this performance experience at this stage of learning violin and (from my own lifelong experiences in music performance) have no idea of what you might lose.

There will come a time when you will have an opportunity to perform a piece closer to what you want to in a venue you want and not have any question about it.

January 23, 2017 at 04:29 PM · When you get a little better, participating in the recitals will be a good idea--you will make mistakes in the performance, and these will be things you can learn from that will help you in your next performance. Rinse, and repeat. The more performing the better, because it reveals how well you know the music and how good your technique really is, as in what your real baseline is, so you then know better what to work on.

January 23, 2017 at 08:05 PM · I'm not saying you should do it, but even playing a satisfying rendition of Twinkle is not easy. Another way of looking at this is, "Can I play the best possible version of this piece?". It can be easy to just move through piece after piece without really polishing anything. Whether you play this or something else, perform! You need all the performance opportunities as you can get. You rarely get the understanding of what your playing needs that a performance gives you, so take this opportunity, either with Twinkle or something else.

Don't sweat your mom - "Parents just don't understand"

January 23, 2017 at 09:02 PM · Just own it! Play twinkle twinkle. Have fun with it. So what you're older. You'll put a smile on everyone's face. Especially the kids who may be playing tougher pieces.

January 23, 2017 at 09:55 PM · Another cool think you could do is make up your own Twinkle rhythms. Conspire with the accompanist and uncork them on stage!! "Shave and a haircut -- two bits" comes to mind.

January 23, 2017 at 10:04 PM · I am guessing that your teacher chose this piece for the recital for a reason. You should certainly ask why, and then express your feelings on the matter.

I would, however, play the recital. It's great experience. Don't worry about looking silly.

January 23, 2017 at 11:00 PM · I would choose something that you have studied and want to play and discuss it with/play it for your teacher. If you can't agree and still feel uncomfortable about it just tell her or him that you would like to defer your participation until next year. While there is no reason to be embarrassed about playing a simple piece, you want your first experience in public performance to be a positive one and if you feel humiliated going into it, it is not a good scenario.

January 23, 2017 at 11:38 PM · I would just do it. Three months after picking up the violin again, I played Spring ( from the Four Seasons) in front of kids half my age. Was it perfect? Of course not! But I am glad I did it.

January 24, 2017 at 04:12 AM · My prior teacher once told me that playing Twinkle well is more difficult than most concertos. I believe him!

Take it, own it, play it VERY well, and have fun with it. The important part is getting up in front of others and exposing yourself. You don't do that with pieces that are a challenge. You do that with pieces you have mastered.

If it makes you feel better, introduce it as an expert from Mozart k.265.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS7yiD6cz8A

And BTW - after playing for 40+ years, I'm seriously considering playing an early Wohlfart etude at a recital next month. After all this time, I think I may be able to do it real justice!

January 24, 2017 at 04:16 AM · Do it. Help bust stereotypes, and show that cringeworthy performances of Twinkle can be for adults too. Don't worry, everyone totally sucks in the beginning.

January 24, 2017 at 04:32 AM · Fideli, the kids half my age at the same recital were playing Romantic concertos....

January 24, 2017 at 06:37 AM · Thank you everyone for all the advices! Personally I really want to do it and give my own rendition of twinkle twinkle. It's just that I really got discourage when my mom laughed at me. I'd definitely practice had to perform whatever piece! :)

January 24, 2017 at 06:18 PM · Just remember you'll have the last laugh when you're playing Bach A minor in a few years.

January 25, 2017 at 12:48 AM · Make sure your Mom's not invited.

January 26, 2017 at 03:21 AM · On the contrary, invite her and dedicate the piece to her!

Jan, I'm really happy you're going to do it and put your own stamp on it! Do listen to performances of the original Mozart where the piece originated. It might give you some ideas.

January 26, 2017 at 12:12 PM · Do not underestimate the potential of Twinkle Twinkle as an expressive, enjoyable recital piece. For one, it began life as a piano piece by Mozart.

12 Variations in C Major 'Ah vous dirai-je, Maman' K.265

One can take the most basic statement of theme, add some expressive dynamics and beginner vibrato here and there, and create a satisfying performance.

Think of it as a challenge to your technique to take simple tune and use some additional bowing beyond monotone detache and legato strokes.

January 30, 2017 at 10:27 PM · Please record your performance and post. We would all love to see your performance!

February 1, 2017 at 01:02 AM · Foor alternative words, how about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkle,_Twinkle,_Little_Bat ?

Entitle it "The Baseball Song".

February 2, 2017 at 03:55 PM · I find it charming that you're learning the violin at such a late age since people usually discourage older people (relative to little kids). Dont worry and i concur with @carmen tanzio. If you add a little variation to twinkle twinkle little star it's a very charming song. If you really dont feel comfortable with playing it in front of an audience you can pull out but i would suggest you go for it.

If you need help from another violin student you can message me at discord by adding Seletri#9273 or on facebook here https://www.facebook.com/hinotorisutcliff

February 2, 2017 at 04:18 PM · Great question, and I totally understand your dilemma. :) I teach kids from 2 years old through adulthood. From a teacher's perspective, I can say that your teacher will be thrilled if you participate in her recital. She won't be laughing at you, and I'm sure the other people in the recital won't be either. They'll be proud of you that you're putting in the effort to learn violin at this point in your life. And if anyone else laughs at you - well, just let them laugh! :) You're doing a wonderful thing, so don't let yourself be shamed for it.

That said, I'm sure that you can request a different piece if you would rather. Allegro is a really nice one.

Some teachers have a policy that all students must participate in recitals no matter what. Personally, I try to be understanding of my adult students, so that if they don't want to play in the recital I'm not going to force them to. But you might want to check with your teacher about whether she has a hard-and-fast rule about it.

Best of luck! Let us know what you decide and how it goes. ;)

February 6, 2017 at 02:20 PM · I just heard a students' recital in which a five year old played a piece from late Suzuki book 3, with vibrato and shifting, really well for his age; possibly better than most adult and child beginners would have played at around that level of experience. Whether you play the first or a middle piece in Suzuki book 1 is not going to make any difference in the impression you have on your audience. If you played the Gossec Gavotte really well that could be a different matter, but that piece probably shouldn't be in book 1. Accordingly, don't assume that the position in the books correlates with difficulty and accomplishment. Playing the twinkles well is not easier than playing one of the latter pieces say "passably".

I also suggest asking your teacher to accompany you on violin, playing a harmonic part to make the music more interesting for the audience. If your teacher can come down to that level, surely you could too without any feeling of embarrassment.

February 8, 2017 at 12:57 AM · I think most people in the audience would have great respect for you for learning violin, regardless of what piece you play! If anyone laughs, my guess would be that they don't know a lick about playing the instrument.

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