Recitals

May 19, 2021, 2:01 PM · Hi everyone!! I am new here because I am a new violin student. I have been taking lessons since March and my instructor has told me how well I am doing. The difference with me compared to most students on here is I am older. Being over 40 and being a music student is definitely a little different as I’m not the oldest student she has had but the only adult at the time she has.

Recently she has been encouraging me to play in the Fall or Winter recital. She tells me how fast I’m learning and how much I have advanced in such a short time period that she thinks playing in the recital would be a good challenge for me to learn a harder piece. I understand that part plus it would be setting a goal for myself. But my question is to all of you instructors out there, how often do adult participate in recitals and how do they feel about doing it? If you have a thought.please let me know. I appreciate it.

Replies (9)

May 19, 2021, 2:26 PM · As an adult, I know I'd be okay if my teacher chose to put me in a recital as long as the piece I was playing in it was at my level or even a little below
May 19, 2021, 2:40 PM · I'm not a teacher, but I'm an adult (60 yo) who started taking lessons a little less than three years ago. Before that, I'd played fiddle briefly in a folk band until I realized that a) I had zero technique and b) I don't really like playing folk music.

I have performed in one student recital, about eight months after I started lessons. I have missed all the subsequent recitals for a number of reasons (illness, and then the pandemic). My teacher has a handful of adult students and a bunch of kid students, and she arranges separate recitals for the two groups. The adult recitals include adult students of other teachers.

I enjoyed everything about the recital except actually performing, which was a humbling experience. My imaginary level of ability was not matched by my actual level of ability, which was a good lesson to learn and made me get more serious about working on my technique. I was not the worst player among our group, but to be honest I don't really remember any of the other student performances, and my own is still pretty vivid after 2 1/2 years. Had I had more realistic expectations, I would've enjoyed it a lot more, hacking away at beginner rep with people my age.

It's hard to get used to playing in front of people, so any excuse to do that is a good excuse, I think. With the warmer weather, I've taken to practicing with the windows open. So far none of my neighbors has complained. If there is an adult student recital in the fall this year, I hope to play in it. I'm working on the Beethoven romance in G major. I have no idea if this comment is in any way helpful.

May 19, 2021, 2:56 PM · Four years ago, just before I turned 68, I played in my first recital after three lessons. I played one short tune and that was that. I was the tallest violinist by several inches, and the oldest violins by several decades. I was the only adult. I asked my teacher if she had other adult students, and she said she did but they were too shy to perform. So, we organized some adult only soirees. No audience, just the players, some snacks, some water, some wine, etc. No pressure, no hassle. The soirees went well, and the adults got over that hump of fearing performing. Now, in the regular recitals, roughly a third of the performers are adults. Go for it!
May 19, 2021, 3:45 PM · I'm a 65-year-old returner who has taken lessons with my current teacher for a little over two years. I played in his fall recital when I'd been with him for about 10 months. The other players were about evenly divided between adults and teenagers, with the two most advanced students being teenagers. One student looked like she was older than me, but most of the adults were middle-aged men. I'm getting ready to participate in my teacher's Zoom watch party recital. I think he plans to take videos of us performing at our lessons and then show them on a Zoom meetup. This sounds less scary to me than a live performance since I am used to having him record my lesson for later review.
May 19, 2021, 6:26 PM · Greetings,
adults do it all the time. My friend and accompanist Daniel Forró
who is also an internationally acclaimed composer started the koto and appeared as a hulking gorilla sandwiched between tiny little Japanese girls in flower print yukawa (lightweight kinomo)
I think there are two reasons to play the violin. One for your own personal satisfaction and growth and two, to give pleasure to other people. They overlap and inform each other but the latter is by far the most important.
Some people say adults are more self conscious about performing because they are used to being judged and over self critical (see Inner Game stuff) but so what. Just go ahead and do it. Have a ball, take pride in your achievement and go on to prove that anyone can and should do this kind of
stuff irrespective of age.
Cheers,
Buri
May 19, 2021, 6:33 PM · Greetings,
I was just going through my daily quotes and I found the following:
Where do are deepest moments of happiness come from?
A: Your deepest moments of happiness don’t come from doing easy things; they come from realizing your potential and overcoming your own limiting beliefs about yourself. Ultralearning offers a path to master those things that will bring you deep satisfaction and self-confidence.

Q: what should learners do before visualising a successful performance?
A: Before attempting the task, encourage them to use their mind’s eye and project themselves forward in time to see themselves doing the task in the way they would like to perform.

Both may be of some help,
Cheers,
Buri

May 19, 2021, 6:42 PM · Lowe, I think if you want to do this it would be great and it could be lots of fun. You might want to have a "trial performance" ahead of time for some friends or family (or a combination of both) so learn what it feels like; you could add some of your other musical pieces as well. (Salon performances were a "big thing" 100 to 200 yeas ago, but some of us have continued the tradition to the present day (well, before COVID, anyway.)

Serve refreshments - that's an important part of the occasion!

May 19, 2021, 7:38 PM · Greeetings,
yes, Andrew is touching on the secret of recital success. perform it ten, fifteen twenty times to anybody and everybody so when you come to the event it will seem as natural as one’s morning ablutions....
Cheers,
Buri
Edited: May 19, 2021, 9:03 PM · I have a friend I made 30+ years ago during my university days as a revolutionary marxist. I've been through a lot of experiences and new ways of thinking since then, but I've kept him as a friend and we still meet a few times a year for breakfast to discuss the world, the history and future of civilization and the biosphere generally.

I've been telling him how much pleasure and satisfaction I get from playing my viola da gamba, an instrument I've been playing only half as long as the violin (almost 3 years VdG vs. just over 6 Vn), but at least I've had over 20 in-person lessons on the gamba and sometimes the sounds I make promise to someday become music. What a surprise when he proposed our next meeting sometime this summer be in a park under a tree where I will play him some gamba music!

HOLY COW I'm nervous! I'm really not very good at all! But he's right, I'm gonna do it. It is the challenge I need to finally polish the set of 12 Preludes for solo bass viol by a wonderful living composer Will Ayton, pieces that were very hard for me when I bought the book 2 years ago and that still challenge me...but its time to at least register my progress so far, whatever that might be.

Thank you to Buri for his profound pair of Q&As a few comments above this one. And though off-topic, since I know he's at least been in the discussion, Buri I just discovered your blog articles here and am enjoying them immensely! Your most recent one on instant gratification at practice inspired to take a violin etude book I'd set aside, thanks also to the valuable discussion below your article (and nice opening with mention of George Lakoff, I read about half of his book with [??] Johnson called Philosophy in the Flesh, which I've thought much about for probably 15 years and even revisit from time to time). In that book they argue that much of our lingual communication is built on metaphors of bodily sensations, and indeed that much of our cognition is somatic, maybe an "I feel therefore I am" philosophy? My readings lately on voice leading and composition even return me to it, as we perceive motion in music, not just movement in time but actually going somewhere, giving priority to the horizontal line over the still-essential vertical.

So now I'm imagining how I want to perform the Will Ayton preludes in my first recital coming this summer, deriving deep happiness from the challenge and unlearning the thoughts that I'm not yet good enough for anyone to hear. Besides the gorgeous resonant sound of the instrument, and the early music repertoire for it, I am attracted to it also because of its history as primarily an amateur instrument, taken up by the gentry as pastime together in consort after running their estates and enterprises during the day. Electricity has in some ways ruined music by broadcasting and commercializing the virtuosic professionals, leaving us front porch musicians ashamed and discouraged when music had once been made in virtually every house.


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