My students gather together 3 times per year at my Piano and Poetry parties to share pieces and poems. I used to have 1 recital per year, then I tried holding one recital plus one smaller party each year. But my students just weren’t getting enough opportunities to play in front of others, especially if they had to miss one of our gatherings. So I have them every four months now, and I can tell you that having my students perform more often is working out quite well. Every one is getting a little bit calmer, and playing longer and more complicated pieces. It’s so great for them to support each other’s progress three times per year.
For our February party, I polish my silver trays and tea sets, and make tiny tea sandwiches
to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s so much fun for me to use these beautiful pieces we have inherited from my grandmother and my husband’s grandmother and mother. My students bring lots of delicious dishes and we have a feast (after playing, when everyone’s appetites have returned!)
I have to hold back my tears throughout the performances because it is so touching to hear everyone playing so beautifully. It takes a lot of courage for my students to come and play in front of 10-15 people (or more at our May recital) three times per year. I have so much admiration for those who choose to attend. Even those who just read a poem feel vulnerable speaking in front of others, but all who participate challenge themselves to show up and work through their fears.
Our blog friend Nancy is having guests this weekend, and said that she was going to try to practice in front of them. As I wrote in my former post, Music Is A Gift, I hope you will seek out opportunities to play in front of others. You can even play just part of your piece. When you stop, just say, “That’s all I know for now!” Believe me, they will enjoy it. And you will have practiced a valuable skill– playing in public. People LOVE to hear you play the piano. Hearing live music is a great gift, even if there are a few mistakes.
Sergei Rachmaninov said,
Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.
Keep on playing. At least 10 minutes per day!
With love and music, Gaili