As we get close to recital season, you may be wondering why performing matters at all.
Some parents are afraid their kids might crumble under the pressure, some adult students are wondering why they got themselves into this, and most students are just plain excited.
So what’s it all about, anyway?
Regularly performing the music we learn is extremely valuable, for musical reasons and for personal growth. Here’s why performing matters.
1. Performing matters because students learn life skills.
Students who perform regularly have the opportunity to practice performing under pressure.
As adults, we are often called upon to perform a skill under pressure.
The more we practice, the better we get.
The skill of performing music can be applied to job interviews, presentations, test taking, or public speaking.
We don’t teach students how to ignore pressure or pretend they’re not nervous. We teach them to be familiar with that feeling, focus and push through for a successful outcome.
In short, we practice being courageous!
“But what if my child really messes up?!”
Guess what? Mistakes during performances are not failures.
The skill of making a mistake and recovering from it is invaluable to leading a successful life. We all have to learn to move on from mistakes and refocus.
In fact, it takes as much skill to recover from an error during a performance as it does to play it perfectly.
Obviously, no one wants to make mistakes, but life is full of imperfection. The sooner we learn how to get past that, the more mature people we can be.
If you or your child make a mistake during a recital, just brush it off! We all do!
Every experienced musician has a story about a performance gone wrong.
One of the most famous pianists in history, Vladimir Horowitz, is known to have occasionally made mistakes in his concerts.
In 2006, Joshua Bell, a famous violinist, misaimed his bow during a concert.
He actually knocked his violin into pieces in the middle of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto!
They had to stop the concert!
And of course Taylor Swift wouldn’t have much a career if auto-tune didn’t exist…
We prepare very thoroughly for performances. But every once in a while, even the greatest artists in the world mess up.
It happens, and it’s ok.
A wrong note never killed anyone. (Bad conducting did kill someone in 1687, however. Tragic story here.)
2. Performing matters because art is meant to be shared.
When we perform music for an audience, we are sharing art.
Art is meant to be shared and enjoyed by everyone. It is very important to nurture and value every person’s self-expression.
We bring a new perspective on familiar tunes, we stretch audience’s comfort levels with new modern music, we bring joy to friends and family who are so proud of our accomplishments.
You may be thinking to yourself, “the music my kid is making is really not art.”
Yes, it is! Even the most humble “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” is art. And it deserves to be shared.
We also want students to be ready to perform music on any given day. Whenever they feel like it. Musicians at all levels get a huge boost from being able to perform music at the drop of a hat for their friends.
And students really enjoy performing their pieces for friends, family members, at an audition or at the school talent show.
3. Performing matters because it provides a goal.
Recitals give students a definitive achievement of goals.
About every 6 months, we hold recitals where students have a very concrete event that marks a great achievement in their musical and personal growth.
We are so proud of our students for meeting their goals!
When a student performs a piece of music, they gain self-confidence, pride, and ownership of their instrument, as well as a valuable experience that will help them develop important life skills.
4. Performing matters because it’s fun!
Believe it or not, performing music is really fun.
You might be nervous the first time, but the more you do it, the more you love it.
Making music with friends and achieving a hard-earned goal gives the greatest feeling of joy and satisfaction.
Take a risk — perform regularly for an audience. Support your children in their performance opportunities. When performing matters to parents, performing matters to kids too.
By the way, at Mattix Music Studio, our teachers don’t just talk the talk.
Our teachers perform at each recital, too. We challenge ourselves to grow and inspire our students. We know that performing matters too!
Ask your teachers when their next performance is. Try to go see them in action with their orchestra or band. It will inspire your kids to see their teacher performing!
Still worried? Feel free to talk to your teacher and share all of your concerns.
About the Author
DANIEL MATTIX enjoys a diverse career as a composer, conductor, pianist, church musician, and professor in the Chicago area. His compositions have been performed in over 30 states, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. He teaches a variety of music classes at Moody Bible Institute. He also owns and teaches at Mattix Music Studio with his wife, Katie. Dan earned his Master’s degree at the University of Iowa, where he studied piano, conducting, and voice.
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