Throughout the past year I have prepared for my senior music recital at Grove City College, which I just completed less than two weeks ago. Since the recital is over I have done a lot of reflecting and now realize how much I have learned and grown as a musician throughout this process. After reflecting upon what I learned I realized how much of it can also be applied to teaching and will hopefully help me become a better educator as I am about to begin the exciting process of teaching.

Challenge

One of the biggest ideas I learned from preparing this recital is to challenge yourself. When working on finalizing the repertoire for my recital I tried to pick pieces that were going to challenge me up until the day of my recital, as this helped me grow tremendously as a musician. As teachers it is very important that we challenge our students so that they don’t get bored. Also, it is very fulfilling both for us and our students when a very challenging piece is performed well. Whether preparing for a recital or preparing our students for a concert everyone involved learns so much more when they are challenged.

Attitude

Keeping a good attitude is a must for a successful performance. This was hard for me at times as preparing a senior recital is a daunting task, but it was much more fun and better music happened when I kept my attitude and outlook on the recital positive. As teachers we need to keep a good attitude because if we have a bad attitude about a piece or concert that attitude will show in our students. I have learned that we need to be role models to our students in many ways including our attitude.

Perseverance

Perseverance is the key to having a succesful recital or concert. There were days that I just wanted to give up because my pieces weren’t sounding how I wanted them to, but I was my teacher continued to remind me to keep pressing on and not give up. As I am getting ready to student teach I am realizing that there will  be days where I feel like giving up on a student or a certain piece. Instead we need to have perseverance and keep pushing ahead. Giving up is the easy way out and nothing is accomplished or learned.

Breaks

One major thing I learned through this process is that we all need breaks at some point. I learned this the hard way as I practiced my recital music everyday. By about October or November I started to become very discouraged and my pieces started not sounding as good. I became very frustrated, but my friends constantly reminded me and encouraged me to take a couple of day break from my music now and then. This worked wonders and after a day or two break my pieces sounded better or ever. I think it is important to remember that our students also will need breaks. After working on a challenging piece for days or weeks it is important to take a few days away from that piece. It is also very important that we are able to read our students and know that some days rehearsing a certain piece is not a good idea. My friends definitely taught me that we all need breaks at some point!

Enjoyment

It may sound simple, but the biggest lesson I learned from completing my senior recital is when preparing for a recital, concert, or any big performance is to have fun and enjoy every single moment of it. I stressed out a lot about the recital, but what I remember the most are the days that I just had fun practicing and playing my music. Preparing for performances is a long tiring and at times frustrating proccess so it is imperative to have fun and enjoy the process. My senior recital was the best and most enjoyable performance I have every had. It is my goal to try to make all of my students performances memorable for them. Of course making music is our primary concern, but I believe that without having fun and enjoying the process great music making will not happen.

Preparing this recital took a lot of time and effort, but was one of the best experiences of my life. It is very gratifying to remember what a piece was like when you started it and then see the finishing product six to eight months later. The purpose of a senior recital is to be the culmination of your four years of private study in college, but I feel my recital was that and so much more. I believe that there is almost always something we can learn and apply to teaching from every experience we have. So, when preparing for a performance, whether as a soloist or teacher, challenge yourself, keep a good attitude, persevere, take breaks, but most importantly enjoy the adventure!!

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