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For a Stellar Recital Experience, Try These Cool Tricks
by Lara Levitan
We’ve all heard the same old music recital tips: practice, get lots of sleep, and know that it’s normal to be nervous. But what else can you do to help ease nerves and get your student pumped for the big day?
These recital prep tips will add some unexpected new tools to your toolbox.
1. Have “mini concerts” at home.
If age-appropriate, help your student line up an audience of stuffed animals, or invite friends and neighbors over to listen. Make it fun!
2. Focus on getting to the end.
While practicing, advise your student to make getting from the beginning to the end of the song the goal, rather than playing the song perfectly.
“I’ve been in many situations where my practice went downhill the week of a show,” said instructor Andrew Doney. “As soon as I made a mistake I imagined making that mistake on stage, which led to a feedback loop of negativity. Once I started focusing on finishing the song, the mistakes faded away. Obsessing over little errors is a sure-fire way to have a shaky performance.”
3. Make videos!
Record your child playing her song once a week for the next few weeks. Watch the videos and review, together, how she’s already improved and what she can still work on. This can help boost confidence and prove to her that practice does pay off.
4. Mimic recital nerves.
Your student is likely to have some jitters— shaking hands, sweaty palms, pounding heart— on the day of the recital. Help prepare him for the experience of playing while the body is excited.
Before practicing at home, do a set of rigorous jumping jacks together, then have him play the song immediately. This may acclimate him to the feeling of playing through distracting bodily sensations.
5. Pick an outfit.
Help your child pick out a new recital outfit they really love far in advance. If your kid loves clothes, this can increase excitement for the performance.
On the day of:
6. Don’t come hungry!
Nothing’s more distracting than a growling tummy. Before the recital, encourage your child to eat a big meal with lots of protein so they’ll feel fuller longer.
7. Bring a good luck charm.
If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or other token of comfort, seeing it at the recital can be soothing. For older children, special pieces of jewelry or other sentimental objects (a photo of a beloved pet in the back pocket?) may do the trick.
As a parent, remember that you can help set the tone for the recital by remaining calm and encouraging over the next few weeks and, of course, on the day of!