Six Benefits to Playing in a Recital

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Leah Kruszewski
Six Benefits to Playing in a Recital

June 2021 Update: 

Our upcoming performance opportunities are:

(2) Open Mic: July 25th 2021

(2) Recital Week: August 1st-5th 2021

Sign up using the links above and share your thoughts and questions as comments below.

--forum post from spring 2019: --

If you haven’t heard yet, Lessonface has two recital dates coming up: June 10th and June 15th.  Any Lessonface student is invited to participate, and you can sign up here: .  All types of students are welcome - young, old, experienced, beginner, any instrument, any style.  Likewise, all types of students can learn and grow from sharing their music with an audience. Here are some of the benefits you can expect:

1.  Recitals are excellent motivators.  

When we’re our own primary audience, it’s easy to be satisfied playing our piece well once or twice, even if we know it doesn’t come out that way every time.  Even playing for your teacher in lessons becomes routine after a while. Having a recital to work towards brings a fresh sense of purpose and motivation to your playing and practice habits.

2.  You’ll learn new practice skills and develop new approaches to problem-solving.

To polish a piece and get it ready for performance, we need to bring it to 150% of our potential.  We don’t do that by repetition alone. There are lots tips and tricks for fine-tuning a piece (check out some of them in this article).  Every new approach holds a musical lesson to be learned, and a tool to use to resolve certain kinds of issues.

3. You’ll bring your musicianship to a new level.  

Recitals make demands on your musicianship that ordinary practice doesn’t.  We become more aware of every movement and detail. We learn how to continue playing even when things go wrong.  And we learn how to communicate what we love about the music we’re performing in a way that makes the audience understand and love it too.  

In a little more detail:

-  Different ways of thinking about music.  Many students are overly reliant on muscle memory, for example.  If you can only start playing a piece at the beginning, or if an error or memory slip derails you completely, that probably applies to you.  When we are bringing a piece to performance standards, we also develop our aural memory (of how the piece sounds), conceptual memory (understanding the structure, harmony, and musical language in a piece), and visual memory (how the piece looks on the page and under our fingers). Those extra dimensions develop our understanding of music and help us turn lots of tiny details into one big idea.

- ‘Performance Mode’ and Sense of Rhythm.  It would be nice to perform a piece flawlessly in a recital.  In reality, we’re only human. Strange things can happen under pressure, and we have to prepare for the unexpected.  Luckily, audiences are very forgiving of wrong notes. As long as we keep the rhythm moving, they usually don’t even notice.  In preparing for a recital, we cultivate what I call a ‘performance mode’ approach. In ‘performance mode’, we keep the rhythm and the big picture flowing no matter what happens. If handled correctly, there is really no single mistake that can ruin a heartfelt performance.  The only real error is letting an error get under our skin and distract us from the remainder of the piece.

- Interpretation skills.  If you’ve chosen to learn a piece, you probably already love it.  Just having the notes come out from your own fingers might be fun and satisfying enough for your own purposes.  Yet when we play for an audience, we need to teach them how to love it as much as we do. Since the music is not as familiar to them, we need to emphasize and exaggerate what makes it great.  That’s where interpretation comes in. In learning to communicate the music’s highs, lows, builds, contrasts, and surprises, we sharpen our control of phrasing, dynamics, and other interpretive skills.

4. You’ll connect with your peers.  

It’s immensely helpful to hear other amateur musicians share what they’re working on.  It helps you see how unique every individual’s musical journey is. Seeing beginning students play reminds you where you started and how far you’ve progressed.  When you hear a student more advanced than you, you can get a glimpse of your ‘next step’ in the not-so-distant future. You can likewise get ideas and inspiration for repertoire and styles you’d like to explore.  

5. Your family and friends want to hear you play.   

Music is a really exciting passion to be able to share.  If you dedicate a lot of your free time to music, and if your family and friends encourage and support your pursuit, it’s really nice to be able to show off the fruits of your labor.

6. It’s really fun!  

Performances are hard work to prepare for, but the results are well worth it.  It feels great to share our music with the world, and you’ll be surprised and encouraged by all the positive feedback you receive.  Even if the act of performing is more nerve-wracking than fun (this happens sometimes, but not always), don’t worry - your performance high will be waiting for you after you finish.  

Have you participated in recitals before?  Did I neglect to mention any benefit? What have your performing experiences been like so far?  

Taylor H

Do you know if these recitals will be recorded so that we can enjoy it at a later date as well?

Leah Kruszewski

Hi Taylor, I've checked on this - it's technically feasible but depends on getting permission from the participants.  I'll let you know when I know for sure : )

Claire Cunningham

Thanks Leah! Hi Taylor, Yes, we will record, and participants can decide when they sign up if they want to be a part of the recording.  We added that to the sign up form. Looking forward to it!

Leah Kruszewski

Hi all!  I just updated the top of this thread to feature our upcoming performance opportunities.  Use the links below to sign up for either (or both!).  We can't wait to see you perform the music you're learning this summer!

(1) Open Mic: July 25th 2021

(2) Recital Week: August 1st-5th 2021

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