How You Can Help Your Child Prepare for the Music Recital
With only about a month or so to go before our APA Spring Music Recital, all of our students are working hard to get the performance of their song ready. Our music teachers are helping students take their pieces beyond the basic level of playing or singing correct notes and rhythms and working toward creating a piece with expression and feeling. Students and teachers are working together to prepare wonderful music to showcase to all of our APA music families and friends. It is a lot of work, but so important for the growth of all of our musicians.
One big question I receive every year from some music parents is: How can I help my child prepare for the recital when I know nothing about music? For all of you parents out there who are looking for guidance in how to best help your musician, here are several ways in which YOU, yes YOU, can help 😊…
- Provide an audience for your musician when they are practicing their piece.
Most of us experience some sort of performance anxiety before a recital because we want to do well and we care what the audience thinks. It is a natural response to the excitement of the event, and it is important for students to acknowledge it and not let it affect them in a negative way. One of the best ways to do this is to get a ton of practice playing in front of an audience before the actual performance. The more you do it, the easier it gets to realize that the anxiety is natural and can be used to enhance performance. Parents can be that audience for their child, and also gather friends and family (virtually if needed!) to be an audience as well.
- Give performance feedback on the non-music-related recital details.
Before each performance, music students must walk up to a microphone and clearly announce their name and song title. They perform and then acknowledge the applause of the audience with a bow or curtsy before walking off stage. It is amazing how much easier it is to do this successfully when you have practiced this procedure multiple times before a performance. Parents can be hugely helpful in providing their child with tips on how to speak clearly and confidently, how to walk with confidence, how to smile (this is a big one as just going through the motion of a smile can make a child relax a little before a performance), and how to remember to acknowledge an audience with a bow or curtsy before they leave the stage.
- Help your musician select an appropriate performance outfit.
This may seem silly, but having the right performance outfit can be very helpful to a musician. You obviously want your musician to dress formally for their recital event, but you also want them to be comfortable so they can perform their music without any unnecessary restriction. For example, if your pianist is using the pedal with their song, they want to make sure to wear shoes that will allow them to press it down with ease and without a lot of extra effort. Something like flip flops (even if they are a more formal pair) will make this more difficult for them. If your child is a vocalist and only practices their song with flats on, they should make sure to perform at the recital with dress flats so their shoes do not affect their balance and posture. What we wear isn’t usually something we think would affect our performance, but it truly does!
- Make sure your musician knows that you will be proud of them no matter what happens at the recital.
This is hands down the most important thing you can do for your musician. The number 1 fear of most musicians before a performance is that they will make a mistake. They need to know that mistakes are okay and very normal in a live performance. The more they practice performing through mistakes instead of stopping and starting anytime one is made, the better they will be at not letting them negatively affect their performance. If they know that you are not judging them based on mistakes and that you just want them to have fun and enjoy their performance, this will help ease some of their anxiety. Even though I know parents already feel this way, it is so important for our students to hear it from their parents/guardians directly.
No matter if you are a parent with a music background or without one, all of the above is helpful for recital preparation. As always, if you have any further questions on how to best help your child to prepare, seek the guidance of your child’s music teacher. They work one on one with your child and can provide very specific insight on what will work best for your musician.
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