Performing is education at its best!
As I reflect this morning after two fun weekends full of recitals, I’m truly thankful that our students can gain performance experience. Even if they don’t pursue music professionally, their performances at open mics and recitals give them great life skills and an edge over their peers.
Performing – even in front of loving parents, grandparents, and siblings – cultivates commitment, confidence, and the knowledge that it’s ok to make a mistake or “start over”. They also learn to enjoy their success, whether they nailed it or not!
Let me explain my points a bit.
Performance builds commitment
It takes time and dedication to learn a piece of music, especially a song that is a bit above your current skill level. Keeping a student reaching for a goal is key to progress and the student’s personal satisfaction.
Performance enhances confidence
Performing repeatedly – again, even in front of a warm audience – promotes the confidence necessary to persevere and do your best in any uncomfortable situation, whether making a presentation in front of class at school or trying out for a part in a play.
It’s OK to make a mistake or “start over”
It’s crucial in life to learn that mistakes are not fatal, and it’s ok if you mess up and need to start over. Performance isn’t easy, even for seasoned musicians. Many students can know a piece of music like the back of their hand but get stage panic and make a mistake. Here’s where they can grow! Instead of crumpling into a ball, they just need to start over.
Almost 100% of the time, the ice is broken, the audience claps and spurs the student on to success, and it ends up on a positive note. It’s fine to make mistakes – we are all human! (and p.s., you’ll do even better next time.)
Most important? Finish!
Children can learn not to give up mid-performance if they’re messing up. We teach them that they can start over and FINISH. This is a great way to learn that mistakes aren’t failures, they’re just “takes” … so Take Two!
Children are so proud of themselves when they finish, knowing they could have given up but didn’t. Not giving up takes (and builds) strength.
Success is to be enjoyed!
Students work so hard at their piece, and when they nail it, they should bask in the glow of enjoying their hard-earned work and success. As an added bonus, enjoying success reinforces students’ confidence that they can succeed.
As parents, we want nothing more than to help our children in any way we can. Performing in recitals and open mics – or any venue they can! – helps them become stronger, more confident individuals. Please encourage them to stick with their lessons and keep performing at every opportunity.
Author Cecilia Rowe is the founder and director of the Music Studio Atlanta and director of Courtnay and Rowe. She has over 25 years in music education as an instructor and local business owner.