By Julia Kossuth
As our end of the year recital approaches, a mere two and a half weeks away, it is my goal to maximize the time I have with each student so they are truly prepared for their performances. I’ve found that with only two recitals a year (Christmas and May) it can be difficult for students to maintain hard work and preparation, as there aren’t that many opportunities to play. In the upcoming months I hope to give more performance opportunities, but I’ll save that for another post!
One thing I’ve done with my kids has to do with me personally. As I’ve been adjusting to a new studio with new kids (my first school year with them) I’ve been dealing with the learning curve of how the learn and how to assign pieces to each of them. I have a tendency to go too difficult in the pieces I’ve given them, so this year for the recital I’ve decided to go on the manageable side in assigning music. This allows each student to feel confident in their piece, as well as provide us a chance to “punch up” their piece–add chords, make slight variations, explore the musical side of playing, all while learning the theory behind it.
Another thing I’ve done with my students, particularly the ones who haven’t had the best practicing record this school year, is set deadlines for progress each week, and enforce them more strictly than usual. My students have responded well to this and have risen to the occasion to prepare for the recital.
In these last two weeks of lessons, I’ll be letting my kids give me mock performances, complete with bows to be the final recital preparation for them.
With a studio of mainly elementary kids, I think these methods are part of my own learning curve, as I’ve come from teaching a studio of older students. What are some ways you approach your students in recital preparation? How do you address different ages and commitment levels? I’d love to know what strategies have worked for you!