Last Saturday as snow filled the air, the sound of dearly-loved carols filled Steinway Hall as my students played at their annual Christmas Recital. The ever popular “Jingle Bells” and “Carol of the Bells” were on the program, as well as less familiar melodies like “The Holly and the Ivy” and “Sing We Now of Christmas”. Each child chose music that spoke to him or her personally. One student played his original composition entitled “Hope”. Even though it wasn’t a Christmas carol, I think it was a great choice because Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the One who offers hope to broken people living in a broken world.
Each child chose music that spoke to him or her personally.
So much time and effort went into their pieces. Some students began preparing as early as the second week of September. In addition to learning the notes and rhythms, working out the physical coordination and musical interpretation, students also prepared by participating in our Performance Workshop. As any student will tell you, playing for fifty people is much more difficult than playing at home. The workshop gave students a chance to play for one another, helping them gain confidence and develop good stage presence.
The morning of our concert started with a warm-up for the musicians including stretches and exercises, a pep-talk and a turn at the piano. Playing an unfamiliar piano can be unnerving. Each one has its own voice and its keys respond differently too. A warm-up is essential for a musical performance.
There were many wonderful musical moments last Saturday. I am proud of my students for their hard work, their passion for playing, and for their courage. A piano recital can be compared with Olympic figure skating. Both involve physical technical feats, artistry, the self-imposed pressure of having one chance to do your best and the stress of being in the spotlight. The students displayed great courage. They were rewarded with praise and applause and a table full of delicious snacks.
A special thank you goes out to Mr. & Mrs. Dedovic for providing the refreshments for our recital.