A commonly over looked aspect of learning an instrument is performing. Often new students will feel insecure about their playing, feel like they are never ready, may be prone to stage fright, or some teachers may not offer their students performance opportunities. Lack of performing can be detrimental to learning an instrument because it takes away one of the
main goals of making music. Without the goal of a performance, lessons can become banal and end with a student growing tired of practicing and quitting long before they reach their full potential. Performing in a student recital or simply rehearsing with a band or small ensemble has many benefits when it comes to learning an instrument:
A Goal– Having an outcome for all the hard work a student is pouring into their instrument is important. Without a goal in mind a student can quickly become disenchanted with the instrument. A performance is something a student can strive for and look forward to.
A learning opportunity – Performing is learning. When a student is preparing for a recital they are learning stage etiquette, audience etiquette, stage set up, how to deal with performance anxiety, how they personally react to being on stage, recovering from mistakes, listening skills, how to perform under pressure, and perform with others.
A Record of Progress- Musicians can be highly critical of themselves. It can be difficult for them to hear their progress. Some students may feel that they are not progressing at all if they do not improve by leaps and bounds over the course of a week. Recording performances is a great way for students to hear their progress over an extended period time.
Encouragement- Performance time is always a good time for students to receive encouragement from teachers, family, and peers. This will give them more drive for the next performance and encourage them to seek more performance opportunities.
Constructive criticism- This will help students to learn and play their instrument better, but more importantly, a performance can help students listen to constructive criticism, except it, and learn from it.
And so much more!!!!
A performance does not have to be a stuffy serious formal event. I like to encourage all my students to try to perform regularly for parents, friends, other students and teachers. The more they do this the faster they improve and more enthusiastic they become about music.
Jamey Mann Guitar and Suzuki Guitar Instructor The Catoctin School of Music