What a wonderful musical afternoon we had! Twelve students of piano and voice gave outstanding performances of teaching pieces, popular, sacred and classical music. Everyone performed one or two solos, and some also played duets. Were there are few performance jitters? Naturally. But everyone was so very well prepared that every song sounded marvelous. I am very proud of everything that these students have accomplished this past year.
In my opening remarks to the gathered, I included my annual request of “please do not take flash pictures during the performances.” I soon realized how dated that remark sounded. As the recital progressed, I glanced over my shoulder to see a mom using her tablet to make a video of her child performing at the piano. Another student, another mom, another video…..and a smart phone. And so it went through out the program, parents, grandparents and friends, all with assorted electronic devices capturing every moment of our time together. At the end of the program, we gathered for a group photo. I stood with the students, and saw pairs of outstretched arms holding electronic devices —- mostly phones— pointed at us. In the crowd, I only saw three cameras, one belonging to my professional photographer husband. With all of this digital-ness going on, I was quite surprised to hear the click-then-wind of a lone film camera.
What does all of this have to do with a recital? Everything. Sure, recitals are about performing music, but there is more. Recitals are about extensive preparation, hard work, and excellence. Recitals are about poise, personal discipline and overcoming fear. Most importantly, recitals are about the performers sharing the pride of accomplishment with those they love, and the audience showing support, enthusiasm and appreciation for a job well done. The photos and videos become cherished records of these musical milestones.
So, please don’t take flash pictures during the performances, but take all the photos and videos and audio recordings you want. Go back and relive the recital often. Tell the musician(s) in your family how very proud you are of them and what they have learned. Enjoy their music. Ask to hear favorite songs again. Remind them of your love and support. That’s what makes a great recital.