Recitals, Part 2

“Why should my son play in the recital when it is obvious he will never be a musician when he grows up?”

The argument that convinced my student’s reluctant mother to allow and encourage him to play in our recital is that playing recitals and concerts teaches you to recognize and prepare for performances of any kind when they crop up in life.

And they do: a job interview, for example.

How many people rely on their excellent resumes to clinch the deal, not realizing the necessity of preparing for an interview. And even if you do think of an interview as a performance which you must meticulously prepare for, it is certainly helpful to have the skills, discipline, confidence and performing experience to pull it off. This is what playing in recitals gives you.

For example, one accomplished musician (and ex-student) who has taken a completely different career path, recently applied for a big promotion at work. Her resume got her an interview for this leadership position. Then she did what any musician would do – she prepared and she practiced.

First she figured out the message she wanted to get across to her interviewers and the best way to do it, using methods she learned from preparing for recitals and concerts.

Then she asked a complete stranger, who was at a much higher level than she in her field, to give her a mock interview. That went well.

Finally when she got to the interview, apparently cool and collected, she was asked if she got bored during the long drive to get there. She told them the commute was pretty easy as she listened to a certain piece of music all the way. In reply to their comment that that particular piece is really good to pump you up, she told them with a smile that she actually found it depressing! She was showing her interviewers that she was just fine, didn’t feel nervous or need anything to lift her spirits and, above all, was as sure of herself and unflappable as you would want a leader to be. After all, what musician goes onto the stage without a firm step and a confident demeanor even if she is quaking in her boots?????

She got the job. Their comment to her later was that she “blew them away” at the interview. She had realized that the interview was a performance and did exactly what she would have done to prepare for and play a concert.

There are many other situations in life that can be viewed as performances. How wonderful to give our students and children the tools necessary to recognize and make the most of them.

Remember that nothing is harder than playing your instrument in public, my students tell me. Everything else is downhill from there.

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5 September 2014

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