I heard that smoking cuts years off your life; every time a recital pops up I think I may give it a try. Those two days a year in the fall and spring are my least favorite of the year and things get plain chock full o’ stress here at CGS. The first text message I ever received on my cell phone was right before a recital. “I’m in the parking lot. I’m not coming in.” People get nervous before they play. I do too. Personally, I have had two recitals this month and the anxiety never goes completely away. People handle the stress in different ways. I remember one teenager sat in the chair without playing a note and scowled menacingly at the audience one at a time hoping they would go away. They did not, but I asked her to.
Recitals are expensive, ungrateful, time confusing affairs. My pet peeve? It isn’t the people who don’t play well that bother me; it’s the ones who play well - and then get up and leave before the recital is over. I guess they assume that everyone else came just to here them play! I know what you’re thinking: All this begs the question “Why do it then? You can still teach guitar without recitals -all the other guitar teachers in Columbia do.”
The problem is I don’t teach guitar. I teach people. I have many guitars and I have never taught any of them. I tell people when they come that there are no contracts involved, but that is not entirely true. When you sit across from someone who wants to up their guitar game, you make a contract with them. “If you do this, and this, then this will happen. The recital is when that contract takes shape. The recital is the deal closer and it a primary and indispensable key for growth as a player.
I finally figured out how to have a studio of great players, by having a studio of great players. Hearing other guitarists who are working through the same pieces as you, or pieces you will someday play is invaluable to progress. Being involved in a studio means that your practice helps out everyone who hears you play. The recital is the lab where a lot of the real foundation for progress develops. That is why I do it!
This year we are going to have an optional dress rehearsal at our house the night before. I hope you’ll come. In the meantime, let’s hear about how you deal with recital craziness.