Longer Pieces in Recitals
Carrie L., Michigan
I’d like for students to have some longer pieces for
the recital. Any thoughts on doing this? I could
have students do some variations/arrangements
together into one piece or perhaps have them make up
their own variations for arrangements to add.
Any thoughts on how to address the length question
with parents? I’ve had a couple parents wonder why
the songs are so short.
Elaine F., South Carolina
I have wondered about the short pieces too. After
some thought I decided it was because it didn’t take a
long piece to teach the particular learning tool—and
that when you add the arrangements it does become a
long piece. And with children (I’m not so sure about
adults) the gratification of moving through and
completing a book is worth a lot.
Irene S., Canada
For a Recital last Spring, I had each of the students pick five songs out of a hat. (That way, they would not all be doing the same ones.)
Then I had them connect these five songs into a Medley. (Another words, the songs were connected by a mini melody, or phrase, that the student made up, so that it sounded like it flowed harmonically together. The students each did a remarkable job, and each “Recital Performance” sounded unique!
Sheri R., California
Some reasons for shorter songs I remember hearing before are more variety and experience with different genres more quickly, sense of accomplishment/completion more quickly, learning more strategies, tools, and theory sooner.
To make longer songs I have students putting the V at the end of their blues as a transition into another 12 bars (like the FABE in Light Blue) and they can do that ’til the cows come home. Also improvising just a measure here and there as they are able or a whole 12 bars.
Dreams Arr. 1 as an intro or/and outro to Dreams, same with Night Storm Arr. 1. Also they can make their own variation on a theme and come back to Dreams or Night. All the songs that have arrangements can easily be put together for longer songs such as medleys of Honey Dew arrangements. I don’t know the rules for creating medleys but I’ve found leaving the last note off makes for a better transition into next song, for example, Sleeping into Dreams or vice versa or Night into Deep River or vice-versa. Playing lots of Humpty rhythms for Pipes on any white notes can fit nicely in between the A, B, and C sections.
Playing the three verses of Amazing Grace in three different keys and for more advanced students with the transition on last beat of each verse using the V chord of the next key for a more seamless transition.
Playing a song exactly the same but up or down an octave on the second run through and maybe back to home on the third time.
Just a few ideas. . .hope to hear more!
Janita P., Nebraska
We had our Spring Fling today and it went well with each student putting together a program for five minutes.
I called it their “Five Minutes of Fame”.
Duets, compositions, improv, ARR/VAR, medleys, family bands, etc. were encouraged; along with varied genres.
I likened it to serving a well-rounded, gorgeous and colorful-looking meal when I came to their house for dinner.
I was very pleased today with the musicality of the students’ programs. It brought tears to my eyes.
The venue was a classy local Bookstore with a beautiful grand piano with lots of windows, sunlight and interesting books.
We used the room for 3.5 hours as it is a “Come and Go” recital.
The parents arrive 15 minutes before their child plays and stay for at least 15 more minutes; some families stayed longer according to their schedules.
Natural breaks were planned so the flow of traffic is least disruptive to the students. At two periods in the schedule, we had 15 minute breaks for socializing, refreshments, congratulatory remarks, traffic flow, etc. Also, I spoke after every third or fourth student so it gave parents time to
leave without being embarrassed or disruptive.
When students have five minutes to play, it gives the audience more of a true picture of their talent and hard work, plus it makes it worth the families’ time to come to a recital.
With what other piano program could you have a beginner of ten weeks play a repertoire in public for five minutes?!
Laurie R., Nebraska
Neil addresses why the songs are brief, in the Level 7 TTP video during Church Song. Specifically, during the 7.3.2 section.
Original discussion started February 17, 2009