Teacher Playing with Music at Recital
Sue C., Australia
At my end of year recital, for the first time I will be playing and one of my choices is Silent Night Blues by Neil Moore and my own composition Bush Christmas. I enjoy playing and hope that feeling is felt by others. Do you think it is acceptable if I use the music for Silent Night Blues as I can’t play it right through without it?
I have invited the mother of one of my young students to conclude the recital. She is a talented pianist who plays long classical pieces without any printed music (amazing). She is a far better pianist than I am and she will not be using music.
Of course I am not comparing but just thinking about it.
Anne S., Nebraska
Absolutely, use the music. The White and Blue Christmas book is designed for reading students. It doesn’t bother me in the least to use music for pieces that I play at my recitals. I think it’s a good thing for students to see the world that’s out there for them when they can read, after having set such a solid foundation of playing-based music–which they continue to do even after they have been through the reading process. I consider myself a pretty good reader and that’s all I did for 35 years–read and play only what was written by other people. Although I’m excited and grateful that now I have such a broader range of expression thanks to Simply Music, I still play a lot of outside music, most of which I use the music for.
Of course, I don’t use it for songs that I expect my students to know, like the foundation pieces and arrangements, and obviously I don’t need the sheet music for those songs anyway. But I often play non-Simply Music pieces at recitals just for fun and if I felt I had to memorize them it would be too stressful. Plus, if you play that very cool Silent Night Blues, it gets your students excited about what’s coming up for them. If you didn’t play it because you couldn’t memorize it, they wouldn’t know.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Absolutely, it’s okay! I don’t believe SM teachers who read comfortably should feel any negative feelings about using music at any time. It’s still an important piece of the entire experience. We just incorporate the skill at a different time than is traditionally done. I usually play something at our events ~ sometimes it’s with music, sometimes it’s not.
Pam K., Nebraska
If you feel more comfortable playing with the music, then by all means use the music. You’ll have plenty of other things to think about during the recital, and you shouldn’t be worried about your own performance!
Victoria S., California
Yes, Sue, I would use the music for Silent Night Blues so you will do your best. A playing based method doesn’t mean we never use sheet music. It means we have the choice of which songs to keep alive in our individual play lists and which songs we just want to enjoy reading – and, which songs we read while we are still in the process of reverse engineering them. I think that is a powerful and positive message for the students that there is a process of learning to learn that if honored gives us a full range of choices in our musical expression.
I’ll bet that talented classical mom has played for a lot longer than you have. She will understand your journey and feel pride with you if you allow yourself to feel your own pride.
Original discussion started February, 20 2012