I learned to play the piano as a 6 year old and took lessons throughout my childhood. I loved playing the piano, singing along, entertaining myself. I learned to read music which has been a valuable skill when encountering new hymns at church. However, from the beginning, I hated recitals. If you have been spared either performing in or attending a piano recital, consider yourself fortunate. Basically each child has to stand in front of the audience, announce the name of the piece about to be played, play the piece, stand, bow or curtsy and return to his seat.
Yesterday we went to hear my granddaughter in her piano recital. She is quite good at the piano, with a solid sense of rhythm and good technique. I enjoy hearing her play at home. But we also got to hear fifteen other kids play. A majority of them sped up with notes they knew and slowed in the hard parts, finally loudly plunking out chords they recognized. While we clapped enthusiastically for each child, it was painful at times to listen. At the end of the recital my granddaughter announced “I hate recitals.”
Who decided that playing the piano also necessitated playing it in a recital? It seems to me that two skills have been combined: playing the piano and performing. They don’t necessarily go together unless one is going to be a performer. I think most kids are not going on to be concert pianists. Even as a adult I was told by one teacher that if I wanted to take lessons, I was going to have to be in the recital. I passed on the “opportunity.” I am satisfied with an audience of one–me.