I have my spring studio recitals coming up this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. Not excited because I love recitals, excited because soon I will be done with the studio recitals.
Studio recitals have become the bane of teaching for me. Typically I will pick out recital pieces with my students about 5-7 weeks ahead of time (adjusting for any breaks we might have) so that we can learn the piece, get it memorized and then have some lessons for the piece to settle in. The problem with starting them that far in advance is that despite all of my efforts otherwise, kids will focus on their recital pieces and neglect all other practicing for over a month.
I will emphasize the fact that we're going to continue working on other pieces and keep progressing, and that it's on the student to keep the recital piece active, but on the back burner. It doesn't work though, especially for the spring recital. I don't know if it's that kids are tired of working on new pieces and like the familiarity of something they've already learned, or if there's just a fatigue around all things "school" at the end of the year. Regardless, the pace of learning of most of my students slows to a decrepit, barely-alive slither.
The kids may not realize it, but I get bored listening to the same piece week after week. It sounds great, actually it sounds REALLY great. Kid, you're playing this piece the best I've ever heard a student play it. I just don't want to hear it again. I want to hear you get better at piano, not Rabbit Times".
I actually have a hypothesis that my students would get better faster if there was no recital to slow us down. Some kids get really excited about the recital and are constantly asking me when the next one is. Those kids are usually the ones that move through the material quickly.
The recital will be fun. The kids will look cute, and they'll mostly play really well. I'll be proud of them, and their parents will be proud. But I just can't wait to move on to new things.