Recitals – Friend or Foe?

What’s your initial reaction to the word “recital?”  Do you remember your first one? Were you nervous about it?  Were the internal butterflies more like elephants?  Did your palms sweat or your knees shake?  Or, maybe you could hardly wait to walk up to the piano, sit down and play for the room full of moms, dads, grandparents, other students and more.

My Mom was a piano teacher so I attended recitals before I was born and all the way through high school.  Eventually, I played in them which I didn’t mind except my knees shook.  They still do.  My most vivid memories are not my playing but the flowers (lavender lilacs in May) and other decorations Mom provided, plus delicious refreshments and my faithful non-musical Dad setting up chairs and taking photos at every recital.

I met Keith during my junior year of high school and from then on, through our college years, I attended his double bass recitals as well as many other artists’ recitals and concerts.

Aside from making moms, dads and grandparents proud, recitals are not just for the enjoyment of the audience.  Recitals are of great benefit to the students.  Some of those benefits are building confidence, developing character and communication skills, receiving inspiration and opportunities to share personal accomplishments and bring joy to others.

The students of Freeburg Pianos’ Artists-in Residence, Dr. John Cobb and Gwenn Roberts will be performing a recital, “Island of Reflections” at the Hendersonville United Methodist Church.  Many of you have attended this annual recital and look forward to each one.  There will be students of all ages and levels performing on the piano and vocally.  I know you are wondering . . . . Yes, Christopher Tavernier will be performing – Debussy, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev!

In addition to personally enjoying the music and “bursting my buttons” over the students’
accomplishments, I always look forward to talking with and hugging “everyone” in the audience.  In my heart, you are Freeburg Pianos’ extended family and I love each one of you. If you are in the area, I sure hope to see you there.


Dr. Joann Freeburg
Freeburg Pianos

8 thoughts on “Recitals – Friend or Foe?

  1. I remember being soooo nervous about playing for a group at Christmas one year that I did NOT want anything to do with it. Then it occurred to me how excited the listeners were about having live piano music and it changed everything. I had the opportunity to make someone else’s day better. For once, I barely felt nervous performing!

  2. Wonderful buildup, Joann! We’ve all gone through those experiences growing up. I remember two occasions when I was very young. In both of them, my worst fears were realized, and I had a memory lapse during my teacher’s studio recital. I was so nervous that I got the giggles, and couldn’t stop. Both times I remember my teacher sternly telling me to please leave the piano and sit down. I was mortified on top of being nervous, and that made the giggling worse. For some reason she didn’t “fire” me, but after that I boycotted all studio recitals, and didn’t play a solo in public until I was a senior in high school. I had been working very hard all along, and that year I played two different full length solo recitals – from memory. No lapses, and no giggles!

    • Not sure I can imagine you with the giggles. 🙂 This year’s recital has come and gone. It was, of course, excellent. Thank you, Dr. Cobb, and Gwenn Roberts for presenting such a fine program. Your students were wonderful. I must mention publicly how absolutely breathtaking your performance of “Clair de la Lune” was for me. You drew me in to an intimate place. Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us.

  3. The recital with such a vivid memory for me was the year I was assigned to play “Flight of the Bumblebee.” We were always required to play from memory except for the duets, or two piano, four hands presentations. My single piece to play by memory was a rather simply piece, but had many repeating phrases. I felt very confident as I walked onto the state to the polite applause of the audience. Sitting down, composing myself, orienting my body to the proper place I began to play and everything went exceedingly well. That it…not foo far from the end of the piece I simply drew a blank in the music/notes to be played. The phrasing was so similar that I was able to continue playing them over and over without the audience being unaware of my total loss of the memory of the piece. I glanced up at one point and looked at my piano teacher standing behind the stage curtain with a look of sheer terror on her face and obviously she couldn’t see any way I could possibly end the song with anything related to a proper ending. I mentally decided not to look at her again. As I went through the arpeggios that were so familiar in each bar suddenly the path to the end of the song just went through my mind and into my fingers as smoothly as when I began to play. So a simple memorized song gone awry in the middle with a teacher in a state of histrionics an 11 year old completed her recital presentation with great dignity and loud applause from an audience who had no idea that even one note had been out of place in a lengthy piece filled with arpeggios. The teacher never said one word to me about what could have been a disastrous example of her teaching It is, however, a song I have no interested in playing again!

  4. My daughter and I both took piano lessons from Mary Elizabeth McLeod. Some of my recitals were hosted by the Barbers in Hendersonville One in particular I will never forget. I was so nervous that my legs shook the piano. This had no effect on my baby sister, however, who was so bored with the whole proceedings that she started looking at her watch to see how much longer. Her watch was not real (she was only about 5). This struck my older sister as funny and began to laugh. Of course things are always more funny when you’re supposed to be composed.

    Then there was the time my daughter’s recital was held at 1st Baptist in H’ville She was so nervous that when she got to the piano she sat down on the bench as soon as she got there instead of positioning herself in front of middle C. She immediately started playing her piece then realizing her mistake, stood up, moved in front of middle C, and started over.

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