Tuesday, October 1, 2019


You learn something new every day.  I've been at this job for nearly 4 decades.  Arranging for performance opportunities has been part of the job description from the beginning.  Requiring commitment from  my students has never been a consideration.  Through my participation with the Frederick County Music Teachers Association, I have actually questioned the need for permission slips and recital fees.  Last month I learned the folly of my ways.

Each of my summer students worked on his or her own portion from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals.    One or 2 students let me know early on that they were unavailable for the performance, and I worked with the remaining students to divvy up their animals among those students who, I assumed, were committed.  I did not ask for permission slips.

The week of the performance, 4 kids backed out.  Yikes!  I considered cancelling the performance, but I didn't want to disappoint those remaining students, young and old, who had worked so hard over the summer!   I worked my own fingers very hard that week to get those missing pieces up to performance level.  

I learned a lot in the process.  RSVPs are crucial.  Don't get me wrong, everyone put in effort to learn their pieces.  And I think everyone wanted and intended to participate.  The children's parents were enthusiastic and supportive.  But we sometimes over-schedule, either our children or ourselves.  We forget, or don't allow enough time for all of our commitments.  Perhaps a permission slip will act as an event reminder.  I don't want to tack on recital fees, but I am holding onto that concept as a future incentive as well. 

I also learned that my students and their parents enjoyed hearing me perform.  This was a student performance, and I did not want to take away from that.  I hadn't realized that the only "performing" my students hear from me is in dribs and drabs, phrases here and there in their music during lessons.  It was a revelation.  I think they liked seeing me nervous too!

We have another performance opportunity just around the corner.  Due to scheduling conflicts in October, my students will perform their post-Halloween recital on Friday, November 8, at 5:30, at Centennial United Methodist Church.  Although I never require performance participation, I will request RSVPs this time.  I hope everyone can be there!


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