Forest Piano Academy offers group classes twice per Term as an enrichment for weekly private lessons. As an added bonus, the kids have a blast playing games making new piano friends with kids from other schools. Recently we had our first group classes for the year, and it made me so aware of how vital it is for children to learn how to perform.
Adults often tell me stories about being terrified to perform in piano recitals as a child. I can empathise with this–it’s so scary to get up alone in front of a bunch of strangers and do something as complex as perform a piano piece! However, there are many steps we can take to help children become confident performers. These skills also transfer well to other areas of life.
In my opinion it is a big mistake to throw children on stage without first preparing them mentally for the experience. Without any preparation, most children will indeed be terrified! That’s why in my studio we practice performing—first in front of a small group of other kids, then using the student’s imagination to create the look and feel of the concert day, and going through details like walking to the piano and taking a bow afterwards for several weeks before the big concert. The children know they will feel nervous and excited, and because they are aware it’s normal, they will be able to handle the pressure.
Finally, by meeting other kids and parents before the concert in casual situations like group class, on concert day it feels less like a room full of strangers and more like a supportive team cheering each other on. I am very proud of how all the students happily played their pieces in front of each other this past weekend!