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The end of year concert can be a lot of work for the piano teacher. It takes a huge amount of effort to find and book an appropriate venue, make sure the majority of students can make it on a certain date (at a crazy time of year!), ensure every student has a piece ready to perform, send out invitations, organise the catering, print the programs and generally coordinate everything on the actual day. So why do it?
1. It advertises your studio
When all of your students are going to be playing in a concert, it’s in their diaries at a time of year when there is just SO MUCH STUFF ON. The parents will be knocking back other engagements in order to attend, and will most likely tell their friends why. On the day, everyone comes along and hears how everyone else plays, showing the depth of your studio and creating an even greater sense of value for the parents.
2. Your students feel part of a community
Piano practice is such a solitary thing. It’s not like football practice or netball training, when you get to see all your friends while you practice. You are completely on your own (apart from, hopefully, family members nearby – total isolation is not good as discussed in the Seven Deadly Sins of Practice). Performing in a concert where everyone has the same teacher means your students get to hang out together, with the common bond that they all learn from you!
3. Non-assessed performing
The end of year concert is the nicest performing space of all. It’s much better than an exam or eisteddfod because there is no judgement of the performance. The audience is there to listen and enjoy, nothing more. It is so important for students of all ages to have these performing opportunities! Playing piano is not all about getting ready for a stressful day on which your playing is assessed critically; it is about participating in and giving the joy of music.
4. Parents feel validated
Many families, at the end of each year, take stock of their outgoing expenses and re-evaluate the various extra-curricular activities. Inviting them to see a concert in which their child performs helps them feel good about the money they’re spending and understand what a great thing they’re doing for their child by paying for their piano lessons with you. This means they are far more likely to continue next year.
5. Students receive accolades
The most important reason of all: the student feels a sense of self-worth and is able to experience the joy of performing and receiving applause. One cannot underestimate the impact of this. Children in particular do not experience intrinsic enjoyment from learning piano – they get EXTRINSIC enjoyment i.e. the praise they receive from others when they play. This is what makes all the practice worthwhile.
In conclusion, the end of year concert is most definitely a worthwhile exercise, for all concerned. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the end of the year! A studio concert at any time will boost the ‘economy’ for all three components of the educational triangle: teacher, student and parent.