Recital month just happened at Mohawk College. If you had gone into the music wing in the last couple weeks you’d have seen a lot of overly stressed out third year students. You would have also heard a lot of music coming from the practice rooms where non-stop rehearsals and practice sessions were going on. The computer lab would have been full of people finishing projects and designing their recital posters and programs. At around 4:25, 5:55, 7:25, and 8:55 in the evening you would most likely see a crowd of F-wingers heading over to the theatre to witness a friend’s recital. And about an hour after those times you would see the same happy crowd head back to their practice rooms.

Why am I talking about recital time at Mohawk when I’m not even there?

A year ago yesterday I played my graduation recital. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year but I guess time flies when you are having fun! The grad recital results are the difference between crossing the stage in that cap and gown at the end of the year and not getting a diploma at all. Basically all the three years of hard work come down to these 45 minutes of performance. It’s the perfect recipe for a whole lot of nerves and hours and hours of practice and preparation.

Playing a successful recital really is all about being prepared. We had a class called Recital Prep in third year which was basically exactly what it’s called. We practiced playing our recital pieces in front of our classmates and then received their critique and feedback. It could be quite intense, especially when your classmates were sitting only a few feet away from you as you performed. My first full recital performance in this class was a total flop. I forgot so much of my music and made so many mistakes I’d never made. I was embarrassed but after a great chat with my prof after class I knew I had to pick myself up again. It was on this day that I really learned what being prepared meant. Being prepared for a recital doesn’t mean the nerves will completely disappear but they certainly do diminish. Preparedness means that you don’t let the nerves get in the way of your performance. Nothing matters but the music in your head. It means that you know your music so well that if you made one mistake you’d be able to gloss over and continue from any point in the piece. It means you can hear the music in your head before you even play it. It means that when you walk on stage you have the confidence that you know what you are about to do and that you can do it.

It was a long and hard road but when I walked on the stage last year, I walked with confidence. The lights were bright in my eyes and I couldn’t see anything except myself and the piano but I knew that’s all I really wanted to see anyway. There were family and friends and adjudicators but they could wait until after. At that moment it was just me and the piano I loved to play (well not that particular one, it was clunky). I played probably not the best I could do that night but definitely good enough for me to be happy with it afterward. It was also more than good enough for my adjudicators. In June I got to walk across that stage again to receive my diploma. What a sense of accomplishment!

You can listen to some of my recital pieces on the home page. My brother also took a few videos, you can watch them here. I hope you enjoy them! Have a good week!