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WORKSHOP #5: "A Recital You Can't Refuse (to Give!)"

A few months ago in a Weekly Rampage ("Food for Thought" - June 4, 2002), I suggested that everyone give an all-Bach recital this fall. Easier said than done, right? Well, I gave it some thought and came up with the following ideas to help you create a simplified, more enjoyable recital experience.

When and Where?
A recital doesn't have to be at night or at noon. Everyone is over-booked in the evenings and many of us work days. Why not give a recital on a Sunday, following your postlude? After all, you have a captive audience. To avoid surprising anyone, include information about the recital in your church newsletter and service bulletins, and have an announcement made at the preceding service. An announcement would also be needed between your postlude and the start of the program. Invite those who are staying to be seated. Invite those who wish to continue visiting to do so over a cup of coffee in the fellowship hall.

How Long?
A recital doesn't have to be a marathon. Limit your program to 30 minutes, which means preparing about 25 minutes of music. You could perform four or five shorter pieces or some combination of one long piece with a few shorter pieces. Remember, the shorter the recital, the less work involved. Thirty minutes is a good length for the audience, too.

What to Play?
The music you choose doesn't have to be hard. Play pieces that you already know and can play well. Also, do yourself a favor and don't set your program in stone. Allow yourself the freedom to change anything that needs to be changed. It's not even necessary to have a printed program. If someone enjoys a particular piece, they can always ask you about it afterward.

Who Still Needs Convincing?
A recital doesn't have to be an exhibition of technical ability. Your experience will be more rewarding if you focus instead on your relationship with the audience. Think of your recital as a gift of music and an opportunity to publicly share your love for the organ and organ music. Most of us are seldom seen performing outside the context of the church service. This is a chance for everyone to experience you and what you do in an entirely new way.

Using these ideas may result in a recital that's less formal than you're accustomed to. On the other hand, they may also result in a recital that's less stressful. Who knows? You might even enjoy doing it again!

Books of Interest
With Your Own Two Hands: Self-Discovery Through Music by Seymour Bernstein
Look inside! This book has 19 sample pages. Click here to see them.

The Pianist's Problems: A Modern Approach to Efficient Practice and Musicianly Performance by William S. Newman

Super Sight-Reading Secrets: An Innovative, Step-By-Step Program for Musical Keyboard Players of All Levels by Howard B. Richman (Editor)

Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard by Paul Badura-Skoda, Alfred Clayton (Translator)
Look inside! This book has 27 sample pages. Click here to see them.

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