The week before the recital I spent time creating materials--a poster for the entrance to the room which I painted myself on posterboard and the recital programs which I had printed at Staples. For the reception, I baked and frosted two cake mixes (one chocolate and one vanilla) and a brownie mix, bought a Pepperidge Farm cookie mix and provided Hawaiian Punch. Let me tell you, I live for this kind of methodical detail when I am planning anything--it's a source of creative inspiration for me :)
As I mentioned, many of my students who performed are brand new at the piano!! They played two songs each because the songs they play tend to be quite short. Songs such as Merrily We Roll Along and Twinkle Twinkle. At the start of the program was my youngest piano student, a 4 year old girl who LOVES music and can't wait until she can add flute to her practice routine someday! She was shy at first and very nervous, as you would expect anyone to be, but after some encouragement and help from her mom and dad, she pulled off a very strong performance of Mary Had a Little Lamb. I know everyone in the room was proud of her for bravely putting herself out there! Bravo, Eva! I felt that all students performed very strongly on Saturday--I was so proud of everyone.
Seeing a musician go through that "I think I'm going to lose my lunch" feeling, and then going on to a successful performance reaffirms why I think recitals and performances are so vital. Life is full of scary, challenging situations and going through them produces fruit in your life: 1) you realize you can cope with them, 2) you learn how to cope with them 3) you become a stronger person because of them and 4) you realize that without challenges (planned or unplanned) your life would lack meaning and fulfillment. I hope that my students see the value in performing and continue to capitalize on these types of opportunities throughout their lives!