How do I balance my first love of performance with my teaching?

I’ve become inspired to perform for the students at the spring and fall recitals. It’s great for my “chops” and lifts my spirits too. In recent years I have really enjoyed the ride of Improvisation by Kabalevsky, Baal Shem No. 2, Nigun by Ernest Bloch, as well as Sonnet, Op. 5 by Isidor Achron. I thought perhaps it may be too abstract for students? I stand corrected as one of my advanced 9 year olds in response to the Achron stated, “It sounded mysterious, I really liked your solo.” Well, well, even very young students can truly be moved by intense and harmonically rich music.

Other titles that are simply fun to perform at student recitals include Czardas, Ave Maria (this one always makes grandparents cry), and recently I learned Legende Op. 17 by Wieniaswki. This solo which is so fantastically written for violin was recommend by my dear colleague Zoya Lebkin. Isn’t it true that there is always more excellent music to learn?

I admit that on my favorite day of the year (recital day) I am totally focused on the students! That does create a challenge and sometimes even stress with my own warm up and performance focus as I perform last and have been attending to each student. I have managed this by relaxing, simply doing my best and experiencing the joy of playing. And, one learns to accept starting out a solo on cold fingers. The fall recital is approaching in November and I’m now contemplating playing 2 new and short solos…what will I decide?

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