British composer, Malcolm Arnold, once said, “Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.” Singer-songwriter, Billy Joel, writes, “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” Everyone agrees that music has a special power that connects us all, transcending words. Two years ago, our students wrote about what music means to them. We received powerful accounts of the calming effect of music on students when they are stressed, feel alone, or just need to be comforted.
Never is this effect more evident than in the experience of live music. Music must be shared with others; it connects a community. In our modern age, we sometimes lose sight of the importance of live music concerts. For our young children, attending live music concerts is so very important.
Live music touches the soul
Many children today do not have many opportunities to experience a live music concert. We have so much access to very good music digitally that we often neglect the importance of hearing music live. Live music can touch the soul in a way that recorded music simply cannot. It connects the performer to the audience in a deep and powerful way.
Live music is motivating
Attending live music recitals is INSPIRING. It makes us WANT to go home and practice. We want the same experience for our young students. We want them to leaving a concert feeling that what they want most to do is practice their instrument, and that if they continue to practice, they might be able to play just like the performers they have seen and heard.
Hearing a teacher perform creates a stronger bond between teacher and student
Students can support their teachers by attending a live recital. It is important for students to hear their teachers play. They know that the teacher “practices what they preach.”
Understanding fine music and diverse performances
Through recital attendance, students are exposed to a diverse body of music that they might not normally hear. The world of classical music is huge-there is more repertoire than most of us will ever play in a lifetime. But, if we want for our children to know and understand good music, we must expose them to live concerts from an early age. In addition, many performers play with many different interpretations of the same piece of music. Students can gain much from hearing several different interpretations of the same piece.
Finally, live music instills a sense of community in students. These gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to meet others in the community and experience culture at a local level. When an audience experiences a compelling performance, they are forever linked to one another by that time and place.
These days, everyone is busy. It requires planning and sacrifice to attend recitals. However, we must understand that recitals are so important to our children’s future. If we want to develop musicians that love and support the arts for life, they need to experience live music in concert.
Rebecca Mergen Pennington has been on the faculty of The New School for Music Study since 2007, and currently serves as the Administrative Director. Dr. Pennington holds a doctorate from the University of Kansas, where she studied with Jack Winerock. Dr. Pennington performs as a solo and collaborative artist and enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels.
The New School for Music Study is one of the country’s leading centers in piano education and provides a variety of programs and classes for piano students. Our school is conveniently located in the Princeton area of central New Jersey, offering piano lessons for students from Princeton, Plainsboro, East Windsor, West Windsor, Kingston and other surrounding communities.