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Why Music Students Need Performance Opportunities

Composers have always intended for their music to be performed live

 

Performance Opportunies are a must for music students

 

In the days before we had smart phones, computers, TVs, or radios, a common form of family entertainment was to spend time around the piano performing and singing with one another and with guests.

Even today, people will spend hundreds of dollars to see a music artist perform songs live, when they could have spent twenty dollars buying their album and listening to the recordings.

Why do they do it? Because there’s just something magical about listening to live music. And there’s also something magical about performing it.

Every year at Le Piano Academy, my students participate in an annual piano recital. I hold these recitals because I firmly believe music students need live performance opportunities. Here’s why…

[Tweet “There’s just something magical about listening to live music #piano #pianist”]

 

Developing Confidence

As parents, we want our children to be confident. Performance opportunities help your child to develop confidence in themselves both as a musician, and as a person.

When a child plays in front of an audience, their confidence will grow. And it will get an additional boost when they receive applause at the end of their performance. Don’t believe me? Just look at the smile of this student’s face when she receives applause from the audience. It’s a magical moment.

These confidence benefits also apply to teen and adult piano students.

[Tweet “Performance opportunities help your child to develop confidence in themselves #piano #pianist”]

 

Practicing Goal Setting & Preparation

You can’t perform in front of an audience without doing some preparation first!

Knowing that they’ll be performing in front of an audience tends to give children, teens, and adults the motivation they need to prepare for the big day. (Particularly when the audience will be full of 100+ people as it is at our annual recital.) This means your child will be more likely to develop good habits of goal setting and preparation as they practice to perform – habits that they can carry with them into other areas of their life at home and at school.

Preparing For Piano Exams

Performance opportunities are also great preparation for piano exams. After all, if your child can play in front of a crowd, it will be a lot easier for them to play in front of a single examiner.

The preparation skills your child will learn when preparing for their performance are also similar to those they need when preparing for a music exam. For example, you don’t leave your practice to the last minute in either situation.

Helping Shy Students

One of the things I love about seeing my students perform live is getting to see my shy students come out of their shells and shine. There are no opportunities to be shy when you’re performing.

Of course, in order to ensure that a student enjoys this benefit, it’s important that their teacher and parents help them to mentally prepare for the big day with plenty of encouragement and psychological preparation.

Special Family Moments

Live student performances also create beautiful family moments. Little kids in particular love showing off their skills to their family and friends, and parents and grandparents love watching their child share their talents with an audience. If you film your piano recital, you also have a great memento for a family to treasure.

Why Recitals?

There aren’t many performance opportunities out there for children, teens, and adults who are learning to play the piano. Although some of my students have the opportunity to perform in competitions, most do not. That’s why I hold a piano recital each year – so my students can all enjoy the benefits of performing live.

Your Say

Have you or your child ever performed the piano live? Was it a good experience? Share your story in the comments below.

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Huy’s Piano Hacks: 5 Top Tips For A Great Video Portfolio

 

Tips For A Great Video Portfolio

 

Since my last post I’ve received a lot of interest about my student showcase video portfolio, “Piano Fingers”.

Among other things, I’ve been asked about how to ensure your video portfolio is professional and effective. So here are my Top 5 Tips for ensuring you have a great video portfolio for your piano studio.

#1: ALWAYS Film Live Performances

There are several problems with studio recordings, and several benefits to filming live performances.

On a studio recording, the audience has no idea how many times it took you to get that particular shot. With a live recording, you’ll show them exactly what the pianist achieved first time, because with live performances, there are no second chances.

Atmosphere is another big differentiator. Nothing matches the atmosphere of a live performance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re recording a piano student or a famous band – the live atmosphere can’t be recreated in a studio. So give your viewers the real atmospheric experience by filming your video portfolio live.

Live performances are also more real. Have you ever seen a band performing in concert, and been disappointed by the quality of their playing compared to their studio albums? A musician’s performance skills are most evident when they perform live. Show your prospective students exactly what they can expect with a live video portfolio.

#2: DON’T Film The Piano Teacher Playing

Now there is one exception to this rule: if, as a piano teacher, you also hire out for performances, then by all means include videos of yourself playing in your portfolio.

However, if you’re like me, and your number one job is as a piano teacher, then your performance skills aren’t really relevant. Instead, your students’ performance skills are what matter. That’s what’s relevant to your future students.

To draw a parallel – if you were looking for a maths tutor for your son or daughter, the teacher’s qualifications and experience may be important, but what you would really want to know is what sort of results their students achieve. In the same way, people need to see your students playing – let their fingers do the talking.

#3: ALWAYS Respect Privacy

Admittedly, this is a common sense and courteous step to take, but it still bears mentioning. It’s good ethical practice – and probably a legal requirement – to always ask permission of students (and their parents, for under 18s) before you upload videos of them playing.

In my experience, about three quarters of my students and their parents are completely happy for me to share videos of them online. They enjoy being able to show friends and family in other cities and states, and even overseas.

For those who don’t want to be online, I don’t upload their videos.

#4: Use Vimeo

There’s much that can be said about Vimeo vs YouTube, but ultimately, it comes down to what you’re trying to achieve.

After thinking long and hard about the decision, I chose to put my video portfolio on Vimeo. YouTube may have more viewers, but I wanted better quality videos, and that meant Vimeo. Because most people view the videos via my website, Vimeo’s smaller audience numbers are irrelevant. And there are no ads, so that’s a bonus for viewers.

Other benefits of Vimeo include:

  • 3 types of account (one free, two paid)
  • faster upload time (if you’re on a paid account)
  • better looking video player

If that weren’t reason enough, it’s also important to note that all the professional videographers and filmmakers are on Vimeo – so what does that tell you?

#5: ALWAYS Use a Professional Videographer (If You Can)

Presentation is everything. There’s nothing worse than a music video with poor visuals and poor sound. By using a professional videographer for your video portfolio, you will get professional looking videos with great lighting and sound, and multiple camera angles.

In addition to the importance of presentation, using a professional videographer to produce your video portfolio will also show your clients that you’re professional, and you’re not willing to cut corners. If you don’t cut corners on video, then you probably don’t cut corners at your piano studio either. And that’s incredibly reassuring for prospective students and their parents.

All videos you see on our website are courtesy of our good friends at Imaginarium Productions.

 

 

An Example

Would you like to see an example of a professionally-filmed video from my video portfolio? Watch the highlights video from the 2014 Le Piano Academy recital below.

 

 

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9 Reasons Music Teachers in the “Internet Age” MUST Have a Video Portfolio

Talking the talk isn’t enough – you need to walk the walk.

 

Video Portfolios are a Must Have for Music Teachers

 

YouTube has been with us for nearly 10 years. It’s easy and free to use, and has led to the democratisation of video content in the online world.

Yet most music teachers don’t have a video portfolio with recordings of their students performing.

My question is: “why not?”

I believe that having a video portfolio is a must for any music teacher in the internet age. Below are 9 reasons every music teacher should have a video portfolio, including responses to common objections I sometimes hear.

(Want to see the Le Piano Academy video portfolio? You’ll find it here.)

#1: Testimonials Can Be Faked

“But I have testimonials on my website” is a common objection to investing in a video portfolio.

Sadly, however, the reality is that testimonials can be faked. As such, any sensible prospective students would naturally prefer more proof. But they can’t always get it.

Unlike testimonials, student performances cannot be faked. When you record one of your students playing the piano (or whatever instrument you teach), that’s real and powerful. As such, a video portfolio provides indisputable proof of your abilities as a music teacher.

[Tweet “Video portfolio provides indisputable proof of your abilities as a Music Teacher #piano #pianist”]

 

#2: Portfolios Give Prospective Students a Taste of What They Will Learn

Videos of your students performing can also provide prospective students with an idea of what they can expect from enrolling in your music academy. Your videos will give them a taste of the repertoire they will learn, and the standards they can expect to reach. It also demonstrates how professional you are as a teacher.

Watching the videos in your portfolio is basically a try-before-you-buy experience for prospective students. And if what they’re “trying” is quality, they’ll be interested in “buying”.

#3: They Make a Great Take-Home Gift for Parents and Students

I record all my students’ performances at our studio’s annual recital. Afterwards, I give my students copies of their performance. They can also purchase a Blu-ray disc of the entire concert.

Because I have my video work done professionally, all my students and their parents love receiving copies of their performances. This means that as a music teacher, having a video portfolio plays a dual role, as it’s also a great “extra” to offer your clients.

#4: “Everyone Else” is Doing It

Members of other industries often have portfolios on their website, demonstrating their expertise in their area. For instance, builders have photos and/or videos of the homes they have built, while graphic designers have galleries filled with the logos they’ve designed. So why don’t music teachers have portfolios too?

#5: Cost Isn’t an Issue

“But video is expensive!” is another common objection to having a video portfolio.

Once upon a time, this was true. But nowadays, even if you can’t afford a professional videographer, there’s really no excuse. Smartphones even film in HD! (Just be sure to hold them horizontally – vertical videos are bad.)

Furthermore, taking a step up from a smart phone isn’t prohibitive like it once was, either. DSLR cameras can cost less than $500, and if you want to invest in sound as well as picture (which is a good idea), Zoom microphones can also be bought for less than $500. That means you can start filming quality videos of your students’ performances for less than $1000. It’s an investment, to be sure. But not an outrageous one.

#6: The Proof of the Pudding…

Let your students’ fingers do the talking in your marketing.

Video portfolios clearly demonstrate a music teacher’s expertise. You’ve heard the adage “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”? Well the proof of a teacher’s skills is in their students’ playing.

Even one of my 8 year old students has her own YouTube channel!

 

Eleena Li Piano Channel

 

#7 – Video is a Social Media WIN

In the world of social media, visual posts generate more “likes”, comments, clicks, and “engagement”.

According to a 2014 study by Quintly, videos on Facebook Pages garner more interactions and engagement than images, statuses, links, and cover photos. Despite making up an average of 3% of all posts, videos receive a disproportionate share of attention on social media.

As such, having a video portfolio with videos you can share on your different social media platforms can help your pages to stand out and get attention. And of course, YouTube itself is a social media platform through which people can discover you – after all, it’s the world’s second most popular search engine after Google.

#8: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Have you ever visited the website of a famous singer, musician, or band where they simply told you how good they were? Of course not. Instead, they show you with videos. And if others in the music industry have videos demonstrating their expertise, why shouldn’t music teachers do the same?

#9: It Sets You Apart

To my knowledge, there’s one other piano teacher in Hurstville, Sydney with a video portfolio: Jackie Sharp. (You can see her YouTube channel here.) She’s also the author of Purrfect Practice.

By having video portfolios, Jackie and I have set ourselves apart from other music teachers. It’s a point of difference. And it’s a point of difference my clients love. I know, because they tell me about it.

 

Purrfect Practice

 

Over to You

If you’re a music teacher, do you have a video portfolio? If not, why not?

As a student or parent, do you appreciate being able to watch student performances?

Piano Fingers – Video Portfolio Showcase

Would you like to see the Le Piano Academy video portfolio? You’ll find it on our showcase page, entitled “Piano Fingers”. Piano Fingers includes video recordings of my students’ live performances at our studio’s annual piano recital. These students range in age from young children, to adults. Some are beginners, others intermediates, and others have been studying piano with me for years. So go have a look, and let me know what you think!

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