Recitals are an important part of development on the violin. Not only do they allow a musician to prepare a piece to a high level, but they also allow the student to perform for others. I do not believe that we should study the violin if we never perform for others.
Recitals should be character building, however, it should should not be a time where a student falls on their face. If there is any chance of that, a difference piece should be selected. One bad experience on stage can lead to years of agony when preparing for recitals. I try to make sure all students are successful in their endeavors of playing solos in front of others.
With older students, you should be especially cautious. I try to pick pieces that will build tone or technique, but not overextend a student. Older students may work for up to a year on a solo piece. These are pieces that increase their understanding of the instrument. Smaller pieces should be kept while playing large ones in order to allow backups for recital time.
An expectation of having to play in a recital is one of the most motivating things for young instrumentalist. If your students don’t perform in front of each other each semester, I urge you to make it a tradition. It is worth the time and energy it takes to prepare for such events.
When preparing students for individual recitals, I think it is important to pick a piece they are familiar with at least one month before the recital. They should have plenty of opportunities to polish the piece before performing it in front of others. Some of the ways I like to prepare are letting the student perform it independently in lessons as many times as they can before the recital. I also like to play harmony parts on my violin. I have found playing with the students too often does not allow them to learn to play independently enough for recitals.
Some teacher suggest 100 polished performances of a piece before the recital. I do not completely agree with this, but I think stressing several polished performances over a number of weeks is best. I think extracting the preview spots is also a good idea.
Another idea is to have a coloring page with several small spaces for them to color each time they have a polished performance of the piece. Maybe they could perform it for 30 people before the recital. (Neighbors, pastors, friends, relatives, teachers, principals, or whoever.)
This is a list of files written in Finale that may help you. These are my own editions. You may alter them as you like. They are based upon my favorite teaching method, but sometimes transposed to the keys that all string students can use.
Here is a link to download the Finale Viewer: http://www.finalemusic.com/reader/default.aspx
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