Student Recitals

Student Recitals are important events in our calendar. They give our students the opportunity to present their work in front of a friendly audience and to practise concert etiquette before they go out on bigger stages or even competitions. In recent years, a discussion started about allowing or not allowing backing tracks in the recitals. Both sides have reasonable arguments. What do our members think about it? 

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Comments: 6
  • #1

    Marie Sweetland (Tuesday, 19 March 2019 01:55)

    I can see the benefits of both, but would like to suggest that we hold one student concert where backing tracks are allowed, and another where they must have live accompaniment. Higher grade students could be encouraged to accompany lower grade students. These concerts would provide a wonderful opportunity for students to gain experience in accompanying without too many external pressures.

  • #2

    Jessica Blake (Tuesday, 19 March 2019 02:41)

    When all is said and done, I believe we will always develop more skilled and confident musicians when, even from a young age, we teach them to make their own music, and then demonstrate our appreciation to them for doing so.

  • #3

    Christine Pulvirenti (Monday, 25 March 2019 06:44)

    Hi all. This comment is post-recital ,as I did not receive any emails directing me to the blog due to a glitch re. my email address!.
    I had students in the recital ,which was a very pleasant event. My observations are these; backing tapes definitely enhance a solo performance and places a performance in a completely different context and genre, albeit very pleasant to listen to, however,the performer is not producing a sound all of their own making from the first note to the last. On this occasion there were only two performances , certainly a minority, and the backing device was placed on the right (performance side of the grand piano beside the music stand for the duration of the recital, making it quite prominent and unsightly on such a beautiful instrument. There is certainly a place for this style of performance and that is why at any eisteddfod, there is a completely different section dedicated to it, as it is not emeshed/combined with the other piano solo sections. I am supportive of Marie's suggestion of a concert dedicated to this type of presentation and also concur with Jessica Blake's comments in the above blog. I am hopeful that more discussion will ensue.

  • #4

    Robyn Knibb (Monday, 25 March 2019 22:17)

    I am agreement with Marie, Jessica and Christine on this. I think a dedicated 'backing track' concert would make most sense. I find all the nuances, the details of articulation, the sensitivity are all compromised with a backing track. I also dread a world where 'live' accompaniment is considered too much bother. There is something very special about working with an associate artist. I acknowledge there is a place for backing tracks - but I don't think this type of performance sits comfortably alongside solo acoustic performances or performances with live accompaniment.

  • #5

    Margaret Fitzgerald (Thursday, 25 April 2019)

    I agree with many of the comments already made. I think the concerts should aim to develop live performance and encourage students to be confident performers on their own. They are in total control of their performance in every aspect of interpretation. So far examinations do not allow backing tracks either.
    Backing tracks can be very sophisticated and professional with orchestral or band backings making simple pieces sound very good. They can clearly add to the fun of practising simple pieces and assisting in keeping good timing. This can be great for home practice or in the lesson. If the next student at a concert does not have a backing track the performance may not be as entertaining even though musically it is more complex.
    I much prefer to encourage live performance and if a student wishes the teacher or another student can accompany. I have heard students play a bar out with a backing track for the whole piece because of nerves. A live accompanist can accommodate this.
    The Eisteddfod has the Digital Piano sections which include backing tracks and this is great. Perhaps two concerts, one with backing tracks and one without, could be the way to go.

  • #6

    Jeanine Tegg (Monday, 06 May 2019 06:52)

    Re: The Use of Backing tracks in examinations.
    . AMEB has CDs containing accompaniments for pieces in the exam books of several instruments available for purchase. One would assume that these are not offered just to be used during practice.
    . Page 90 of the current AMEB syllabus states: "Backing tracks may be used during examination. Candidates who wish to use backing tracks must provide and operate the equipment for the playback of the backing tracks."
    . The ANZCA Modern Piano syllabus states: "Up to 2 [of 4] pieces may be accompanied by backing tracks."