Cracking the Chrysalis: Advice from Concert Veterans

Most of the year we are firmly in chrysalis mode. Nestled cozily in a small, familiar class or private study, students are free to take risks, make mistakes, learn at their own pace, explore with curiosity, and grow tremendous amounts in the process without fully realizing it.

Then concert time rolls around! Our spring concert, summer recital, and winter class performances are fun, informal affairs, hugely supportive of the student's development. Suddenly new students see their horizons expanding exponentially as they catch a glimpse of what the future has in store, and advancing students look back with amazement at how far they have come. With the help of our Congrats Cards, our performers learn how impressed their audience was by their playing, and our backyard venue for the spring concert and summer recital means chickens and bunnies are nearby to soothe nervousness with their funny antics.

Experienced students know all this, and even though they still get occasional butterflies about it, they also look forward to the opportunity to share beautiful music with their friends and family.

Brand new students, on the other hand, are embarking into the unknown, and understandably may feel more apprehensive! It takes tremendous courage to perform that first time. To help offer them a clearer picture of what lies ahead, I asked for students and parents who have attended past concerts to share their experience. Here's what they had to say!


Audiences are way kinder then u think they would be and usually oblivious to if something goes wrong. The people you don't know want you to succeed as much as the people you know want you too. In my experience the performer is usually way more critical then the audience.

- student

[You] know most of the people! Group pieces, fun!

- Tara, student

Liz Erickson’s annual music recital is a very relaxed and supportive venue for performance.  The yard is so interesting, by watching the bunnies or the children play- you can think about something else besides being nervous.   Being nervous before performing is normal.   Say to yourself, I can do this- because you have been practicing and you really can do it.  Remember how you felt after learning something like how to swim or bike or fill in the blank?  It is a great feeling. After performing, there is a similar feeling, joy and sense of accomplishment. 

- Anne Matalon, parent

All you really need to think about is playing what you're playing and being focused on it.

- Keith Erickson, student

It's really fun and you don't have to worry about it. The music sounds really pretty and you just have to focus on your part. Other people are nervous too and it's fine to be nervous.

- Fiona E., student

Every year the concert is more and more fun! It's so amazing to see what everyone has been working on and to witness the progress they've made since the year before. It really is a wonderful experience!

- Veronica, student

Concerts are lighthearted, collaborative, and the kids write some of the music. The backyard is for magic and inspiration and performance becomes just part of the fun.

- MG, parent