Repertoire List

Music lessons are most successful when you, the parent, are involved. We teachers are more than happy to help discover what will make your music lessons more successful. Sometimes a few small adjustments can make a huge difference. One thing that might be a good idea to discuss with your teacher is working on a repertoire list. In case you are unfamiliar with this term, repertoire (repə(r)ˌtwär) simply means the songs that the student has practiced and can perform well. Some students might be discouraged because they feel they can’t really perform if someone asks them to play. This can easily be remedied! Often students know many more songs than they realize, they just haven’t taken the time to write these songs down, so they simply forget what they are able to perform. Creating a repertoire list can be so beneficial!

  1. Writing down a list of songs that the student worked hard on and can play well works as a visual reminder of the students’ continuing progress.  
  2. Having a repertoire list makes it possible to have impromptu performances/recitals. Personal story: I was raised in a very musical family, and every type of gathering involved musical performances. As a kid I dreaded this because I never felt prepared. Oh, I had practiced plenty and had perfected many songs, but as I continued gaining new songs to work on, I easily forgot about the old ones. I didn’t know off the top of my head what I was able to play or sing. Once I sat down and made a list of all the songs I knew well, I felt much more prepared in the event someone asked me to play or sing something. And all the effort I had put toward my musical development finally started paying off.
  3. Adding songs to one’s repertoire can work as a great motivator. Maybe a student has 5 songs in his repertoire. Well, set a goal! Encourage him to get 10 songs on the list! Reward him for doing so! (This reward may or may not cost money, depending on what you prefer.) Adding songs to a students’ repertoire list can be such a feeling of accomplishment.

Don’t be afraid to set goals with your child! Was practicing a struggle last year? What can be done to turn that around? Of course Starlight has an incredible Practice Pals program that you can take advantage of. Practicing is non-negotiable when it comes to developing a skill, especially music. Have you ever met an amazing athlete who only participates in games? No, great athletes practice, practice, practice! What about spelling? What child wins a spelling bee without practice? What child learns to read well without lots of practice? Do you know a computer programmer, writer, dancer, gymnast, public speaker, actor, etc? These people don’t become great without much practice. Music is no different.


Not only will practice help the student progress musically, but the diligence that must be learned in order to commit and practice regularly will absolutely transfer to other parts of life.

So go ahead, have the courage, commitment, confidence, and persistence to make this year a better year! Make that repertoire list and start adding to it! Happy performing!


Piano Recital

So, what’s so great about recitals, you may ask?

Well, first of all, a piano recital is a great way for students to showcase what they have accomplished musically. Learning an instrument is tough! Becoming skilled on an instrument takes much dedication, hard work, and often goes un-rewarded. When a student has the opportunity to walk on stage to show off what he or she has learned, the sense of pride and accomplishment the musician feels is unmatched. Seeing the smiling faces and hearing the applause from loved ones and complete strangers reignites the passion and determination it takes to become a skilled musician.

Piano recitals also play a big role in building a musician’s confidence in performing. It is so disappointing to a musician to put so much work into learning an instrument, yet be unable to share that skill with others simply because he or she is too afraid to perform for others. Starlight Music Lessons’ recitals provide a safe and supportive environment to help build a musician’s confidence in performing as he learns his instrument. She doesn’t have to worry about people laughing at her mistakes or judging her nervousness. We all understand that performing is difficult, and becoming a great performer takes practice, just like anything else. So Starlight students can feel confident to walk up on stage and do their best. Once they realize how great  it feels to perform and see the fruit of their labors, they will have more confidence in their own performing abilities. Even if a student does not aspire to be a professional musician, participating in recitals helps the student develop the confidence required to simply share music with others in small ways: playing for relatives at a reunion, singing for residents at a nursing home, bringing a smile to someone’s face by sharing a beautiful musical piece.

Piano recitals are rewarding for parents. You have spent good money on your child’s lessons. Nothing beats watching your pride and joy walk up on stage and perform. It is such a great moment when you are able to see the fruit of your own labor: paying for lessons, encouraging your child to practice, making time for the lessons. When you see your young musician on stage nailing a piece, the value of what you have been providing for your child is suddenly clear.

Along those same lines, recitals also become benchmarks for measuring the student’s progress. As a parent listening to the lessons week by week, it is easy to miss the subtle progress being made. But when you compare videos and songs from recitals, you will be amazed by the noticeable improvement in your child’s abilities from one recital to the next!

And finally, a piano recital is such a blessing to teachers. Your teacher puts so much effort and care into molding your child into a skilled musician. When we, as teachers, are able to see our students pull off those songs we and the students have been working so hard on, as teachers, our hearts swell with pride for our students! We love them dearly, and it means the world to see our students become skilled musicians.

Recitals have even more benefits, but we’ll stop there for now. We sincerely hope you will make time for a piano recital this year!

Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety is a natural response to having to get up in front of others to showcase a skill. If you have a child preparing to perform? Are YOU nervous for your child? We’re going to share some tips with you regarding overcoming performance anxiety.


Before we get into tips for your child, lets talk about you for a moment. As your child prepares for a music recital, if you are experiencing performance anxiety on your child’s behalf, that’s perfectly normal, but what you decide to do with that anxiety can have an impact on how your child is able to handle his/her own nervousness. If you are stressed about your child performing, try to relax, at least in front of your child. Your stress is contagious, and if your child is already nervous, your stress will make it worse for him. She will pick up on your anxious cues and become anxious herself, even if she wasn’t really that nervous to begin with. And just remember: playing in a recital is a wonderful growth opportunity for your child, and even if he/she does make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. So try to enjoy the process.


Okay, so how can your child deal with his performance anxiety? Well, the first thing is to recognize that feeling nervous is not a bad thing! Most performers (even professional) get jitters before they go on stage. These jitters are from adrenalin rushing through our bodies. Musicians need to learn how to harness this adrenalin and use it to their advantage to power their performance with confidence, passion, and power. This adrenalin is a signal to the brain that it needs to “turn on” and work with excellence.

Here are a few tips to gain control over performance anxiety:

  1. Think positively. Don’t focus on what you might do wrong. Set goals for yourself, and repeat these goals to yourself. For example the student can say to himself, “I am going to play wonderfully.” Or “I will be calm and confident and give a fantastic performance.”
    • Don’t focus on negatives or timid thinking such as, “I hope I don’t mess up.” Or “I won’t forget my songs.” Make sure the thoughts stay positive, focusing on what you WILL do as opposed to what you WON’T do or HOPE you will or won’t do.
  2. Breathe! When we are scared we start breathing quickly. Focusing on taking deep breaths and slowing down the breathing will effectively help relax the body and mind.
  3. Rehearse. Obviously we all know practicing the songs is very important, but also important is actually rehearsing. Make sure to run through the performance routine many times in the weeks leading up to the recital. If the student goes through the motions enough times it will become second nature to her. Stress often comes from the fear of the unknown, or unanswered questions. As I was developing my music abilities, much of my stress before performances came from not knowing how things would play out. When do I bow? When will I walk on stage? Will I be in the audience or backstage, etc. I knew the music very well, but not being confident in all the other little things can shake a person’s confidence. So, rehearse many times so you don’t have to worry about the little extras. Click here to read Starlight’s Recital Preparation Tips.
  4. Visualize. Imagine (with a positive attitude) what it will be like to walk on stage. Imagine yourself playing the song perfectly. Visualize how pleased the audience will be. Hear the applause in your head. Smile! See yourself stand up and take a bow. Imagine the satisfaction and victory you will feel by working so hard and performing well.  
  5. On the day of the recital, relax. Get a good night’s sleep the day before, eat nutritiously, and relax. Try to allow extra time to get ready so you’re not rushing around. If the performer is stressed about other things, that will carry over into their feelings about performing.
    • Note on nutrition: parents, be mindful of the food you’re feeding your children on the day of the recital. It might sound fun to make a special breakfast or lunch loaded with white flour and sugar, but be mindful that sugar, white flour, caffeine, etc. will make the child feel more anxious leading up to the performance. It will truly help them if you feed them proteins, vegetables, and good fats.

Well, there you have it, hopefully some of these tips will help your child harness the adrenalin rush that comes from getting up on stage instead of experiencing performance anxiety. At the end of the day, focus as much as possible on making the performance fun and enjoyable!

Musical Preparation for Holiday Fun

web-1018832_960_720Do you ever dream of bringing the gift of live music to family and friend gatherings and celebrations? You have kids in music lessons! That dream can become a reality! Now is the time to prepare. Don’t worry, I won’t be guilting you into adding more stress to your holiday calendar! Here is what I’m suggesting:

img_2521Pick 3-5 of your favorite songs from your child’s piano books. (Or ask your child to do this.) These should be songs your child has already learned. Then encourage them to practice these songs every week. By Thanksgiving the songs should be adequately perfected, and your child can perform a mini recital for your family and friends. And… voila! Wasn’t that fun?

I’m doing this with my own kids, and they are so excited! This has even encouraged my kids to spontaneously join forces at the piano and create their own duets.

What event is not made more delightful and memorable by the addition of live music? Especially from the kids! So I would encourage you to put your children’s lessons to good use and see if they would like to play a few songs during special gatherings. It’s so enjoyable for all.

Be blessed this holiday season!

Practice Recitals at Home: A Great Way to Prep for Your Performance

dorothyWe are so looking forward to Starlight’s upcoming costume recital! This is going to be a blast!

Practice these steps at home to help your child prepare for performing in front of others.

Please review with your child that while backstage, they must be quiet and listen to instructions.

1. From backstage, walk up to the piano or mic, as appropriate. During this time, the teacher will be announce your name and song title. Place your sheet music on the stand if you are not playing memorized.

2. Piano players: sit down and place your fingers on the appropriate keys to start the song. Non-piano instrumentalists: Get your instrument set up and in playing position. Vocalists: Focus on breathing and finding good posture.

3. Perform your piece just like you did in practice. If you make a mistake, don’t stop and start over. Just keep going and pretend it didn’t even happen. More than likely, the audience won’t even know!

4. When you finish, stand up, leaving your sheet music/book on the stand. Do not bow with your sheet music in your hands. Step away from your instrument and/or stand so everyone can see you.

5. Bow or curtsy. Look out at the audience and SMILE!!!

6. Get your sheet music/book and return to backstage area.


If you have any questions about Starlight’s upcoming recital or would like to talk to someone about starting music lessons, please contact us today!

Why Participate in a Music Competition?

Competitions aren’t for everyone, but for those who are interested, participating in musical competitions can be a wonderfully exciting experience!

Here are some of the benefits of participating in a music competition:

1. The ability to see tangible results of hard work. 

     Music students put a lot of effort into improving on their instrument. Most of the time this effort remains in the practice room or at the piano. A music competition provides an opportunity for the student to take this hard work and translate it into a knockout performance. The satisfaction that comes from seeing their hard work pay off teaches the student to value hard work.

2. Improved skills in setting goals and meeting deadlines
Clearly, these skills are necessary to all parts of life. Participating in a music competition can provide a more enjoyable means to learning these skills.

3. Learning to handle pressure. 
The ability to handle pressure is a crucial life skill. Everyone must eventually learn how operate under pressure: racing heart, sweaty palms, and the nerves that come from all eyes being on me. The best way to improve this skill is to practice in a safe environment. Starlight competitions provide a safe, gentle environment to help students learn this important skill. Judges will provide constructive feedback, including praises as well as things that can be improved. And those who make mistakes will not be shamed.

4. Learning to accept criticism. 
As previously mentioned, Starlight’s judges will provide constructive feedback. This will include commendations for well-executed techniques. However, our judges will also provide input regarding areas that can use improvement. Being teachable and receiving criticism gracefully is a valuable life skill. Again, the best way to improve this skill is to practice. Allowing your child to face criticism in a safe and positive environment the best way to encourage growth in this area.

5. A positive experience that reflects well on the child’s work ethic, determination, and skills. (This will look good on a child’s applications/resumes.)
Schools, employers, and others will look favorably upon the experience of participating in music competitions. Those in leadership roles who will evaluate your child’s competency and character recognize the sort of determination, work ethic, and commitment it takes to prepare for competitions. This sort of thing looks great on applications of all sorts!

6.  Learning to cope with disappointing results.
Contrary to recitals where everyone “wins,” in competitions the number of winners must be limited. Obviously, all the students work hard to be THE winner, however, some will be disappointed by the results. This is something that must be learned how to handle well. At Starlight competitions there are no “losers.” Everyone will be presented with a participation certificate and is praised for their hard work. Much will be gained even if a student doesn’t win the overall competition. But learning how to cope with unfavorable results will help the child become a more mature, well-adjusted individual who can learn how to find joy throughout all of life’s ups and downs.

All of this being said, competitions aren’t for everyone. Some people thrive and flourish in a competitive environment, while competition can cause others to whither.

For those who will be participating in a competition, remember, work hard, prepare well, and do your best. And be proud of your performance, whether or not the outcome is what you hoped for. Simply committing to compete and doing the preparation necessary is a great accomplishment in itself! That is definitely something to be proud of!

Why is Participating in a Recital Important?

Hello Everyone! Happy February!

Since recital season is quickly approaching, we’d like to go over some of the reasons why recitals are so valuable to your child. (Click here to read about Starlight Music Lessons Recitals.)

Why is participating in a recital important?
  1. A recital offers a big goal to work toward. 
    • This enables your child to set goals, learn to persevere through practicing, and learn discipline. The discipline that a student acquires in preparing for a recital will translate to a student’s work ethic as he/she grows to take on life’s new challenges.
  2. Recitals allow the student to feel successful, having actually accomplished something they set their minds to. 
    • Most of the time music students have to work hard at pieces and receive no recognition for all of their hard work.  Music recitals provide an opportunity for them to get that much-deserved recognition and praise.
    • Recitals give the students a sense of responsibility, accomplishment, and importance.  This sense of importance will inspire many students to continue working hard with their instruments.
  3. Recitals provide an opportunity for you to show your child that you value their music education.
    • When you set aside time to focus on that recital and take the entire family out to witness your child perform, that tells your child that your family values music and that you appreciate the hard work he/she has put forth in order to perform.
  4. By witnessing beginner students in the recital, the student (and parent) is able to reflect on how far the student has come.
  5. Seeing more advanced students will likely motivate your child to continue working hard to become a higher level performer. 
    • Time and time again, we teachers see our students gain a new level of excitement by simply witnessing what can be done on their instrument by children their own age.
  6. Recitals provide an opportunity for extended family and friends to be participants in your child’s musical education. 
    • Compare a music education to sports: Everybody comes out to see the football games and soccer games, but rarely does the music student have the ability to show off for his family and friends. Recitals allow all students the opportunity to share their hard work with those they love.
  7. By participating in a recital your child has the opportunity to experience performance jitters…  And to realize that these nervous feelings are OK.  
    • Many parents hate the idea of their children having to experience nervousness of any sort.  But what these parents likely don’t realize is that experiences such as these teach a child how to keep his cool in a stressful situation and build confidence. When children are allowed to experience and are taught to deal with these emotions, they gain more confidence and are better prepared a to deal with stressful situations which will arise all throughout their lives.
  8. Recitals give you a great opportunity to praise your children!! 
    • Do you want to see your child’s commitment for music lessons soar?  Clap enthusiastically, bring on those pictures, videos, and heartfelt praise of your child’s hard work.  Let him know how incredibly proud you are of everything he did to get to this point.  Believe me, when your child sees pride in your eyes over her hard work, she will certainly want to repeat that.
    • Stage performance help students develop self-esteem and build a high sense of self-worth.
  9. Your child will gain important experience being in front of a crowd. 
    • Whether or not she becomes a professional musician, she most likely will benefit from learning to comfortably be in front of a crowd.  It does take a lot of courage to get up in front of a crowd, but the more it’s done the easier it gets.
    • The earlier these lessons are learned the easier it will be on the child as they go through adolescence and enter adulthood.
  10. Recitals teach children in a safe environment that mistakes are an inevitable part of life.
    •  At Starlight recitals everyone wants to see you succeed. Nobody is nitpicking about mistakes or waiting for you to fail. In this safe environment your child can learn that mistakes are common and everybody makes them. The more a student practices the better they will be prepared to deal with mistakes and effortlessly move past them, but more importantly what they will learn is that the mistakes are not what matter most. Conquering their fears; getting up on stage and performing is what is important.
    • The child learns to focus on their achievements rather than focusing on mistakes.
  11. Recitals provide the opportunity for your child to see and/or meet other students who are also going through the same musical journey. 
    • Because music lessons are done individually, it is easy for the student to forget that he or she is not alone. In seeing the other students who are also having to work hard, your child will be encouraged by seeing that he/she is not alone!
  12. At a recital your children have the opportunity to experience live music. 
    • Recitals provide the opportunity for your child to hear a wide variety of music, and nothing beats a live musical performance!
  13. Recitals offer an opportunity for you to focus on your child and enjoy what their music education has provided up to this point. 
    • Oftentimes music lessons and practice are done among the busy household with kids running to and fro, siblings, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and it may be rare that you have the opportunity to just sit and listen to your child perform.
    • Sitting back and enjoying the music that your child is able to make matters!  It matters to them, and it will make beautiful memories for you.

We are looking forward to seeing you at our next recital! If you haven’t already registered, click here to do so. Register early in order to sign up for your preferred time.

P.S. If you like this information, please share it with your friends! Like Get your Recital Packet this week + Why is it Important to Participate in a Recital? on Facebook

Recital Preparation Tips

Performing “practice recitals” at home is a WONDERFUL way to help the student prepare and understand what to expect at the show. Practice these steps in order:
1. From your assigned seat in the front row, walk up to the piano or mic, as appropriate. While you are walking, the teacher will be announcing your name and what you will be playing.

2. Place your sheet music on the stand if you are not playing memorized.

3. Sit down and place your fingers on the appropriate keys/strings to start the song. If you are a vocalist, this is the time you should focus on breathing and finding good posture.

4. Perform your piece just like you did in practice. If you make a mistake, don’t stop and start over. Just keep going and pretend it didn’t even happen. More than likely, the audience won’t even know!

5. When you finish, stand up, leaving your sheet music/book on the stand. Do not bow with your sheet music in your hands.

6. Bow or curtsy. Look out at the audience and SMILE!!!

7. Get your sheet music/book and go back to your assigned performance seat. Please review with your children that when they are in the audience, there is to be no talking and no running around. They are to sit quietly where asked.


  • Students need to be dressed up (a dress, skirt or very nice pants for the girls; nice pants and a nice shirt for the boys). No jeans, shorts or dirty tennis shoes please.
  • Students MUST bring their assigned pieces with them so they can perform with the sheet music they are used to using. The teacher will NOT have extra copies of everyone’s music to use. Children should bring their sheet music/book EVEN if they have their piece memorized, just in case they want to take a peek before playing.
  • If your child is using their printed music, you need to copy the pages they are using and mount them on white or black construction paper, or a manila folder. This will ensure that your child (who has worked very hard for this day) will receive all of the attention, not their neon-colored music book.
  • You should arrive at the school 10-15 minutes early. However, please do not enter the building more than 15 minutes before your scheduled start time as other shows may be in session.
  • It is appropriate for all families to stay for the entire recital unless you have an extreme emergency.

We look forward to seeing all of you at our Summer Recital!