June 18, 2012

The One with the Second First Piano Recital

In May 1995, with shaky hands and butterflies in my stomach, I played at my very first piano recital--a piece by John Thompson, Fairy's Harp. (I know all of these details because my awesome mom saved every single one of my recital programs--all 15 of them--in a neatly organized file folder. Thanks, mom.) 

Seventeen years and one month later, I hosted my very first piano studio recital with 8 wonderful students and 30 of their friends and family members. 

IMG_9959_2_with Date

I am a piano teacher. wait, let me say that again. I am a piano teacher. 

After nearly 4 years of teaching, the reality has finally begin to sink in. I teach students how to play the piano and they have learned and proven themselves as musicians, no matter the level. Wow. I have been continually overwhelmed by this thought since my recital on Saturday afternoon. I am praising God for the gifts He has given me, the musical education I have received through Mrs. Colvin, Mrs. Heydenburg, Mr. Kirby, and Dr. Livesay, and the encouragement and tools I have been given from my husband, my grandma-in-law, and my Grams. Oh! And not to forget the beautiful Baldwin piano passed on to us by Kevin's parents after we were married! What a gift! 

Ok, ok, enough sentiment! on to the recital! 

I had a hair-brained idea to put a fun twist on the traditional formal recital. What if we held the recital at a more relaxed, cozy venue like a coffee house, and invited the guest to chat and mingle throughout the event--making it less stressful on students and more enjoyable for all in attendance?

Thanks to a friend/piano studio parent/coffee house owner, the idea worked beautifully! We set up tables of lesson information and lovely color programs (thanks to another parent!), an assortment of snacks including confetti sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pizzelles, and hummus (all made by yours truly), and an original designed cake congratulating our students (homemade by a studio parent). 


Recital Cover_Spring 2012
program cover

isn't this cake awesome?! Thanks again, M! 

Moments before the recital began, I gathered my students in the front of the coffee house to lighten the mood, calm their nerves, and pray together. It was a blessed time.


And then they were off! I sat beside the piano after introducing each student and having them share the title of their piece(s). I am almost certain I was more nervous for them than they were for themselves. :) The audience enjoyed each song, and I was proud watching them perform well! I even had a couple opportunities to play duets with my students--always fun. 

V and I played The Beatles I Want to Hold Your Hand
T and I played a fun arrangement of When the Saints Go Marching In

The Crowd Applauding
After the students finished playing, it was my turn. (Thankfully, my nerves had been all used up while watching my students play, so I wasn't nervous at all. :D) Because of the numerous requests I received to perform at the recital and since many of the studio families had never heard me play, I thought it would be a nice surprise. I picked out my piece with a few particular studio moms and daughters in mind, as they are fellow-fans of a BBC/PBS tv show Downton Abbey. I was so excited to be playing the theme song to this riveting 1900s drama, and it seemed that everyone loved it.

After taking a break for snacks and conversation, it was time to present the awards and gifts. I created two awards that will be presented each year--Most Improved Pianist and Most Accomplished Pianist. My hope is that these awards will be highly sought after each school year, motivating students to receive top honors in the studio. In addition to those specific certificates, I recognized each student for an area in which they were excelling.

Most Dedicated to Practice. Passion for Perfection. Most Elegant Musicianship. Strong Theory Comprehension. Most Accepting of Challenges. Expressive Piano Compositions. 

And finally, I was excited to give each student a gift--one that I hoped would be useful as well as enjoyed. These personalized music tote bags accomplished both with great success, and they proudly display Eccles Piano Studio on the side. I love them! 


And before we knew it, the first Eccles Piano Studio recital (and a first recital for 6 out of 8 students) had come to an end. WHAT A SUCCESS! 

Like I say on my website, I have a lot of FUN with my students! :D

Special thanks to my husband for photographing the event, and to my dad for making the 3 hour drive to be with me on my second-first piano recital. It was a joy having you there, Daddy! 


  1. Beautiful Mel! Can you believe you are a piano teacher? I remember my piano teacher. I was so excited when I earned my piano bag! You are bring such wonderful memories back.. May your students be blessed by your gifts and talents!

  2. Oh, what a joy! I'm glad it turned out so well. Looks like you all had a lot of fun :)


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