PRINCIPLE 8: EMPLOY
PERFORMANCE AND RECITAL
ONE OF THE BEST WAYS to ensure that students are motivated to work earnestly toward a good end product is to include an end-of-project sharing element into the plan. The most straightforward application of this principle is an inclass performance or recital of projects. During these presentations students can share the fruits of their labor and feel a sense of celebrity for their creative efforts. The term recital connotes a smaller scale time of sharing at the end of a class period. This could be something simple, such as students sharing their favorite synthesizer sounds, or modest activities such as students performing a brief percussion duet improvisation. The term performance, on the other hand, connotes a more substantial work such as a live reading of an instrumental duet, the notation software playback of an eight-measure melody, or playback of a completed multitrack song project.
Many projects can and should be performed conventionally, but as you can see, some recitals consist of software, audio, or video file playback. In each case, I am defining performance simply and in a general way: presenting a creative work for an audience. This broad definition allows for technology-facilitated dissemination such as posting works on web pages and including them in podcasts. Though not live, these kinds of “playback performances” have much merit, too. Of course, there is a precedent for this in the electronic and computer-generated art music recitals that have been taking place mostly on university campuses since the 1960s. Plus, there is a bonus many students appreciate: you get all the benefits of a public hearing, minus the nerves associated with performing live for others!
So what are those benefits? For one, students are more motivated when they know an audience will hear their work. Seeing something you have conceived come to life in a premiere performance is an artistic “high.” A second, related, benefit is that the quality of work tends to be stronger when students understand that a broader audience will hear their creative efforts. Another benefit of