Community Outreach Recital
At the Utah Piano Conservatory, we provide students with many opportunities to serve by using the skills they learn here. We hold quarterly community outreach recitals where we schedule time at nursing/retirement homes for the students to perform for the residents of these homes. Our most recent outreach performance was held this past Saturday at Cove Point Retirement Home in Provo, Utah. These recitals are a good chance for students to practice performing their solo pieces in a low-pressure environment. But more than that, these recitals are the perfect opportunity for students to use their developing talents to serve others.
We strive for lessons at the Utah Piano Conservatory to be about more than just simply learning to play the piano. We feel that one of the main reasons behind learning to play an instrument should be service. It can sometimes be easy to get caught up in the glory of playing music and especially of playing better than others. The praise and applause of audiences can make it seem like piano is all about winning admiration. But going into a nursing home and playing for the elderly, many of whom are lonely or in poor health, changes all of that. I always see students shift their perspective a bit after interacting with these residents. At this last outreach recital, one of my students declared that she wants to work at a nursing home someday because she wants to help people.
Many of the students did more than just simply play their solo and then leave. Most accepted the kind offer of one of the residents to drink some hot chocolate. In that moment, I think many of us realized that the students were serving by sharing their companionship and talent, but that resident was also serving by giving the students hot chocolate. The students and that resident started to build a friendship built on mutual service and kindness.
After the recital, one of my students and I had a long conversation with another one of the residents. That resident told us how she had taken piano lessons for many years when she was younger and had played such classics as Clair de lune by Debussy and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor. I think this conversation gave all of us added perspective on life and the different stages of it. She had once been in the shoes of my students: learning and performing music. Now she is the recipient of the learning others are doing.
I’m so grateful for the attitude of the students here to share kindness and for their willingness to serve and brighten another’s life.