Recitals, Video & Nerves

Recording Performance

Videotaped Recitals - Good or a Necessary Evil?

Does A Videotaped Music Recital Assist A Student?

I remember when I was in high school and had to give a demonstration speech.  It was videotaped. Right from the beginning, I hated the thought of having to demonstrate something in front of both my class and a camera.  It made me nervous, just like performing music in front of people may make a performer nervous.  The minute someone puts a camera in front of you, that performance takes on a new dimension.

For the first time in years, students from Fretmentor’s weekly bluegrass class in Jupiter, Florida were videotaped in recitals. In the beginning of this 8-week session, groups were selected and one song was chosen randomly out of a hat. The groups had 8 weeks to practice either individually or with the group as a whole.  It should be noted that all groups work on approximately 20 songs that are originally arranged by Fretmentor.  So students are all working from the same versions and arrangements for each tune.

This group has made great strides over the past couple of years. I recall some earlier classes where one of my students advised me that she was sick to her stomach all day, while thinking about performing in front of others later that night.  I also had a student who told me that he performed in rodeos throughout his life without any problem but the mere thought of playing music with others, made him nervous.  Not only are the latest students performing regularly in front of others, they had the courage enough to allow themselves to be recorded, so they can actually see and listen to the results.  As a teacher, you can only think of this is a great learning tool.

Fretmentor has its own You Tube channel where the videos can be listed as private, so only those receiving authorization can view their performances.  This adds comfort for those who are somewhat apprehensive about being exposed to the public via the internet.

Bluegrass Group Performance

Fretmentor's Bluegrass Performance Class

Share Your Thoughts …

I would like to hear from both the students and others about their experiences with having to perform a recital that is videotaped.  Was it hard to do?  Did it make you nervous or uncomfortable?  Do you believe the experience will make you a more confident player while performing in front of your friends or the general public?  Did you learn anything from the experience? Please share your experience with us by commenting below.



About fretmentor

Born in Detroit, Michigan, David F. Jakubiak has been involved in music since the age of 7, beginning as a clarinet player and then at 9 turning his attention to stringed instruments. He earned trophies in group talent competitions while a student at the University of Michigan. The instructor earned a BA degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. At college, he also studied classical music and music history. His passion is teaching music and in performing as a musician. In addition to on-stage performances, David has played in various venues from outdoor festivals to small nightclubs. He plays, performs and teaches various styles of music, including rock, pop, blues, jazz, classical, country and bluegrass styles. He performs and teaches acoustic and electric guitar, five-string banjo, and mandolin. His styles range from Scruggs, melodic, Reno and old-time style on banjo, to finger-style and flat-picking technique on guitar, to various styles of mandolin. For over 45 years, Mr. Jakubiak has taught all age groups, taking a personal interest in each student to ensure that they receive the attention and lesson plans that meet their needs and interests. His lessons and instructional materials place a strong emphasis on the practical use or music theory to ensure that the student understands the instrument and learns how to improvise to develop their own style. Mr Jakubiak teaches group and studio classes, webcam lessons over the internet, and individual private lessons to students of various ages. He has compiled and produced eight instructional books on CD as well as numerous instrumental arrangements. David has written for Banjo Newsletter, a monthly publication for the banjo enthusiast and has published an article in Issue #37 of the Fretboard Journal. He is the founder of To contact David Jakubiak, please feel free to e-mail him at david AT (substitute the @ sign for the word AT)
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3 Responses to Recitals, Video & Nerves

  1. avatar Tigerpaws says:

    I sort of blocked out the camera…(and everyone else for that matter).I just concentrated on the music and on what my group was doing. For me it wasn’t traumatic at all… However, waching myself afterwards … I didn’t like that….not that we played bad….I just don’t like watching myself performing…..Makes me feel very uncomfortable.

  2. avatar Lspencerini says:

    I too did not really notice the camera when we got up there. It seemed to go very fast as well once we got started. I don’t want to critique my actual performance too much. I think all the groups did really well especially considering that I don’t think any of us have experience being filmed. It felt like we were in this together and that made it easier.

  3. avatar Mary Mandy says:

    It was a blast! I really enjoyed working with the group, even for the short time it was. I believe all my co-players understood and took seriously the concentration and attention each player needed to apply, and they all did it. What I learned about my own playing was that I tend to rush. Damn it! (If I’ve been doing this for awhile no one ever said anything) I noticed many players in all groups were very nervous, and perhaps we can talk about this in class – if we as players are really listening to the music, we won’t have any room in our brains to even think about worrying whether or not we’re going to screw it up, yes? Thanks for this exercise and I am so happy you’re keeping it going!

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