From Our Perspective: The Winter Recital Series

Nathan Zhang ’21 playing piano at the music FSA recital. Courtesy of Tai Cambell ’21

In 2000, the first Groton student recital was held with three performers. Two decades later student recitals are an integral part of our music program here on campus. Musicians at every level get the opportunity to perform as a complementary addition to their music lessons during the year. 

The student recital series is provided so students taking lessons at Groton have a goal to work toward each term and so they have the experience of performing for a live audience –– an experience that you cannot simulate,” Head of the Music Department Mary-Ann Lanier said. 

Students taking lessons for credit are required to perform in a winter/spring recital which integrates several different genres of music and instruments, from original student music to opera to rap to jazz. As the winter recital series comes to a close, Groton students with unique musical backgrounds shared their personal take on student recitals.


Creed Bellamy ’22: Creed is a new fourth former who plays the ukulele, piano, and sings. At her first recital at Groton this winter, Creed said she was so nervous that her hands kept shaking during her piano performance. Creed believes student recitals don’t affect student skill or mastery of an instrument but can increase confidence when performing in front of an audience. 

“For someone with stage fright or who has anxiety performing in front of people,” Creed said, “it can be a good tool to help someone get used to it.” 

Although Creed says her student recital was a good experience, she believes that student recitals should be optional. 

“You shouldn’t have to show others what you’re learning for yourself unless you want to,” she expressed.


Allison Jiang ’22:  Playing the violin as her main instrument, Allison has participated in the music program here for almost 2 years. Allison recalls the feeling she had before her very first recital, saying, “I experienced terrible nervousness, and Gammons was a very new space for me to perform.” 

But at her most recent recital, she felt at home in Gammons and more “comfortable exploring different musical choices.” 

Allison has an optimistic view of the value recitals can give to students. She believes recitals can encourage frequent performances. 

“Students can excel and get better after every time,” she said. 

Allison recalled a fond recital memory this winter where she played the “Sibelius Violin Concerto.” “It was a less showy, more sentimental piece that really got to breathe in the acoustics of Gammons,” she said. 


Josh Guo ’20: A true veteran, Josh has performed in student recitals for almost 5 years now. 

“Before my first Groton recital in second form, I remember being very nervous, but with the encouragement of my teachers and friends, I felt fully supported when I went up to play. From there –– it was all a blur, I know that I had the support of everyone around me, and so just lost myself in the music,” Josh said. “Nowadays, I love recitals not just for the opportunity to express myself through music, but also to appreciate the talents of others in the community and to connect with them and audience members through music.”

Josh also believes that recitals here do add value and contain several benefits: “On the one hand, it’s a great way to just unwind and relax, listening to and supporting your talented peers. It’s also a great way to connect with and learn about others around you. Music is such a powerful language for communication and expression.” 


The winter recital series has come a long way from 3 performers to more than 90. Based on newcomers’ and veterans’ testimony alike, although the recitals can be nerve-wracking, performing before a live audience not only improves students’ playing, but also creates joyful memories.