Need help pulling off a stellar piano recital? Learn more about how to perfectly plan your next piano recital in this exclusive guest post from our friend Doreen Hall from Paloma Piano…
Piano recitals are great. It’s a time for star students to show off their skills as well as a time for parents and grandparents to experience the pay-off that comes with all of those piano lessons and all of that practicing. And let’s not forget, a time for teachers to see the fruits of their labor.
Then again, piano recitals are also a time when students are nervous, parents are worried, and teachers…well teachers are just plain stressed! However, this doesn’t need to be the case. With some careful planning, piano recitals can actually be fun. How, you ask?
Join me and fasten your seat belts as we launch into the “Countdown to a Stellar and Stress-Free Recital Piano Recital.”
Once you decide you want to have a piano recital, set a recital date. Some things to consider when setting a piano recital date are: holidays, school exams, and other school concerts.
I try not to schedule a recital during exam week or too close to Christmas. I also recommend booking a recital a few months in advance to give students plenty of time to prepare their music.
This is my least favorite step because where I live places to hold recitals are few and far between, and the places that are appropriate book up a year or more in advance.
Some places that have worked for me in the past are: churches, art museums, music stores, piano stores, community centers, retirement homes, hotels and restaurants. I have even hosted dinner recitals at my townhouse.
Some venues will charge a fee, which you can pass along to your students. Other places, like retirement homes, will want to have residents attend the performance. Network with students and friends, so you can start making a list and start calling places.
Visit with prospective piano recital venues and meet with the person in charge of the scheduling. Look at things like seating capacity, parking, the surrounding neighborhood, and the atmosphere of the venue.
Ask whether or not refreshments are allowed and whether a list of students attending is needed. Some places, especially retirement homes, require people to check in with a valid driver’s license before entry.
If your recital includes a piano, always be sure check out the piano (seriously). Make sure it exists, and that it is in tune and playable. If it looks like all systems are a go, book your recital date and time. Also, be sure to get it in writing, either on paper or by email or text.
Make a flyer and hand it out to parents and students. Include all of the recital specifics, including the date, time, address, directions, dress code, parking instructions, notable phone numbers, any costs, and student materials.
Post the flyer in your studio, on your studio’s website, and your studio’s social media accounts. Email it to all of your students’ parents. Keep plenty of extra copies handy and give them out freely.
Talk about the details of the recital at every piano lesson. Even with all of this, someone will still probably say they didn’t know about the event, but at least you know you did your best to get the word out.
Once the recital is all set, it’s time to decide what each student will be playing. Be sure to choose a song that each student will easily be able to get ready in time for the performance.
I try to have each student play a different piece for the recital. For students in method books, this takes a little planning. If it’s the eleventh hour and “William Wait to the Last Minute” isn’t ready, I use my “Instant Recital Solutions”.
This is certainly the most labor intensive part of recital planning. We all want our students to play well at performances. After all, success breeds more success. A good piano recital builds a student’s confidence, makes parents happy, and reflects positively on us as teachers.
There are many great ways to teach repertoire, so find the ways that work best for each individual student. For more information on how to teach repertoire, click here.
Once the music is learned or nearly learned, I tell my students to play their recital piece/pieces for everyone who will listen. Most of the time, dress rehearsals are not possible, so I have my students play for family and friends and for each other when they come into my studio.
This helps them to know areas in which they need to devote extra practice time and get over some of the recital jitters.
Now is the time to decide whether there will be refreshments and who will bring them. I have each family bring something to share, such as cookies and lemonade (no colored drinks or messy snacks).
You really should video tape your recital and take photos, so now is the time to assign that task to a parent or friend who enjoys that type of activity.
Giving recital photos and videos to families around the holidays is a great idea. However, be sure to get permission from parents before posting images and videos of students on social media or websites.
Take it from someone who has put on dozens of piano recitals – it pays to have a program, especially if you have a larger studio. Be sure to check the spelling of each student’s name and the pieces they will be playing.
It is a nice touch to use the program to thank parents for bringing the students faithfully to lessons and to the recital. I also like to acknowledge the person responsible for the recital venue for allowing us to use their space.
Email or call the person at the recital venue and let them know that your students are definitely coming. Be sure to ask parents how many people they’re bringing to give the venue a head’s up.
Also, be sure to remind parents. Everyone should know when and where they are going, what they are playing, what they are bringing (including music scores if they are not playing from memory), and what they are wearing.
Recital day is here! Today is the culmination of months of work, and an exciting day for students, families, and teachers. We get to see all of the families we love so much in one place. Let your students know how proud you are of them no matter how they play.
Relax and enjoy your day. You have done your due diligence and you are ready. Sure mishaps may happen – I’ve had more than a few. But, all-in-all, I have found recitals to be a heavenly experience.