Are you getting ready for a piano studio recital? Those final few weeks before the big day are when things really come to crunch time.
In my last article, I shared the first part of this checklist. Go back and read the first part if you haven’t already and make sure everything is in place.
We’ll pick it up three weeks before your students’ concert.
3 Weeks Before the Piano Studio Recital
About 3 weeks before my recital day is when I have my performance workshop in my home studio. All the students come to and we do a sort of dress rehearsal of their pieces.
The main focus of this trial run is not on the pieces themselves (although of course, I’m taking note of any stumbles) it’s on the performance etiquette.
The checklist for this is the same as my students have been practising in our lessons, detailed in part 1 of this article. Wait, you’ve forgotten it? OK, here it is again. 😉
- Walk nicely up to the piano and place their book on the stand. (No, my students don’t memorise their recital pieces. For more of my thoughts on memorisation, read this post.)
- Fix the bench and sit down.
- Place their hands on the keys, take a breath and hear the beginning of their piece in their head.
- Play the piece without stopping or “fixing” mistakes.
- Lift their hands gracefully off the keys and place them in their lap.
- Pick up the book, take a bow and walk back to their seat.
I do a “what not to do” demonstration of a performance at the start and have them correct all my mistakes. Make this as exaggerated and ridiculous as possible for hilarity’s sake.
Then we draw names one by one from a hat and that student goes up to perform. The other students’ job as the audience is to take note of any of these elements that the performer forgot.
You can learn more about what we do at these workshops in this post: Performance Preparation Group Lesson.
If you’re going to provide refreshments afterwards now is the time to think about it.
I think it’s nice to provide something so that people have a reason to stick around and chat after your piano studio recital, but it’s doesn’t need to be fancy.
I simply opt for biscuits (cookies to my friends in the US) and juices. The kiddos could use a jolt of sugar after a performance and it gives me a chance to go around and tell each and every one how fantastic they are.
If you want to do fancier refreshments I highly suggest asking parents to volunteer. You don’t want to be baking like crazy at the last minute.
Depending on your recital venue, you may want to dress it up a bit with some decorations.
Again, keep this simple. Go for something that makes a big impact with minimum budget and effort. I find giant paper flowers (super easy to make) or balloons work best.
Just keep in mind the size of your recital space. Something that would look great in your living room can just disappear in a big hall.
Remember if you’re a Vibrant Music Teaching member you can download recital program templates here.
Watch this video to get full instructions of how to use these.
Family Attendance, Posters & Tickets
At the three week mark, I also like to check in with my piano studio families to see how many will be attending.
For my mid-year concert, I have to monitor this very carefully since it’s in my home studio.
For the Spring concert, they can bring as many guests as they like – the more the better! But I do need to have an idea of the number of chairs to put out. I don’t want there to be a bunch of empty seats. (This doesn’t look great in photos.)
If you’re going to be selling tickets you’ll want to move this item back on your checklist.
Whether you’re selling tickets or not, it’s a good idea to put up a poster in your studio to advertise the event and get people excited about it. Vibrant Music Teaching members can find editable poster templates here.
Week of the Piano Recital
Woohoo, it’s the week of your piano studio recital! All the hard work is going to be worth it, I promise. 🙂
It’s a good idea to just call up your venue now and double-triple-quadruple check that your space is reserved. Just in case.
I wait until the latest possible day to print my programs, without cutting it too fine.
I like to print mine 3 days before the recital day. This gives me enough time to go refill my ink or buy more card if I need it, but it’s close enough to the day that everything is definitely finalised.
Public speaking is apparently one of the most common phobias.
I’m not quite at phobia level, but I can’t say I revel in it.
If you’re someone who gets very nervous for this part of your recital, I can at least assure you it does get easier. The main thing is to keep it simple.
At the minimum tell them:
- To only step out during applause to avoid distracting performers
- Where the bathrooms are and where the fire exits are
- Any other essentials about running order, etc.
- That you’re excited they’re here and to share music with them!
Don’t feel you have to give some big formal speech (you can if you want to!).
And if you’re very, very nervous about it – try writing out the whole thing. Sure, it’s better to work from bullet points and sound more natural. But this is not a test of your public speaking skills and the parents in your studio will not mind.
Set Up a Playlist
Having some kid friendly music playing as your students arrive and get settled is a lovely touch and sends the message that this day is for them.
The wonderful Sara Campbell has made this super easy by sharing her Spotify playlist the last couple of years. So we don’t even have to find out the latest cool kids songs and listen to make sure the language is all appropriate. Thank you Sara!
Make a Packing List
Don’t you hate that feeling when you’re on the way to the airport and just convinced that you’ve forgotten something. You spend the whole car journey running through your mental checklist again, and again…and again.
I get that with recitals too. So I like to make a checklist a few days before of everything that needs to be brought with me like:
- Piano benches
- Teacher duet parts
I won’t bore you any more with that list, but you get the idea! Make this list in advance of recital day. It’s worth it for the peace of mind.
Is my piano studio recital checklist complete?
I really hope this is helpful as you get ready for your next recital.
Let me know if I missed anything, or if any of these were a surprise to you, in the comments below.