This week I am planning our first recital of the school year, and I thought it would be helpful to write a how-to on recitals. I remember when I first started teaching, I had no idea what to do. If you are seasoned in this department, please chime in and help out the new music teachers.
First, you need to have enough students. 8 is a good minimum. If you don’t have that many, you could always team up with another teacher and host a joint recital. Some teachers are willing to host private recitals for one individual student, which is usually hosted in the student’s home. Personally, I don’t have time for this. I think it’s best to set a recital date at least 2-3 months in advance, and expect your students to plan to be there on that date. Do you require all of your students to perform? That is debatable. I would love to hear what other teachers say. Sometimes I think I should, but the truth is I don’t. I usually let a new student skip one or two recitals before I begin pushing. Skipping one recital is understandable if you are new, but after that, I think the kids need to learn about developing courage. I feel strongly that performing is part of the learning process and students need to perform. I imagine myself getting tougher and tougher on this as I gain more experience. What is your opinion?
After you set a date, you need a place to host the performance. If you attend a church, that is the first place you should go. Usually they will let their members use the facility without charge. If you do not have a religious center, you may try community centers or piano stores (which usually have recital rooms). It is common to charge a recital fee to cover your time and expenses, so if your hosting place charges a fee, just factor this into your fee. But usually with enough imagination and push, you can find a free place. I host all of mine at a retirement home. Free entertainment for them and free facility for me. It’s a Win-Win. Book the room and confirm a week before the performance. Ask about chair set up and microphones. Some places will not have a PA so you need to find out about that, if you need amplification at all.
It can be really nice to offer a recording of the recital, but you have enough to worry about, so give the job to someone else. I have a relative who is very talented at filming and editing. I give her the responsibility and she keeps all of the profits. I don’t even worry about it. We offer a lower fee for pre-orders and at the recital, she is in charge of filling out the order forms and taking the orders. Again, I leave that job to her. Parents are happy and I don’t have to worry about a thing.
Make a simple program in Word. I use a template and I put a nice music-themed picture on the front. It doesn’t have to be crazy. Just something with the student’s name on it (and your contact information on the back . Have a student or a student’s sibling pass them out.
Have your students arrive 30 minutes early and have a waiting area for them. This is important. Some students are chronically late, and this will ensure that you start on time. And be sure to start on time! I have a zero tolerance policy for late comers. We start without them. That 30 minute window is plenty of time for arrival. Everybody wants to leave on time and that can only happen if everyone is punctual. Also, make sure to tell your students that they are required to stay for the whole performance. This should be expected, but you would be surprised…
Depending on how many students you have, they should perform 2-3 songs.
POST PERFORMANCE TREATS AND PHOTOS
Ask parents to bring a treat to share afterward. Make time for pictures with all the students. Right after the recital, have all the kids stand with you and let the parents snap photos. Share some treats and tell the kids how proud you are and listen to the parents praise your good work.
Good luck with your recital planning! It is sure to be of great reward for both your student’s progress and your business!