A guest post from my friend Melanie at Plan for Awesome
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Melanie is a piano teacher and has shared some of her tips and printables to help you host a successful Piano Recital.
Once you lock in a date, time, and location for the recital, it is a good idea to make a flyer to hand out to your students. I send home a hard copy flyer, as well as text a graphic of it to all the parents. That way they can forward the graphic on to grandparents, etc.
**I have not provided this as a printable, because it has specific info for a date, time, location, etc.**
The week of the piano recital I cancel all normal lessons and have a Recital Rehearsal instead. I have over 25 students, so I actually have 2 rehearsals (each an hour and a half long), not only to accommodate various schedules but also for the sake of room. I have found that rehearsals are a great way to ease the anxiety of the students (especially the first-timers). An hour and a half may seem like a long time, but it goes quick! Here is an outline of what I cover at the rehearsal.
1. Talk About All The Things!
- How the recital is going to go (I will welcome everyone, etc)
- Where they will be sitting – all students sit in the front, in the chair with their name on it…they do not sit with their families.
- They will play in the order they are seated.
- None of the students will have a program. They will be seated in the order they play, and that’s all they need to know (this eliminates the temptation to play with the programs, make paper airplanes, etc)
- All music goes ON THE FLOOR UNDER THEIR CHAIRS. No one should be holding their music.
- EVERYONE claps for EVERYONE
- EVERYONE is QUIET AND RESPECTFUL for the ENTIRE recital.
- Each student will:
- Get the music from under their chair
- Walk to the front of the piano
- Speak with a loud voice and say:
- How long they’ve been taking piano lessons
- Name of the song they will be playing
- Play their song
- Bow or curtsey
- Go to their seat and put their music back under their chair
- We also talk about what we do if we mess up (and I always let them know I have messed up more times than they can imagine)
2. Practice Bows / Curtseys
At this point, I have everyone stand up and we try different types of bows and curtseys. I have everyone decide which kind they will do, and show me before they sit down. This is a fun way to be silly and loosen up and get some wiggles out before we do our trial run.
3. Trial Run
Then we do a trial run. I seat everyone in order of the program (since I have 2 rehearsals, the students usually aren’t next to the same people they will be next to at the actual recital, but that’s okay). We practice being quiet and respectful while going through the program. Everyone gets a chance to stand up, say their things, play their piece, take a bow or curtsey, and sit down.
4. Recital Checklist
I type up a checklist of things for the students to remember. I hand these to them ON THEIR WAY OUT THE DOOR from the rehearsal so I am sure they remember to take them home with them. The checklist has the things they should say when it is their turn, a reminder of the time, address, what to wear, etc, and a reminder to BRING THEIR MUSIC! I have provided the printable a the bottom of the post.
I have my recitals at our church building. When printing out my signs with arrows, I think of where I will want to put signs to direct people to the correct room, and then figure out how many signs with arrows going each way I’ll need. It’s also not a bad idea to have signs to direct people to the restrooms.
Nametags for Chairs
I type up all the students’ names, print them out on cardstock, cut them out, and tape them to the chairs in the front. By seating the kids in the order of the program, it eliminates the need for them to have programs. I don’t allow the students to have programs because they can be an unwelcome distraction during the recital. I used to just seat the students as they came in, but having their names taped to the chairs takes the pressure off me if I am dealing with other last-minute things.
Designated Picture Chairs
Along with students’ chair nametags, I label two chairs in the front row, “Pictures.” These two chairs are reserved for revolving family members to come up and take pictures/videos when their child is performing. I announce at the beginning of the recital that those two chairs are reserved for that purpose, so parents can make their way to those chairs for their child’s performance and then quickly make their way back to their regular seats when their child is finished (during the clapping and bowing).
I type up a program and have them sitting on a table by the door for people to take when they walk in. I include the date, the names of the students and the names of their songs; short and sweet.
For obvious reasons, it didn’t really make sense to post a program here. I make my programs in Microsoft Word. I like to print them on cardstock and I get 2 to a page. They are very simple and classy. I would be happy to email you the Word Document so you can edit it for yourself if you’d like to comment below!
Note on the Piano
I’m not sure how many students actually see this note, but it makes me feel better to have it on the piano. I condensed what I wanted to say so they could skim it before covering it with their music. Just 3 helpful reminders.
- Slow Down
Reminder of What to Say
I type out a reminder of what the students should say when they stand up before they play their song. It’s certainly not a big deal if they forget to say something, but this helps them focus and not freak out when they’re up there. I just have my husband sit in the front row and he holds this out in front of him so the kids can read it if they need it.
I didn’t think of this the first recital I did. And I totally regretted it. It was really awkward having families come in and just having it be dead silent in the room. It didn’t feel like a big deal when I did them at my house, but when I switched to doing them at my church building, this became a real issue. I have a little portable bluetooth speaker that I LOVE, (affiliate link) and now I bring it and just set up classical music on my phone. However you do it, don’t forget the background music!
I got smart this year and got 2 sheet cakes from Costco. One cake feeds 48 people and is $18.99. You can’t beat that.
I didn’t want to do a sugary punch on top of the cake, so I went with water. I whipped up these water bottle wraps to tape around water bottles. It was great to have drinks done and ready to go the day before. (I even took them to the church and put them in the fridge the day before so they would be cold for the recital)
A Little Something for the Students
I made these tags to attach to a pack of Rolos. Corny, but it was a good excuse to give the kids something for their courage and bravery. **Money-saving tip: I got a box of 36 packs of Rolos for $22 at Smart ‘N Final. That’s $.61/pack. Up by the cash registers, they were $1.29 per pack! They actually didn’t have any boxes of them on their candy aisle, so I asked the cashier if I could take an entire box from the check stands (I combined 2 boxes to make 36), and have her ring me up for a box. The entire box rang up for $22. BUY IN BULK!**
**UPDATE: I made these tags the following year that say, “I’m Bursting with Pride Being Your Teacher” and tied them to a pack of Starburst (again, Smart ‘N Final for the win)!
ALL THE PIANO RECITAL PRINTABLES in PDF FORMAT
Recital Student Checklist– for this one, I left a blank spot for you to write in the address and the time of your recital. If you’d like to subscribe to the blog and comment below, I would be happy to edit this printable for you with the details of your recital and send you a personalized PDF. It will take me just a couple minutes to swap out info, so please don’t hesitate to ask! (Same with the flyer/invitation)
**My Printables are always free! All I ask for is a kind follow on Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest or a share/pin of this post. Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss another free printable like this one! Thank you for your support!**
What things have you found helpful in preparing for a piano recital?