Piano Recital 101: Your Must-Know Tips for Recital Preparation

It’s that time of year in the piano world when the biggest buzzword is “recital.” 🤩 Whether you’re hosting your first recital or your 10th, the goal is always this: Make sure that every student has a memorable and enjoyable experience. 🥰 This means that students need to feel comfortable with the piece they’re going to perform!

So, what is the purpose of a recital?

Simply put: A recital gives kids an opportunity to showcase how far they’ve come in learning piano. After practicing for hours and hours, performing at their recital allows them to realize that all of it meant something. I’ve seen it time and time again – it is SUCH a proud moment for them. We teachers watch them work so hard all 👏year 👏long, and then they get to share their talent while their loved ones cheer them on. These kiddos deserved to be celebrated!!

Okay, so we’ve established how wonderful and beneficial recitals are – however, they do take some time and energy when it comes to preparation. But all of that preparation is SO worth it when I see my students’ faces LIGHT UP after their performances. 😇🥹😍 #confidencebooster

Remember, this shouldn’t be stressful. Keep it fun, inviting, and above all – memorable. ♥️

When it comes to preparation, here are the must-knows about recitals ⬇️

Table of Contents

To dress up or to not dress up…

Personally, I give my students the option because I want them to feel comfortable. Whether you choose to ask them to dress up OR give them the choice, just make your expectations known!

PS – I definitely emphasize that this is a special event that they’ve worked hard for and that I (and their parents) would like for them to dress up. But at the end of the day, I am just glad that they show up! 😄

A seat for everyone…

So who is attending?? This is all dependent on where you are hosting the recital and how much space there will be. Parents, siblings, and grandparents are usually invited. If they’d like anyone else to attend, they usually ask in advance so we can make sure there is enough room!
I film the recital every year so that my students can reflect on their performance. I also film on Facebook Live so that those who cannot be in attendance can still tune in. 🙂

Something special…🌹

As a way to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments, I gift my students a single rose with a lollipop attached. Whatever you choose to give them, the most important thing is letting them know you appreciate all the hard work they’ve put into practicing. (The lollipop is especially great for the little ones because they can then enjoy their lollipop for the entire show without getting fidgety. 😉)

Choose a piece to perform…

Practicing is obviously very important when it comes to recital, as I want my students to feel extremely comfortable with the piece they’re going to play! Whenever my students learn a piece, I put it on a playlist for them. When it comes time to choose a song from recital, I let them pick any song off of their playlist! This gives them tons of options and takes the pressure off having to learn one specific piece. 🙌 It could be one that they just mastered, or it could be one of their favorites from the beginning of the year.

Switch it up…

I am always trying to be innovative so that recitals aren’t the exact same year after year. Something I recently started doing is switching up the levels during a recital. A lot of recitals start with beginner players and lead up to the more advanced students. I do this for a couple of reasons:
  1. It boosts the confidence of my beginner players! If they go first, they often correlate this with thinking they suck. 😭 So now I randomly select the order of performances. Plus the little kids then have to stay and listen to the big kids play!
  2. The flow of the recital is fast-paced! Most of the little kids are beginners and so their pieces are around a minute, where the older kids might play for 3 or 4 minutes. Mixing it up keeps it from having all of the short pieces in the beginning and all of the long pieces at the end. Plus, It’s fun to watch a short beginner piece and then a longer, more advanced piece!

Setting the stage…

When it comes to decorating and setting up, you don’t have to break the bank! I usually buy all of my decorations from the dollar store or Amazon. I like to stick with a spring/summer theme since our recital is always in May. However, some teachers have specific themes and may want to align their decorations to match the theme!

I also host a potluck after the recital and everyone brings an appetizer or dessert to share! It’s a fun time to talk to everyone after the recital and give congratulations before summer break!

Introduce performance etiquette…

We want to do our best in preparing our students for being in front of a crowd! In order for the recital to run as smooth as possible, here a few things to go over with your students:

🎶When to bow

🎹When to start playing

🎵How long to wait before exiting the stage

🎤What happens if they make a mistake

👏How to receive applause

🥳Where to go after they finish their performance

Acknowledge each kiddo…

When it comes to programs you can keep it as simple or elaborate as you want! I like to include a photo of each student and a mini bio about them so that the audience could look through the program booklet and find the kid performing. In the past, I have also put together a booklet of all the music being played so if kids see a piece they like, they can add it to their list! There are even lots of recital program templates on Etsy if you don’t have one!

Have fun…

The most important thing – having fun. This is a celebratory event!! It shouldn’t be an added layer of stress. Stay positive and let them know you’re there with them every step of the way. 💓

Teachers, comment below and tell me your favorite tip. AND fill me in on YOUR must-know tips when it comes to recitals!! 🎶