Spring Piano Recital – WHY??

Today, I want to repost (in large part) the text from a podcast that I frequent, the Piano Parent Podcast by Shelly Davis.

I know that Spring is a busy time for all of us – sports, graduations, weddings, and end of school events abound – and yet a culminating Spring Piano is important.

First, the WHY:

“I believe one of the best reasons for a recital is simply the enjoyment of music.  We often listen to music passively while driving in the car or working on other projects, so to set aside an hour to give our undivided attention to music is a gift, not only for the student, but also for each audience member.

In addition to celebrating the beauty of music, a formal spring recital is just that – formal.  It provides an opportunity to reinforce all the manners parents want their children to learn and practice as civilized human beings.

  • Sit still and be quiet while others are performing.
  • Give your full attention to something outside yourself.
  • Encourage the efforts of others.
  • Applaud their efforts.
  • Say ‘thank you’ with a bow when the audience compliments you with applause.
  • Put away the cell phone for a while.

The second ‘why’ is for the teacher. A spring recital is a major project for most studios and we teachers take it very seriously. We want to make sure our students are prepared to be showcased at the end of the year or school term. This is also an opportunity for parents to evaluate whether their child’s teacher is able to provide the musical education they want for their child.

The final ‘why’ is for the student.  Preparing for a recital increases their attention to detail.  They work harder to master their piece to be able to perform it as accurately and musically as possible. Students often experience butterflies in their stomach leading up to a public performance.  I believe this is healthy and that it’s good for them to learn how to deal with that feeling of being nervous in this smaller, supportive environment. They will find themselves in many similar situations as they grow up and I am happy to give them tools to not only manage their anxiety but to overcome it and use that heightened awareness to help them succeed. ”

When and where is the recital?

I prefer to hold my Spring Recital on the Thursday following Memorial Day (this year, May 30th). This is usually a good time because it is before exams and the myriad of June end of school events. This also gives you and I some time off of piano lessons during those last couple weeks of school.

I love our recital venue (Brighton Nazarene Church), as the church sanctuary is just the right size, has beautiful acoustics and a lovely instrument.  I really try not to be a piano snob, but I do feel strongly that a piano recital should be conducted on an acoustic piano. (Shelly agrees with me on this, too!) .  I do hope that you agree that the venue fee is worth these perks!

I’m telling you all this to give you a glimpse behind the scenes.  I don’t only prepare students to perform in the spring recital, but I get to work as an event coordinator as well.

Who can come to the recital?

EVERYONE!  The church has a large auditorium  PLEASE invite all of your friends and family.  “The more people students have in their fan club, the more secure they will feel on the stage.”  We usually have plenty of snacks at the reception and the lemonade dispenser will be full that evening!

What should my child wear to the recital?

“Please, parents and students, dress in your “Sunday Best”.  A formal recital deserves more formal, dressy attire.

A word of caution: Students should wear sensible shoes and they should practice once or twice wearing whatever they will wear at the recital. Higher heels or a suit coat could cause unnecessary restrictions of movement at the piano (avoid wearing those, please!. emphasis mine).”

How can I help my child be successful at the Spring Recital?

Parents, you are your child’s biggest cheerleader. Tell them how much you enjoy hearing them play.  Tell them what your favorite part is in their recital piece. Skype or Facetime Grandma and Grandpa – they are excellent sources of encouragement! Create a mini home concert where your student dresses in their recital clothes and performs their piece, including a bow before and after they play. Record them performing their piece; the awareness of a recording simulates the same jitters as the actual recital.”

In addition, most of your students have a “Practice Tracker 100”.  I hope you’ll encourage and ask  your student about the goal to practice their piece 100 times before the recital.  If your student has been playing their piece for months,  their more important goal will be to record their piece WEEKLY until the recital.  Really, everyone should be recording their piece weekly!  I also set additional weekly goals to help your student achieve excellence, such as focusing on tempo, dynamics, pedaling, phrasing, and the like.

“While the spring piano recital is, I’m sure, only one of many events your student has on their calendar, I hope you will agree that is an important one.  I’m looking forward to celebrating your student and their beautiful music at the upcoming recital!”


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