Recitals are opportunities for our students to demonstrate what they have learned, show their growth in musical understanding and gain poise and confidence. They are also an educational introduction to the concert hall for both students and their families. Through teaching and practice, they learn considerate etiquette for the concert/recital hall.
In order to showcase the best of what our students can do, a solid preparation is essential for the student and their family. Here are some ideas we’ve gleaned from Virginia Buhn, Lea Mirabella and Dorothy Munz:
- Lay a firm foundation of technique and theory.
- Cover a wide selection of repertoire at each level. Include more than what is contained in the method books. There are so many choices of supplemental repertoire to delight and challenge the students.
- Develop concepts of style and expression with each piece. For example, how is the Mier jazz piece different from the Gillock waltz? Do the staccatos in the jazz piece sound the same as in the waltz? Help the student so he/she not only “feels” the expression but can project those feelings/sounds to the audience. Can the student’s dynamic contracts be easily heard from the back row? Compare and contrast with the student. Play and listen.
- Choose repertoire carefully for recitals. The method book is similar to the students’ school reader, i.e., short stories covering educational concepts but not the stuff of book reports and special projects. The grade school student is excited to read those special books for reports. The same should hold for our selection of special pieces for performing at special events.
- Memorization – the key to reliable performance. Memorization should be expected at least three to four weeks ahead of the event. Teachers can drill the various memory spots to make the memory work secure.
- Rehearsals are paramount. Rehearse with the student on how to walk up, adjust the bench, mentally prepare, perform, bow and exit. Rehearse the piece at home with parents, friends, at school, with stuffed animals, etc. Rehearse and enjoy in special playing classes where students can share their special music with each other. These rehearsals can start with the shy student using his/her music, then gradually moving toward full memorization. The primary purpose is to grow and learn how to perform in front of others.
- Studio and OMTA recitals offer a more formal environment where students are encouraged to play to the best of their ability. Suggest that students “dress up” for this special event that showcases what they have accomplished.
- Even with solid preparation, students are human and make mistakes. Even the best prepared student will have off days. With solid preparation, students and teachers are better able to deal with mishaps along the way and continue to take on the challenge of performances and growth.
It is important to be prepared and to be rested.
Dress appropriately, remembering that this recital is a special occasion.
Plan to arrive at least ten minutes early.
Listen attentively to other players, enjoying what each adds to the program.
When it is your turn to perform:
- Approach the piano with confidence, going directly to the instrument. Exceptions:
- If this is a solo recital, stop and bow to acknowledge applause.
- If it is a competition, a nod to the adjudicator might be appropriate.
- Sit down. If you are using music, place it securely on the music rack. Be sure to take time to adjust the bench to your needs. On rare occasions the bench might need to be moved before you sit down.
- Place your hands in your lap and take a deep breath. Listen to one phrase unfold in your mind so you know the tempo and mood you wish to project.
- Place your hands on the keyboard and listen to two measures in your mind, then begin. Play with as much expression and enjoyment as possible as you bring the music to life.
- Hold the last note its full value and bring your hands to your lap. Stand up and with a big smile look at someone in the back row. Make a deep slow bow, then stand erect. Walk to your seat knowing that your performance has given joy to many.
After the recital accept compliments graciously. When possible congratulate other performers.
Please help to make all OMTA recitals and events a pleasant musical occasion for everyone by following these rules of recital etiquette:
- Arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the recital is scheduled to begin. Wait quietly if an earlier recital is still in progress. Do not block exits.
- Absolute quiet is essential during the recital. Talking, whispering, rustling programs and other annoying sounds distract the performers and annoy the audience.
- Do not bring food or drink to the recital. Most churches and recital halls do not allow food or drink.
- Avoid bringing babies and very young children to recitals. They cannot be expected to remain silent for an entire program. If you must bring young children, keep them as quiet as possible and take them out of the recital hall if they become restless or fussy.
- Sit quietly during the recital. Children should remain seated with their parents and no one should be moving around the recital hall during the program
- Plan to stay for the entire recital. It is impolite to leave before the program is over.
- If you must leave the recital briefly, always exit and re-enter during applause, not while someone is performing.
- Do not use any device that could startle performers and annoy the audience. This includes cellular phones, flash cameras and tape recorders. Please silence pagers and cell phones. Do not block the aisles with tripods or move about with video cameras. Photographs may be taken of the students at the piano after the recital is over.
- Support every student with your generous applause, but save cheering, shouting, whistling and stomping for sports events. Such behavior is inappropriate at a music recital.
- Please hold applause until a student has completed the entire performance.
- In the event of emergency or hazardous weather, our executive board or our district president and recital chair reserves the right to cancel or postpone any event. These judgements will always be made with a mind toward the safety of our members and students. Sometimes the judgement will be that each teacher should decide with their students whether or not to participate. Other times the event might be cancelled.
- Trophy points will be awarded to students if an event is cancelled or if students are not able to attend the event because of hazardous driving conditions.
- Cancelled events will not be rescheduled.