I've been very busy the last week with the all my "year-end activities" as I'm sure many of you have been. Just this week I had to finishing grading projects and complete grades for the Christian school I teach at, finishing getting ready for our year-end concert at church and complete all the details for the studio recital this Friday. Pheww...I'm ready for a long nap!
Since the recital is so much on my mind as I'm sure it is or has been for many of you, I thought I would share how I get ready. Here's a checklist of sorts...
1. The date - I schedule both my Christmas recital and my spring recital when I set up my studio calendar in August. This means that I have already made arrangements with the church for those dates. By setting them up ahead of time, it also gives parents the ability to plan in advance and mark their own calendars.
2. The facility - This is easy for me, but for some of you this may take a bit more planning. I would strongly suggest that you arrange this as early as possible.
3. The sound system - I would strongly suggest you try to have a sound system available to you. It certainly makes it easier when you can use a microphone rather than trying to talk loud enough to a larger crowd. Since I know how to run our system, I don't usually require a soundman, but if you don't have the ability or you want to also record, you'll need to arrangement for that person.
4. Music Selections- If you want to plan a theme recital you'll want to plan it at least 3 months ahead of time. This will allow you to pick out music for your students and give them plenty of time to master each piece. If you require your students to memorize their music, they will need extra time for this as well. I gradually increase the amount of practice and lesson time to these songs as the recital gets closer. During the last couple of weeks, we mainly devote the entire time to just recital pieces. It's important that each of them have the best experience possible when they perform.
5. The Program - I always print up a program for my recitals. I have them almost complete about 2 weeks before the program and then use as a guide during the last couple of weeks of lessons. There always seems to be last minute changes, so I'm glad to have one to use to make those changes quickly during a lesson. For example, I found out that a parent of one of my student would be slightly late to a recital. I was able to quickly move the student further down in the program so that the parent would be sure to see their child play.
6. Awards - My spring recitals are also award nights. This is the time I award students for their hard work all year. This year I'm giving out awards for completing the incentive program, practice awards, composition awards, improvisation awards, Note ID awards and technique awards. I also have an award for my 4 year old - the "fun"damental award to honor her hard work learning the basics through games and activities. Depending upon what you choose to do, you may need some lead time to order trophies or to print out certificates. This year I will be giving out trophies, certificates and ribbons.
7. Reception - I always have a reception after the recital which gives both the parents and my students an opportunity to get better acquainted. My parents all bring a treat to share and I provide drinks and paper goods. I also have a wonderful friend who helps me decorate, makes the coffee and punch and helps out wherever she can. I also have some wonderful parents who could easily fill this role although, because my friend attends church with me, she knows where to find anything/everything we need!
8. Photography - This is always a great thing! If you have someone who can take pictures for you, make use of them! In fact, consider a professional. You may even be able to get a photographer as a way to build their business. They take pictures and offer them to parents. You provide a service and the photographer gains some customers.
9. Guest Artists - As musicians, we know lots of other musicians. Invite one to perform at your recital! This year I have a friend who will be playing bassoon and I will accompany her. It's a great way to show your students the results of hard work, but it's also a way to share other talents and instruments with your students.
10. Encourage your students - Recitals can be scary and we can all relate! Spend lots of time in the weeks before encouraging your students and making sure they are solid on their music. In fact, help them to have fun with the entire process. We practice what to do several times leading up to the night - both in silly ways and serious ways. On the night of the rehearsal, I usually take them all to another area of the church and do a silly, fun activity with them to try and help calm their nerves. They also know that I'll be right there if they need help during a performance. After the recital, I'm also quick to let each of them know how very proud of them I am - regardless of how it went.
I really excited for our spring recital!