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#1275170 - 09/25/09 08:26 PM For those with large teaching studios...
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
I have almost 40 students, and I'm stressing out about our winter recital. Usually each student plays 2-3 pieces at this recital, including one Christmas piece. But if I do that with almost 40 students, the recital is going to be 3 hours long.

How do you organize your recitals with a large teaching studio? I was thinking of having one big recital with an intermission in the middle, doing all the young beginners in the first half and the older students in the second half. That way people could come at intermission instead of having to stay for the whole thing. I really do not want to have 2 separate winter recitals. It's all I can do to get the one situated LOL.

How many pieces do your students usually play at recital? AND - do you spread that student's pieces out during the recital, or have each student play their 2-3 pieces at one sitting?
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)

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#1275188 - 09/25/09 08:52 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: PianoKitty]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I've found the most successful recitals last no more than 45 minutes to an hour. I never put the students in order of advancement. The program is too boring and predictable that way.

Instead, I choose the order by the pieces themselves. What pieces might make a nice grouping? Vary the mood, tempo, and difficulty of the pieces. Always choose the strongest students to both open and close the program. Not everyone has to play the same number of pieces. Some play 1, some play 2, maybe one or two play 3, but certainly not everyone.

This means you will have to have more than one recital. Believe me, it is not more work, it is less. It's so much less stressful! The audience and the students will enjoy it more, too. Schedule one say, for 1:00, then another at 2:30. That gives you a little breathing room in between, time to clear out the recital hall. If you want to have snacks, simply have them in the break between the recitals, but DO make it separate recitals. I don't bother with snacks. That just causes more stress than I want with figuring out how much to have, getting the snacks or preparing them, serving them, cleaning up after them. It's not worth it to me.

I usually have my recitals on either side of noon. That way, families go out for lunch to celebrate or come with their stomaches already full.
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

#1275189 - 09/25/09 08:55 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: PianoKitty]
DoReMi Katie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Illinois
Wow - your students have played 2-3 pieces in past recitals? That seems a lot for kids to handle. What's the average age/ability of your students? I usually have about 25 students who are very young and their pieces last approximately 20 seconds each, and I often encourage them to play an additional piece. But as they get older, and I have a handful of early intermediate students, the pieces always get longer. Often it's impractical for students to work on more than one piece, especially if it's a bigger challenging one.
In my last several recitals I've had about 35-40 performers and because most of them were beginners I've been able to keep it at bout 60-70 minutes with no intermission. We typically have a reception full of treats at the end. There'd be no way to try to stick with that time limit as they progress. For the upcoming recital many of them are doing a solo piece, and then a carol or seasonal piece, or a duet with another student. There are always those who thrive on recitals and beg to play 3 pieces but I have to be firm for everyone else's sake at the recital.
I try to mix up the order of the recital and not clump the beginners at the front. Most people pay attention better during the first half of the program, and I usually put several strong performers (beginner or experienced) at the front and end. At times I've done all the Christmas selections during one half of the program, but it would be a lot faster to have each student play their multiple pieces at a time instead of coming up 2-3 times during the program.
In order to keep the flow of the recital I tell the performers to sit in the front row so they can quickly walk up the stage and take their bow. That's been a big time-saver. I think it's very, very important for the beginners to experience older, more advanced students perform. For that reason I don't separate them for recitals. I want them to mark down which pieces from the program they wish to play someday. It helps with their active listening skill.
ok, i've rambled on enough now.
Have fun preparing for the recital. It's probably one of my favorite aspects of teaching. =)
Full-time, independent piano instructor; church musician
MTNA, ISMTA, working towards NCTM!

#1275220 - 09/25/09 09:39 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: DoReMi Katie]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
PK, Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow!

That translates to: "Divide your students into two groups, and host two recitals with about a 20 min break in between, to get the first group out before the second group shows up."
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

#1275246 - 09/25/09 10:17 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10780
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
That was a bit catty, John ... grin

Perhaps PK could assign everyone a piece by Felis Mendelssohn.
Oh, BTW, I think the idea of splitting the recital into two groups is the way to go. Just don't put the .... lion's share ... of the good students in either group.

#1275272 - 09/25/09 11:16 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: Piano*Dad]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
When I had a bigger studio then the past few years, I did one recital that would take us 2 hours to get through Everyone was invited for 2:OO PM with audience going in to sit in the church and the kids gathering with me in a side room for a 10 minute prep talk and reminders and then walking in a line to sit in the seats up front near the piano in the church - a designated reserved area.

My students have always had a minimum of 2 pieces to play and frequently more if they had been doing really good work beforehand. I always work toward a theme/title of the program and separate music by categories. I start and end with accomplished musicians intermediate level and advancing almost always to get the audience expecting a good recital.

At the end there are certificates and handshakes with students and a final bow. Then off to the social hall for refreshments which I usually have provided and set up. At Christmas Recitals a cookie exchange was normal with me providing shirt size Christmas boxes for the students to take home. Often grandparents would get in on the act as a thank you for coming. There were usually some cookies left over for me to take home too. So many cookies! So many glasses of punch!

The long term families were used to this. Sometimes we needed a brief 5-10 minute intermission. I also have a rule that you come for the entire recital as everyone is deserving of a wonderful audience. If you can't make the event I need lots of notice.

The worst sin to me is the student does not show who is listed on a recital program. It happens once. It does not happen again. I will give students the option if they have another important engagement for that day but I need to know before I print that program. At our chapter nothing was more annoying to me than the announcements before recital to remove the many kids who were not there that day from the program. It made it difficult for everyone to follow the program when several were absent leaving gaps in the agenda. So I take this very seriously and try to avoid it from happening in the first place.

Hope this helps someone with their planning.

I think for the most part our recitals have felt like special occasions to the group not just some where to be and play quickly and then go. At least that is my intention of create a "happening" and "celebration"!

so many people do recommend 45 minutes, but I paid enough for the recital and refreshments and printed program that I really felt I should be able do it "my way"!


#1275279 - 09/25/09 11:29 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: Betty Patnude]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15407
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
That is a long time, even for a concert of professional quality, let alone students (who may do very well, mind you, but families are their to hear their own little darling play, and not necessarily someone else's). I got too stressed out for my Spring recital last year and decided I was going to have the students play one of their WMTA auditions pieces for the recital in November, and then again for the Feb. recital (no more late May recitals). It's the music we're working on already for auditions so the performance experience will help with that, my kids are too busy to learn extra music for a recital, and it's a lot less stress for me.

One piece each, too. I have had a request from my adult students to have an adult recital, so I will separate out the Feb. recital for them, which should help cut down on the length of the younger student recital.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#1275452 - 09/26/09 08:35 AM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: Morodiene]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I don't have that many now, but when I did I held 2 recitals. I had them on a weeknight and on a Saturday afternoon. I asked parents to choose which would work out best for them, and it always came out pretty close to even! That's just too many kids to have at one time (IMHO)

They always play 2-3 songs apiece too. They play all their pieces in a row, too much time is wasted with them coming and going between each piece (move the bench, set up the music, etc...). Also, once they get started, they tend to relax and be less nervous. I wouldn't have to have to make them start over that many times. Too much room for error with the wrong piece too. Also since I have all the kids talk, there would be a lot of walking around instead of playing the piano.
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

#1275470 - 09/26/09 09:22 AM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: PianoKitty]
GardeningPianolady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/06
Posts: 26
Depending on the season, I split the recitals into two or three recitals, and prefer them to be 30-45 minutes in length. Each student performs 2 or 3 pieces, and the recital is usually held one week before a festival or contest to prepare for the event.

Spring recitals are divided into three recitals, as students are usually involved with ensembles or hymn playing as well as performing their solos. I also hold recitals at my studio, which limits the number of students I can have on a recital due to seating requirements.

Students play all their pieces in one sitting, and the audience is requested not to applaud until the student finishes their set of pieces.

Edited by GardeningPianolady (09/26/09 09:24 AM)
FT Private Piano Instructor/Organist/Accompanist
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#1276133 - 09/27/09 01:41 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: GardeningPianolady]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I schedule two or THREE recitals in one day.

I keep recitals to 45 minutes.

I ask intermediate and advanced students to play for all the recitals. It adds to the entertainment for the audience and gives those students more performance opportunities. It is also an honor when a student is asked to play for all the recitals

For each recital, I start with the late elementary/intermediate performances. I have beginners in the middle and end with the strongest students. The recitals starts with a bang and ends with a bang.

I have my recital in the fall. Students play two or three pieces usually the audition pieces they have already learned well.

I find a smaller recital allows for a smaller crowd. With many students it can be challenging finding enough repertoire - especially at the elementary level. I can have two students playing the same piece and schedule them for different recitals.
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1276230 - 09/27/09 05:21 PM Re: For those with large teaching studios... [Re: Mrs.A]
PianoKitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 133
Loc: US
Thank you, everyone, for the advice. I think I am going to have 2 recitals with a 20-minute intermission between. Or maybe even 3 recitals, if the church will let me have the time.

I also have the problem where 3 of my male students wanted to play the Star Wars theme song LOL (all 3 at different levels/different arrangements), so I need to split them up.
Private Piano Instructor
Member, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)


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