ABF Recital FAQ and Guidelines

What is the ABF Recital?

The ABF recital is an online recital. Forum members submit a recording of a piece they have been working on to display their current ability. There are two types of ABF recitals: Quarterly recitals (the ABF Quarterlies) and Themed Recitals.

What is the history and background behind the recitals?

The AB forum "Beginner and Beyond" quarterly recitals were the brainstorm of Mr Super-Hunky, who back in 2006 started a thread in which he proposed, "What if we picked a future date that we could all practice a song or two for, and then have kind of a compilation posting of member recordings?"

With the computing help of Bob Muir, the first recital was launched with 32 participants performing pieces in a wide range of styles and expertise, ranging from those who had been playing only a few weeks to those with a decade or more of piano experience.

Few on AB forum could have imagined just how wildly popular the recitals quickly became. A regular quarterly schedule was established, with calls for submissions going out on the first of February, May, August, and November, and the recital itself going live on the 15th.

A major advance was made starting with the 8th recital, when forum member mahlzeit wrote a program that allow people to submit recordings online that would then be normalized and given standardized mp3 tags to facilitate creating playlists or CDs. Another advance occurred with the implementation of various themed recitals that allow specialization in a particular composer's work or genre.

What is the purpose of the ABF recital?

The primary purpose of the recitals is to allow AB forum members to provide a snapshot of where they are in their piano journey at that particular point in time. The goal is not perfection but rather to share with one another our current projects. In other words, the purpose of these recitals is to emulate a real world recital as best we can on an internet forum, NOT to come up with the best studio produced recording. That's what studios and studio musicians do. We are trying to learn how to play piano and eventually get better at playing it.

What is an "Adult Beginner"? Who should participate in the ABF recitals?

Anyone who posts on the Adult Beginners Forum, part of the Piano World forums.

Please read : http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...2/topic/002621/Number/0/site_id/1#import

The term "Adult Beginner" is loosely defined and includes all the following:

  • Adults who are just starting to play the piano.
  • People who may no longer be beginners, but who started playing the piano as adults.
  • People who played the piano in childhood and are coming back to it after a long absence.
  • People who have played the piano since childhood and continue to play for their own enjoyment.

It is therefore key that you state your experience when submitting a piece. Complex pieces played flawlessly could sound intimidating when people are uncertain about the experience of the player.

When are the quarterly recitals held?

Recital dates are always the same: February 15th, May 15th, August 15th and November 15th. [The call for submissions opens on the first of the above months, and you have 2 weeks in which you may upload your submission]

What are the themed recitals?

The themed recitals do have a theme which is usually a composer. Participants in the recital submit a piece by this composer or matching the theme. Themed recitals are not regularly scheduled; they occur when enough people express an interest in holding one and somebody agrees to organize it. Threads are opened well in advance to discuss the themed recital and establish deadlines for submissions.

What kind of feedback do performers receive in the recital? What is the "Discussion Room"?

After the recital goes live, a "Discussion Room" thread is started in which listeners offer their constructive feedback and thoughts about the various pieces. Some people comment individually on all submissions; others comment on a subset; and still others offer general appreciation for the recital as a group. Any of these approaches is acceptable and welcomed.

I just started piano / I'm not very good: Should I participate in the recitals?

If you are fairly new to the piano, please do not be intimidated by some of the talent here in the ABF. We all consider ourselves beginners even though we may have been playing for some time. And, we LOVE to hear recordings from folks new to the keyboard. So even if you’re on your first Alfred’s method book, we would *really* enjoy hearing from you. heart

How can I see/hear past recitals or learn more about them?

If you’re new to the forum and the recitals, we encourage you to browse through a few of the past recitals to see what they’re like. An easy way to find past recitals is to use Sam S.’s extremely helpful recital index, located here:


What are the perks of the ABF recital compared to a live recital?

Our online recital comes with some nice beginner 'perks'. These 'perks' are:

1.) NOT having to perform live.
2.) Having UNLIMITED takes.

Obviously, these built in perks are massive. The more you fear performing live, or not making any mistakes throughout your entire piece in front of others, the larger these two perks become.

What format do I use for my submission?
Is there a file size limit?

Recital submissions must be in MP3 format. The maximum size of the file is 20 MB. We recommend encoding the recording at 192 kbs with a constant bitrate, as that works best with the online streaming player. At that bitrate, a 20 MB file works out to be about 7-9 minutes in length. Your recording will be normalized when placed in the consolidated zip files, but your original link will still be available for those who want it.

How do I go about recording my piece?

If you are new to recording your music, there are several threads in the forum archives that address the ways and means. See the "Important Topics in the AB Forum" thread stickied at the top of the AB forum page. Many of us use digital recorders, such as the Zoom or Tascam, that are relatively inexpensive and quite easy to use. Audacity is an excellent free recording application that can be used in conjunction with a microphone and computer. If you have a digital piano, forum member mahlzeit has created a website with lots of detailed instructions on recording.

Can I submit a video instead of an mp3 file?

Recital recordings must be in mp3 format. However, there is a place on the recital submission template for you to provide a link to a YouTube video if you wish to also include a video of your recording. Many people submit both.

What kind of music is allowed in the recital?

While any and all styles of music (classical, new age, rag, pop/rock, etc.) are welcome, we do ask that it be piano related. You can submit true songs, i.e., where you are singing along to the piano. Some people even submit recordings with multiple backing instruments, e.g., using Band-in-a-box. Again, anything goes as long as the piano is the predominant instrument.

Am I allowed to edit my submission to the ABF recital?

Editing or digital alteration of your performance (other than minor edits such as trimming long silences at the end or beginning of the piece) is counter to the 'live recital' spirit of the AB Forum Recital and is thus strongly discouraged. In any event, any editing should be disclosed in the "additional information" section of the recital submission template.

I've got lots of good recordings on hand. Can I submit more than one piece to the recital?

Only one recording may be submitted per forum member per recital (although that recording may consist of a medley of two or more very short related pieces).

How exactly do I submit my recording to the recital?

Two weeks before the recital goes live, a "Call For Submissions" thread will be posted providing detailed instructions for submitting your recording. In brief, when you have your mp3 file ready, go to:


and follow the instructions there. If you have not participated in past recitals We strongly encourage you to submit your recital piece at least a day in advance in case you run into any problems with using the recital software.

What kind of information accompanies the recordings in the recital?

The recital website uses the following submission template to be filled out along with your attached music file. You may want to have your responses to these fields prepared in advance so all you have to do is cut and paste:

Performer's Name: {forum ID and real name if you’d like}
Where you are located: {optional}
Avatar image link: {optional}
Experience: {Yrs/Mos of piano playing experience}
Link to YouTube or other video: {optional}
Home page link: {optional}
Title of piece/composer:
Source of music: {sheet music, improvised score, play-by-ear, etc}
Instrument used: {Piano make, keyboard model, etc.}
Recording method: {audacity, Zoom, digital to PC, etc.}
Constructive technical feedback wanted: {Yes/No}
Additional Info: {Your thoughts on the piece, what you had for lunch, etc.}

I recorded a better version of my piece after I already submitted my recording. Can I swap it out?

You can submit a new recording of your piece, or revise any of your responses to the "additional information" section, at any time up until the recital deadline. The recital is presented in order of when the submissions were received. If you submit a new recording of your piece, you will be bumped to the bottom of the queue. If you simply make changes to the additional information section (e.g., your thoughts about the piece or links to a video), your place in the queue will remain unchanged.

Are there any other important rules I need to know about?

Just one, but it is one of the most important: By submitting a piece to the recital, you are certifying that it is a recording of your own performance.