Recitals are exciting events! Performers have an opportunity to share with everyone a glimpse of the hard work they’ve been doing and to feel a real sense of accomplishment. Siblings get the opportunity to cheer on their performing brothers and sisters as well as look up to them and be inspired. Parents have the opportunity to feel a sense of pride in their own hard work and marvel at the talents of their children. Teachers get a chance to see their day-to-day work presented before them and note the measurable improvements in the performances of their students.
There are several things we can do to make recitals run smoothly and also give everyone above the respect they deserve as well as allow them to get from the recital what they hope and expect. Here are a few ideas:
1. Be early. (Recital begins at 6pm? That means all the performers have to be prepped and ready to go by 5:55pm when the audience is allowed in. Twenty minutes early is a good standard to go by.)
2. Dress nicely. This is non-negotiable, and if you need reasons for this one, feel free to ask me in lesson. No sneakers, crocs, sandals, jeans, t-shirts, sweatpants, shorts, or hair in front of performers’ faces.
3. Be courteous. If you have a small child, sit in back or at the aisle. While we absolutely welcome younger siblings to these recitals and strive to teach proper recital behavior by example, sometimes they need a bit of a break and that is FINE! Just step out of the hall during an applause break to keep disturbance down to a minimum.
4. No cell phones. This means in lessons as well. If someone’s cell phone rings in a recital or a lesson, it is a sign of disrespect for the situation.
5. No flash photography. It takes a lot of focus to go out on stage and play from memory. The audience sits just in the peripheral vision of the performer and something as distracting as a flash from a camera can derail an otherwise beautiful performance. Yes, performers should be able to play through anything. But please, don’t make this into an obstacle course. If you’re going to set up video equipment, please do so at the back of the hall to avoid blocking the view of other audience members.
6. Relax! Leave the stress up to me! I’ve got that covered! The performers are prepared. Playing on stage is a beautiful experience. Enjoy hearing how everyone has progressed!
7. All performers are, of course, expected to stay for the entire recital.
8. Stay for a while afterwards. One of the most important parts of performing is learning how to be gracious afterwards. A nice 15 minutes or so of giving and receiving compliments, making eye contact with people of all ages and levels, and taking the time to mingle with a community of like-minded musicians can really make the performing experience a great one.