Female student playing piano during engaging piano recital

Piano recitals, especially for younger students, often have a reputation of being a little blasé. However, with the right preparation and innovation, a piano recital can be a captivating, elevated experience for its attendees.

10 Tips for a More Engaging Piano Recital

In the article below, we offer 10 tips for planning and presenting a piano recital that is exciting and engaging for students and attendees alike.

1. Choose the Right Venue

One of the most important decisions in planning an engaging piano recital is to choose the appropriate venue. You’ll want a place that has a stage and seating area, of course, but the most important need is a high-quality instrument with well-designed acoustics. After all, even beginning piano players will benefit from an in-tune, pleasant-toned piano. As an example, many piano stores, such as the Piano Gallery, offer a recital hall with a high-performance piano and stage setting. It is in the piano store’s best interest to provide a positive performance experience as it brings traffic into the store and offers an opportunity to present the quality and expertise within their showroom.

2. Diverse Repertoire

While you’re likely educated enough in music that you recognize the nuances of classical piano music, but for some audience members, too many songs in the same genre can start to sound the same. For a more engaging piano recital, consider including a more diverse repertoire of music. Some piano teachers have students perform one impressive classical piece to show off their technical training, then allow their students to choose a “fun” song that is more representative of the student’s personality or preferences.

3. Theme or Story

It can also be engaging to design a piano recital around a particular theme or story. Common themes include a holiday recital with songs of the season. You may also choose a theme such as the progression of classical music or Broadway through the ages, world music fusion, films and soundtracks, nature-inspired music, and more. Consider adding brief narratives or décor that supports this theme through the recital.

4. Guest Musicians

Your piano recital guests will be pleased to hear their own student perform during the recital, but adding a special guest musician or two can add complexity and excitement to the performance.

5. Interspersed Experience Level

Some piano teachers will choose to have beginning students go first with more advanced piano students going last. However, layering the performance program with different experience levels throughout offer a more engaging performance.

6. Surprise Element

Add an element of surprise partway through your piano recital, such as a piano/vocal performance, a performance that includes a unique instrument, including a backup track or rhythms, or a piano/dance performance.

7. Themed Costumes

Piano recitals are often a time for students to wear their “Sunday best” for a professional-style performance. However, it can also be fun and engaging to ask students to wear a themed costume for the recital. For instance, if you have a themed recital, students can wear a costume that supports the theme. Otherwise, students can wear a costume that best supports their performance piece.

8. Interactive Programs

Many piano teachers will choose a simple printed half-page program for their piano recital, but a little extra effort can make the recital more engaging. Consider a QR code to a simple website with student bios, information about the theme or program, a spotlight on the guest speaker, and even a spotlight on yourself or fellow teachers (get creative and add a video link of one of your own performances!). This can also be a way to strengthen relationships and business by asking recital attendees to be sure to follow your studio on social media, sign up for newsletters, or to sign up as a new student at a discount.

9. Special Gift

It can be fun for students and parents alike for students to receive a small gift as a part of the recital. Instead of a grab-bag or certificate at the end of the recital, consider something unique such as a small potted succulent, gourmet treat, music-related artwork, musical jewelry, or flowers. For extra kudos, give these to the students one-by-one and allow them to stand for a photo for their friends and family in front of the piano with their gift.

10. Live Streaming

Finally, live streaming can be a positive experience for those students with friends or family who were not able to attend. It can also be a great advertising opportunity by sharing the live stream on social media and, later, the video of the live stream on your website and digital newsletter.

Final Thoughts

A recital is not only an opportunity for piano students to show off their progression of skills; it is also an opportunity for piano teachers to present their expertise, strengthen their relationships with existing students and their families, and to provide interest to potential new students. By recognizing the possibilities of an engaging recital, piano teachers can not only improve the impact with their current students, but increase future business as well.

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