How often do you do studio recitals? Once a year? For many students, preparing for a performance is the best motivation to keep progressing and get the proper practice polish onto their pieces…but we can’t be running recitals all the time.
If your students need a fresh challenge during your recital off-season, consider one of these piano recital alternatives.
Alternative Performance Occasions
Not all performances have to be at studio recitals. If your students can’t come to your recital or you can’t host one this year, there are plenty of ways they can still play for an audience.
Many cities now have pianos on the street or in train stations and shopping centres that anyone is welcome to play. These can provide a fantastic opportunity for your students to test their skills in public.
If you want to take it a step further you could even organise a “flash mob” style concert where several of your students meet at one of these public pianos and play one after the other. I’ve yet to try this but I think it could be super fun!
Older and more advanced students could look into booking their own gigs. They could play at weddings or parties of family and friends, local nursing homes or hospitals or even open mic nights.
This is definitely more suited to the go-getters or entrepreneurial students in your studio, but it’s a great avenue for those that are interested to start exploring and you can help them to put together their set.
A simpler option is to encourage your students or their parents to organise their own family concerts. This can become a regular tradition where they gather everyone in the house or invite a few members of the extended family over to listen to the latest mastered pieces.
Events like this are simple and low-key performances, but don’t underestimate their importance. Any time your student has to get up in front of others to play, they’re building their confidence and performance skills.
Similarly, your student can organise a long-distance concert for a family or friend who lives far away. If they have someone in their life that they regularly Skype or Facetime with, suggest they make their next call a mini-concert by setting up their device near the piano. Friends and family who normally don’t make it to recitals will be delighted to see them play live!
Pssst…Want more ideas for creative piano recital alternatives? Check out the Recitals section of my Studio Business page.
If you’re looking for something completely different to the standard recital, then recorded performances can be great piano recital alternatives.
This can work especially well for students who suffer from performance anxiety and don’t normally get to enjoy playing for others. When you record you can do as many takes as you need to get it right which can be very comforting.
The best way to get great audio without a big budget is to record directly from a digital piano into an app like Garageband. The app can then use its (pretty decent) sample library to playback the recording and you avoid any issues with distortion and background noise that will happen with microphones.
Of course, if you don’t have a digital piano with midi then you may need to use a microphone and record actual audio.
Depending on how picky you are, you might be perfectly happy with the quality of your phone’s mic or you might want to invest in separate equipment. Just keep in mind that your space is a big factor. You can have the best microphone on the market but if you’re recording in a cavernous empty and hard room – the sound still won’t be great.
Once you have your audio recorded you can start to build up a playlist of your student’s performances. SoundCloud is a great free option for compiling these in a way that’s easy to share.
Pretty much any phone or tablet can record a video of fairly decent quality these days. Simply point and record and upload the video performance to YouTube when you want to share it. Easy.
If you want to up your video game a bit here are some improvements you might like to make:
- Tripod or stand to hold the device still while recording
- Plug-in microphone to improve audio quality
- Video editor such as iMovie or Adobe Rush to add titles and cut more easily
- Camera lighting kit to improve visual quality
- Backdrop to remove distractions in video
- Higher-end video camera to improve visual quality
Those are in a suggested order of upgrades and you’ll notice I’ve put the fancy camera last. It’s the first thing people jump to but it’s usually the least important factor if you already have a relatively new phone!
Have you tried any of these alternatives to piano recitals?
What have you found to be most effective? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below.