Recitals are celebrations of the semester's music-making process. Below are some frequently asked questions about recitals for students and their parents/guardians. Remember to enjoy the performance—it's not about being perfect, it's about sharing your music with an appreciative community. We look forward to hearing you!


When should we arrive?

Discuss this with your teacher, but each performer should be in the recital space at least 15 minutes before the start of the recital in order to unpack, tune, and/or try the piano.

How long does a recital last?

A typical Community Music School recital lasts less than one hour.

Are accompanying fees included with my Community Music School lessons?

Accompanying fees are not included with your lessons. Some teachers will accompany beginners or may provide a spouse or family member free of charge as a collaborative pianist. In this case, a thank you card is a nice recognition. More accomplished musicians will require the services of a collaborative pianist. You will need to pay the pianist for rehearsal and performance time. Pianists set their own rate of pay; please confirm cost with your collaborator. If a parent or family member will play for a student, be sure to play in a lesson at least two weeks before the recital date.


Other than learning my music, how can I practice for a performance?

Consider performing for your pet or stuffed animal! Practice your piece at a variety of speeds, and give yourself several memory starting spots in a longer piece in case you need to pause and restart. Additionally, you can record your performance in advance to make note of strengths and weaknesses, and you can use visualization to create a positive performance. If you are a pianist, find other pianos—at school, at friends' homes, at a house of worship—to play so that you get used to the feel of a new instrument.

What should the performer wear?

A recital is a celebration of the semester's work. Clothing that is both dressy and comfortable is appropriate. Be sure that shoes do not compromise posture or pedaling. (Consider wearing your recital shoes to a lesson.)

I get nervous waiting my turn to perform. How can I make sure I'm settled before I begin to play?

Practice walking across the room (entering the stage area) as a way of setting the stage for your piece. Project confidence from the moment you begin to walk on stage; practice the speed and character of your walk. If you are a pianist, be sure to take time to adjust the bench and find the correct pedal. For other instruments, know where to point your instruments so that the sound is facing your audience. If you use a stand, be sure you know which direction and how high it should be set. In general, establish a process for your performance, from beginning to end, and practice it several times before the recital itself.

What happens if I make a mistake during my performance?

Don't react! Chances are, most of the audience will not know. Try not to make a face or to stop playing—just keep going!

Do I have to bow?

Yes. Bowing is your way of thanking the audience for their attention and appreciation. Practice bowing so that it is a comfortable part of your performance. Talk with your teacher to determine whether you will bow at the beginning and end of your performance, or just at the end.

It is easier for me to play at home where it is [quiet/busy]. What if the recital hall is not the same?

Create a quiet environment at home to practice performing, but also learn to play with distractions. Learning to focus on one task is an important life skill. Older students may consider driving a car as an analogy: a driver must remain focused on the road while ignoring any potential distractions. Practice performing your piece under a variety of circumstances, and you will be ready for your recital.


May I bring younger siblings or family members?

Yes! If, however, your young one has difficulty remaining still or quiet, feel free to take the child into the adjacent lobby or hallway space. The recital performers and other audience members will appreciate this consideration.

Are we required to stay for the entire recital?

Out of respect for the other performers, who also deserve an audience, it is customary to remain for an entire recital. If, however, the teacher is aware of a family conflict and has put you early on the program, you may leave before the end of the performance. Please sit in the back of the recital space so your exit does not cause a distraction.

When should we clap?

Generally speaking, the audience claps when the performer is completely finished.  It is not necessary to clap after each piece if a performer is playing two or more selections.  If a performer is playing a piece with multiple movements, wait until the end of the performance to applaud.

May I record the performance?

You may record the performance for home use only and only your child due to privacy concerns. Please refrain from putting video on public websites such as YouTube, as that is a violation of copyright law. Please also consider others in the room: for instance, if you plan to record with a video camera or iPad, please sit in or near the back of the room rather than the front. Please do not take flash photography during a performance. Be sure your camera, phone, or other device has its sound turned off for the duration of the recital.