Recital Prep Bootcamp: How To Know If They’re Really Ready

It’s time to whip your piano students into shape – it’s recital season.  And, if it’s too late and you’ve already held your Christmas recital, it’s still the holiday season where your students will be playing for friends and family more often.  Either way, this Recital Prep Bootcamp will get them into shape.  Plus, it’s totally fun.

So – grab a stopwatch and put on your best drill sergeant face.  Are you ready?  Sir, yes sir!

Piano Recital Bootcamp

Recital Prep Bootcamp

This circuit should be completed during lesson time approximately 2-4 weeks prior to your scheduled performance (and repeated as necessary).  It’s a quick and easy way to cover all of your bases, takes some of the nerves away during recital preparation time, and is a silly yet effective way to prepare your students for an upcoming performance.

It’s simple to execute.  Your student begins in a chair across the room (as though they are in the audience).  You bark out the orders in your best army voice and they hop to it as fast as they can.  Time them… kids are motivated by a stop watch!

Piano Recital Circuit Training

(Student is sitting in a chair across the room, you call out each of the directions below)

Ready… begin!

1.  Race from your chair to the piano bench.  Announce your piece title and the composer.

2.  Race back to your chair.  Sing the right hand melody to “la la la” for the first 3 bars.

3.  Race back to the piano bench.  Play the final note or chord of your piece.  Shout out the note your right hand is playing.

4.  Turn backwards on the piano bench.  Clap the rhythm of the first bar of the right hand.

5.  Stand up and give me your most professional bow.

6.  Sit properly on the bench and play me the first 2 lines of your piece with as much dynamics and expression as you can muster.

7.  Return to your chair.  Tell me the first 3 notes your left hand plays.

8.  Race to the piano bench.  Start at the bar I am pointing to and play to the end.

9.  Play the right hand only of the entire piece with your eyes closed.  No peeking!

10.  Stand up and play the left hand of the final 3 bars of the piece while standing.

11.  Give me your most professional bow.

12.  Play through your entire piece while I make rustling, coughing, crinkling and baby crying sounds behind you.

13.  Stand up and announce your piece title and the composer.

14.  Play the first line of your piece, but start one note higher than is written and transpose accordingly.

15.  Play the bar I am pointing to 4 times in a row.

16.  Sit back in your chair.  Tell me the key signature of your piece.

17.  Race to the piano bench.  Play through your piece until I yell STOP!

18.  Stand up, spin in a circle 3 times.  Return to the bench and continue playing from the bar I just stopped you at.

19.  Give me your most professional bow.

20.  Stand up while playing the first two lines of your piece.

STOP!  Record your student’s time.  Can they beat their time next week?  Can they be more accurate? You can bet they won’t forget any of this come recital day! :)

Is your student loving this break from the norm?  We include physical activities like this one in our practice book “Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice”.  You’ll have 88 fun activities to break fee from the same-old same-old right at your fingertips!  Purchase once and print forever with our unlimited copies license.


11 Responses to Recital Prep Bootcamp: How To Know If They’re Really Ready

  1. Carol Ekblad says

    Sounds like fun……….and great prep for a recital! I am wondering — do your students announce their piece(s) and composer before playing during your recitals? If would love feedback on that from you and others. I would like to add that to the mix, but wonder about my young 6 year olds. One of them is quite shy and I have difficulty getting her to answer me sometimes at the lesson. Thanks~

    • says

      Hi Carol – yes I do. I think it’s important experience learning how to speak in front of a group. For my little ones I crouch beside them while they announce their piece, but I do have all of my students announce their name, their piece name and the composer. If you have an uber shy child I’d be tempted to just have her fill in the blanks ie “This is ___ and she would like to play ____ by _____”. Might make it easier for her :)

    • Emily Davidson says

      Hi! Yes, my students announce. Here’s a tip. Put a microphone in their hands and the shyest will clamor to announce!

  2. Tammy says

    My students practice announcing their name, title and composer 3 weeks before the recital. They use a fake plastic microphone pen to practice with (I canibalized the insides of the pen) which I then sandpapered and decoupaged with old sheet music. The fun fake microphone is enough to jolt their mind out of any fear during rehearsal, so when they get to the real thing they’re good to go. This little bit of public speaking is just part of every recital and once they’ve been through it once, they know it’s part of the experience.

  3. Melinda says

    his is a great way to help students feel more confident in their ability to perform their pieces. It’s the little things that can cause problems, and this covers all the little things! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Robbin says

    What a great idea! I plan to do this with all my students, but I am thinking of one in particular who will benefit from it: a very advanced 10-year-old who has terrible performance anxiety. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Irena says

    Hi Andrea – Your suggestions were shared on the FB page, The Art of Piano Pedagogy by Bev Knight. I just finished my lessons with my gr. 6 and gr. 4 boys using the Bootcamp ideas. I asked them to pick 8 random numbers from 1 – 20. Both of them happened to pick #12 on the list – playing with the teacher creating distractions and even mimicking a crying baby. BEST pre-recital lesson EVER. Lots of laughter, but lots of great work. Thank you for helping me see outside the box! Blessings.

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