It’s recital season! This means that you’re probably compiling a list of performers and their pieces in preparation for creating the printed program.
Seems easy enough, yes?
In reality, it can turn into hours and hours spent agonizing over which student should play when. The success of your end-of-year recital can come down to how you decide to order your performers; a well-planned event can make for a lovely audience experience; leaving them feeling proud to be associated with your studio.
So, to help you decide how to order your performers in your next recital, today we’re sharing the two most common structures and why you might want to use them.
The Art of Piano Recital Programming
While there isn’t a single right way to arrange a recital, there can be a right way to arrange YOUR recital. Generally, teachers choose from two structures: ordering from beginner to advanced OR mixing levels and ages.
Below we have shared the benefits of each approach so you can make an informed decision about what will work best for your studio. (At the end of the post we’d love for you to chime in on your own recital structure.)
The Case For “Beginner To Advanced”
When ordering performers, some studios begin with the teeny, tiny, beginners and end with the advanced, older students. Here are reasons why you may want to choose this approach:
- It’s easy! Not a lot of thought is required to order your students from beginner to advanced, so if you’re pinched for time, this makes recital program creation a breeze.
- It benefits your young students. Waiting for their turn to play can be difficult for young beginners; they have a shorter attention span than their teenage counterparts and they are more apt to become either distracted or very nervous as time goes by. Placing your young students first on your program gives them the chance to perform when they are fresh and in a good frame of mind.
- It benefits the siblings. Young beginners are more likely to come from families with younger siblings. Having your little students play early on means that parents will able to watch their children’s performances and then duck out with a baby if needed (rather than bouncing a squalling child at the back of the venue while waiting for a performance to begin).
- It ends with a “wow”. Finishing with your more accomplished kids means you can select students who will be playing particularly impressive pieces to finish your event with a WOW!
- It shows progression. Ordering your recital from beginner to advanced gives parents the ability to clearly see the progression their young children will experience. It also gives parents of your teenage students a good dose of nostalgia as they remember their own children moving up through their levels of study.
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The Case For “Mixed”
When ordering performers, some studios choose to mix beginning students with intermediate and advanced students. Here are reasons why you may want to choose this approach:
- It allows for balance: Mixed-order recitals create a well-rounded program with lots of variety in style. You can pair complimentary and contrasting performances to keep your audience interested and engaged throughout the entire event.
- It helps to avoid comparison: If you have older beginners in your studio, they blend in better when they are mixed with intermediate and advanced students (a helpful thing for self-conscious tweens and teens). This structure also allows you to space out your students who may be playing pieces that are similar in style.
- It “keeps ’em in their seats”: If you have issues with audience members leaving early, than a mixed program may be your answer. Mixing ages and levels means that families with young students are less likely to “duck out” early, and families with older students are less likely to arrive fashionably late.
- It gives you freedom: This structure gives you complete freedom to order your performances in any way you choose. This means you can select confident “clutch-performers” to begin your recital and impressive “closers” to end your event.
- It may boost your numbers: While arriving late and leaving early are my “piano recital pet peeves”, if you have a flexible approach, it may boost your number of performers. Students who have other commitments before or after your recital may still be able to attend and perform if you can slot them into the program at a time that works with their schedules.
What’s Your Approach?
We want to hear from you! What approach do you take when planning your recital? Do you order kids from beginner to advanced? Do you mix it up? Or do you do something entirely different? Share in the comments below.