Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recital Week: Recital Dress Rehearsal

Tonight is my studio dress rehearsal. This is one of the events over recital week that I look forward to the most. While I do enjoy the actual recital, the dress rehearsal is like a big party and gets everyone excited about the following evening's performance.

We meet at the church so that students get a chance to play on the actual instrument before the recital. The church's fellowship hall is also much more conducive to large gatherings than my parent's home where I used to hold the dress rehearsal and recital in my early days of teaching.

We kick off the rehearsal with dinner in the church fellowship hall. I usually order pizza and ask each family to contribute either a drink/snack/or dessert. This helps break the ice and get everyone a little bit more relaxed before we head upstairs to perform!

At past recitals, I noticed that some of the students didn't pay attention while the other students were performing. To encourage everyone to pay attention a few years' back I started printing the recital program for the dress rehearsal with extra space on the side where students are required to 'take notes' on the recital pieces. This gives them a specific task to focus on as they listen to each piece. It's worked great! I collect the sheets at the end of the rehearsal and before the recital I type up the comments for each student and hand them out when they arrive on Friday. This is a great morale booster as they prepare to perform.

After our recital run-through, we head back downstairs to play some fun games to wind up the evening. In keeping with this terms' practice incentive, we'll be playing some tropically themed games!

What's the purpose of a dress rehearsal? Most importantly, it's a time for the students to try out the instrument prior to the performance as well as get used to playing in a new location. Becoming familiar with the touch of the piano as well as the acoustics of the room are important for a confident performance. In addition to that, I want the dress rehearsal to be like a pep-rally so that the kids leave the event pumped up and excited about performing the following evening.

Do you hold a dress rehearsal? What are your primary goals when planning and holding a dress rehearsal?


  1. I always hold a rehearsal for my spring recital, which is our big one at a venue besides my house. I have all the Tuesday students come at the same time, Wednesday, Thursday, etc... works out well. We go through recital etiquette, preparing to play, bowing and going to the "hot" seat to get ready to play. I have my students all sit together and while one goes up to perform the next one goes to the hot seat to prepare. It works out well and keeps things moving nicely.

    If we have time, then we do silly things (this is optional, not all students want to try but most do) like making "audience" noises that can happen- but hopefully not; (sneezes, cell phone ringing, coughing, baby crying, etc...) while the student is performing to see if they can stay focused. They love doing this.

  2. Jennifer- Thanks so much for sharing your ideas :) I love the idea of a 'hot seat' so that the next student is prepared, I might have to try that out for the next recital.