Saturday, May 21, 2011

Recital Week: The Recital's Over...Now What?!

Last nights' recital was a wonderful event full of beautiful music and fun memories. I always get a bit nostalgic every recital as I see my students perform and remember where they were last term and how far they've come.

This recital was extra special for several reasons. Three of my students played original compositions as part of the program. In addition to that, we finished the program with an original composition of a different sort. One of my teenage students expressed an interest a few months back in composition using FL Studio, so for the past month we've been working together with the software. We shared one of his compositions to wind up the evening. Finally, we also had a few sibling duets. My sister and I grew up playing duets together, and it's been my joy to be able to work with several sets of siblings in this area and help them learn how to play together.

I received flowers and numerous cards, including this one:

And I have to share this because it's just too cute! Downstairs at the reception, I was approached by one of my beginner students who's had just a few months of lessons. With a slightly worried expression on her face, she came up to me and asked, "Are we going to have more piano lessons?" I assured her that this was not the end and that she would get to continue taking lessons, to which she replied, "Oh good! I want to take more piano lessons." SO ADORABLE!! This was a student who was extremely nervous about performing. Her first question at her first lesson a few months back was, "Do I have to play in the recital?" You wouldn't know it from the fact that she asked to play an additional piece in the recital and walked confidently up to the piano for each performance!

All in all it was a delightful evening! Now here it is the morning after the recital and the big question is...what next?! Rather than ending the term with the recital I prefer to give my final week of lessons after the recital. There's so much hype and build-up to the recital that students sometimes struggle re-focusing after the event and I like to have a final week to wrap-up, re-focus, and get students excited about the summer term.

At our final lesson of the term I have my students fill out a performance evaluation on their recital performance. Then we talk together about what they liked and didn't like about their performance and how we can work on those areas in the future. At this lesson I also distribute surveys for both the students and parents (loosely based on these forms) to fill out giving me feedback on the past term of lessons. For a fun activity, we usually go back and do a 'memory test' by randomly picking pieces from their memory list to see if they really do remember them!

The remainder of the lesson is spent re-focusing the student on repertoire and establishing some goals for the summer (if they plan to take). I have a 'Summer Wish List' sheet to write down any special music they'd like to try and learn over the summer months since we usually take a more relaxed pace and focus on fun music projects.

When do you bring your spring term to a close? Do you make the recital the final event or do you hold lessons afterward? Are there any specific goals you like to accomplish in your final lesson week?


  1. I always have a party the week after the recital. It finishes off our term well.

    I know a teacher that holds parent teacher conferences the last day of lessons for the term. I thought that was a good idea. Parent(s) can come in the beginning of the lesson. If they use the entire lesson time, so be it, if not she finishes whatever remainder time with them.

  2. Parent-teacher conferences would be a good idea. I always have the parents fill out the form, but actually having them come into the lesson with the student and have all three of us converse together would be even better.

    Since we have a dress rehearsal/party combined in the spring and fall I usually opt out of another party after the recital, especially as everyone is so busy this time of year. But I always hold a big party at the end of the summer term- the kids always look forward to it!