Solo Recital Preparation Checklists Wanted

Amy Stupka & John Dzubay said: Nov 28, 2012
 6 posts

Dear Forum Members,
I am looking for check lists, words of wisdom, etc. to hand out to students as they prepare (some of them for the first time) for a solo recital.
I seem to have lost track of one particular checklist that was very informative (and very funny) that I received at a Summer Institute some years back. I recall that it had a true or false section including silly suggestions such as “run off the stage as quickly as possible” in the case of a missed note:)
Thank you all in advance for helping me with this!
Amy Rae Stupka

Ruth Brons said: Dec 6, 2012
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
West Orange, NJ
150 posts

Amy—I am guessing there is a trend to save trees and abandon hand-out lists.

But I will share the recital-related to-do list that is always in my mind, as a teacher in a program that has recitals at the end of each 14 week semester:

During the first 4 weeks of the semester:
1. Establish to both parent & student that recital prep is part of my studio program.
2. Convey a firm “Save the Date” message.
3. With input from the student, identify target piece & pencil it into the practice book.
4. Confirm that the student in fact has the music for the piece and a recording of it.
5. Teach the piece; some or all of the piece is on the daily practice list.

During the second 4 weeks of the semester:
1. Get the solo into the rotating “Review List”, so it can “digest” a bit while other technical and repertoire material can assume priority.
2. If necessary keep working any isolated solo “tricky bits.”

During the third 4 weeks of the semester:
1. Confirm recital date.
2. Confirm viability of the piece and write in ink in the practice book OR, in rare instances, go to Plan B and write in ink in the practice book.
3. Check notes, rhythms and bowings for accuracy.
4. Make sure student gets experience playing with accompaniment somehow: with me playing piano, with SmartMusic, CD, and/or group class with our accompanist; practice cues.
5. Start polishing piece phrase by phrase, by identifying emotions, imagination story, dynamic plan and techniques that can enhance the listening and performing experience.
6. Increase amount of lesson time devoted to tone development.
7. Divide the piece up into practice chunks to be drill practiced a minimum of one chunk per day: 10 times well, 5 times in a row well, and/or until memorized.

Last two weeks of the semester:
1. Confirm recital date and time and program order.
2. Put student in touch with accompanist for extra rehearsal, if necessary.
3. Review how the recital experience will go, in great detail:
- Location, Location, Location.
- Arrival time, allowing for the traditional pre-recital restroom visit.
- Attire: Make sure performers can actually walk to the stage and play in it! Girls should be careful about earrings and necklaces, decorative buttons on the shoulder and high heels, and boys should not try to play in a jacket and tie for the first time on stage!
- Where to sit: Save the front row for the newbies, PLEASE.
-Flash photography by parents not allowed while player is performing; cell phones off.
- What to bring to the stage, and how to get there quickly.
- Take a bow so welcome applause can stop.
- What directions to speak to the accompanist before starting; how it is the accompanist’s job to make them look good, and review “show must go on” worst case scenario strategies.
- Instrument will be re-tuned before they start.
- How to position themselves on stage.
- How the piece will get started—after a breath!
- How the piece will end
- How to take the ending bow with a smile.
- How to leave the stage.
- Where the nearest ice-cream parlor is and other ways to celebrate great accomplishments.

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