Recital length

Jennifer Taylor said: Oct 7, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
Durham, NC
10 posts

What is the best length for a recital? My studio recitals are usually an hour or less, but this year I have more students involved and some students are in book 5 with longer pieces. I also have one pre-T student and several beginners (about 21 students total). Is over an hour (maybe up to an hour and a half) too long for a recital? Do you ever tell families with young children that it is OK to step out for a bit and come back when they are able to sit? I’d like to have a recital with everyone so that we can all have a potluck dinner together afterwards. Any suggestions?
Jennifer, violin teacher in NC

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 8, 2014
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I personally feel that over an hour is too long for the very youngest students to sit quietly.

Robin Johnson said: Oct 8, 2014
Robin JohnsonViolin
La Crescenta, CA
14 posts

believe me, from more experiences than I care to remember with our workshop, 21 students on one recital IS WAY TOO LONG!!! even a twinkler takes a while to get on stage, get situated, etc. etc., so even if their actual piece isn’t very long, the entire process can take a while. so a recital that you think will “only” take “maybe an hour and a half” will drag into two hours and it becomes just too much for everyone. better to have two shorter recitals that everyone can fully enjoy than one “oh-my-gosh-how-much-longer-is-this-going-to-last” recital.

if you want everyone to mingle, perhaps have two recitals, putting some of the advanced students onto each one, and brief refreshments (cookies & punch sort of thing) in between the recitals. good luck! robin Johnson, los angeles

Sue Hunt said: Oct 9, 2014
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

I totally agree. Divide and conquer!

Engage students when they are not playing, by asking all of the participants for positive comments after each performance. Everyone loves hearing nice things about themselves, especially if they are specific and honest. Giving honest praise not only makes the giver feel good, but helps everyone to listen with more awareness.

Encourage the performer to stay on stage to have another bow, after receiving all the lovely praise. This puts an end to the perform and run syndrome. You can always have the next performer ready in the wings while this is happening. It does take a little extra time, but as you are cutting down the numbers of performers, it is well worth doing.

Irene Mitchell said: Oct 9, 2014
Irene Mitchell
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Dallas, TX
111 posts

One of my favorite quotes is, “The mind cannot absorb what the backside cannot endure.” -Prince Phillip
I think anything over an hour starts to be audience abuse. :o)
As I am planning the recital(s), I count up the total music minutes and aim for 40-45 minutes per recital. With time for applause in between, the length of each recital will be under an hour. I also have the youngest students play first and then go sit with their parents.
A quote I sometimes put at the bottom of the program is: “Crying babies are like good intentions: both should be carried out immediately”—Brigham Young

At the risk of sounding heretical, I sometimes cut repeats (i.e. repeats of second parts of Handel sonata movements), and tend to not want to program Beethoven Minuet or the new version of Bach Minuet in Bk 3.

Irene Mitchell

Angela said: Oct 9, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
York Springs, PA
33 posts

I think it also depends on how you structure your recitals. I have over the years tried many different ways. I have 30+ kids and even when I had 50+ kids. I had to make it flow without any dead spots. How I run my recitals is I do all solo’s first. I have someone on stage and a person on deck. They follow their program to know when to get on deck. As one goes off, the next comes on and the next one after that is on deck. After all solos then I have all group pieces. I like to do a play down style for several reasons 1. I’m always adding too not taking away , 2. by adding on I cut down on the up and down business. I have half of the kids perform their solo in the spring and the other half in the fall. I mix up all of the playing level and I also group kids together so to speak. If I am playing the duet with the student then I put all of those kids together. If the pianist is playing, all those kids are put together and if a parent is going to accompany their child then they are grouped together.

Since I have 2 mandatory recitals a year, I also have, say, in the spring everyone do solos and in the fall everyone do group pieces.

We always have light refreshments afterwards. My performances now last about hour and half no more than hour 30. I also have the “show” start at 5:30, with refreshments and show we are all done and cleaned up driving out by 8pm. But of course everyone else has gone while I finish cleaning up.

Angela Schlessman

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Oct 14, 2014
Danielle Gomez Kravitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
59 posts

We have two recitals on the same day in our program. It used to be one but the school grew too large. When we were approaching the 2 hour mark the parents started to complain. Now with two recitals (plus more students) each recital clocks in at about an hour and fifteen minutes. No complaints so far about the length.

It should be noted that we have our recitals down to a streamlined system. There’s almost no dead time between performers so the entire event feels well-paced.

I think it’s a decent length of time. Considering that most children’s movies these days (Frozen, Tangled, Despicable Me, etc…) are longer than this it’s not unreasonable. We do make an announcement at the beginning, however, that if the young ones are starting to get squirmy they are welcome to go outside and run around.

Jennifer Taylor said: Oct 15, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
Durham, NC
10 posts

Thanks for all the advice!

One more question— is there a place that lists the exact lengths of all the Suzuki pieces? I’m hoping to avoid sitting down and timing them myself.

Alice Wright said: Oct 15, 2014
Alice Wright
Suzuki Association Member
Anchorage, AK
11 posts

I really don ‘t know. Sorry. It might say on the CD. It depends how fast u play, of course.

Sent from my iPhone

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