Studio Recitals

Chloe Ross said: Mar 30, 2016
Chloe Ross
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Fremont, CA
8 posts

Hello Everyone!

I am setting up my first studio recital this summer and would love some assistance from others who have run them before. My studio is rather small with around 20 students, and I have already found a wonderful space to use. I am however feeling super overwhelmed with planning all the aspects of running this smoothly.

Any tips are very appreciated, and my biggest struggles right now are;

  1. Is it OK to ask parents to chip in for hall rental/pianist rehearsals/ect?

  2. What is the going rate for an accompanist for rehearsals and performance day? 4-6PM on the day and maybe two other days to rehearse all students.

  3. Advertising within my community, outside of studio families? Yay or Nay?

Thank you all for your tips in advance.

Chloe
Thestudioviolin.com

Holly Blackwelder Carpenter said: Mar 30, 2016
Holly Blackwelder CarpenterInstitute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
College Place, WA
87 posts

Good questions
1) In my studio, they pay the accompanist directly, and I pay for the hall (though I am often able to trade playing at the church for using the space). I like to make sure that from a young age my students respect their accompanist and expect to pay them!
2) going rates vary—but I would recommend a tiered approach, i.e. Books 1-3 pay $20 for rehearsal and performance and Books 4 and above pay $35 for 2 rehearsals and performances. Those rates are probably low for your area, I am in a low cost of living area with no traffic and something is “far away” if it takes 10 minutes, so my accompanist doesn’t ahve to account for that, in addition, she knows the rep forwards and backwards so she isn’t having to do a lot of listening and extra practice for it.
3) I’d wait until you’ve had a few recitals so you can make sure things run smoothly and you and your students have a foolproof way to prepare, this is part of your advertising, so make sure it is smooth before inviting others, would be my advice.

Best of luck to you and your students!

Holly Blackwelder Carpenter
Director, Japan Seattle Suzuki Institute
SAA Board of Directors

Chloe Ross said: Mar 31, 2016
Chloe Ross
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Fremont, CA
8 posts

Hi Holly-

Thank you so much for your response, these are great tips.

I am assuming that the rates you gave are per student?

I attended Japan Seattle Suzuki Institute as a child for many years and loved it. Thanks for running such a wonderful program!

Thanks again,
Chloe

Holly Blackwelder Carpenter said: Mar 31, 2016
Holly Blackwelder CarpenterInstitute Director
SAA Board
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
College Place, WA
87 posts

Yes, per student. And you should come back to Japan Seattle sometime :) Glad it had a positive impact on you!

Holly Blackwelder Carpenter
Director, Japan Seattle Suzuki Institute
SAA Board of Directors

Vanamali Medina said: Mar 31, 2016
Vanamali Medina
Suzuki Association Member
Flute
Minneapolis, MN
4 posts

I have a studio about that size as well. When I do have to rent a space (not recently since the school I teach at allows my home students to join in, which is great), I’ve found some for $50-100 that are more than adequate to hold 50 people. Some music stores have a performing space and, of course, some large churches. If any of your students are wealthy enough to have a large parlor with a piano, that might be a good option too. Either way, I made it clear that the cost for the space would be spread out evenly among the parents, which at $2-5 per person was hardly an issue. If you haven’t made that clear, I’d probably not spring it on them but add it into your policy for next time.

Pianist is also paid for themselves, by the half hour individually and then the rehearsal/performance cost again split evenly. For kids who don’t need more than the 10 minutes of rehearsal time on the day, that latter cost is all there is. For day-of rehearsals, I have the students come in small groups of 2-3 at the same time. That way if someone runs late we don’t get off schedule and they have a small audience to perform for. I have an arrangement with a good pianist friend who’s more than competent enough to play high school repertoire but isn’t doing it for a living and so he charges only $25 per hour. Most professional pianists in my area run $40-60.

I also ask parent to chip in on snacks and drinks for after the recital and send out a sign up list. Total parent investment per recital is thus about $15, plus any other piano rehearsals. I pay for programs myself. I don’t advertise myself as I don’t feel comfortable doing that for the students’ sake however they are welcome and encouraged to invite anyone they would like to be there.

Give it a couple semesters and it won’t feel nearly so overwhelming! Good luck!

Chloe Ross said: Apr 1, 2016
Chloe Ross
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Fremont, CA
8 posts

Thank you both for the great advice! I have a plan in place now, so hopefully will progress smoothly. Fingers crossed!

-Chloe

Lori Bolt said: Apr 1, 2016
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

To help the recital run smoothly, have students sit in designated rows or to the side of the performance area in the order they appear on the program. That way they know who they follow. When finished, they can return to their parents for the remainder. If necessary, you can call up about 5-6 students at a time to the waiting area during the program. Very young students could sit in front with a parent until time to perform.

Lori Bolt

Vicki said: Apr 1, 2016
Vicki Citron
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Colrain, MA
1 posts

I have my recitals in nursing homes or assisted living communities. It’s win-win. The residents usually love hearing the students, and the students have a friendly appreciative audience. Plus, there’s no rental fee.

You’ll need to check out the piano beforehand and prepare the students for what they might see, hear, or smell.

[javascript protected email address]

Rebecca said: Apr 2, 2016
 19 posts

I do the same thing, Vicki! We have a nice assisted living building that offers a beautiful recital hall (decorated for the season), a piano (that they regularly tune), the staff to set up and clean up, and refreshments after the recital, all for free! The residents are always receptive and love it. I also encourage the students to visit with the residents afterward to thank them for coming, and even ask them about their music experience growing up. It is a positive experience for everyone.

My husband is the accompanist so I haven’t charged fees to the students.

Chloe Ross said: Apr 3, 2016
Chloe Ross
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Fremont, CA
8 posts

Thanks Lori, Vicki and Rebecca!

I love the seating idea!

Renee Shaw said: Apr 9, 2016
Renee Shaw
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
19 posts

Here’s my two cents.

  1. I would say yes, appropriate to ask for contributions towards space and accompanist costs. I believe it is good to teach students early on to respect their accompanists.
  2. Accompanist rates are very dependent upon your area. Do you know any trusted and local pianists who can help you nail down a fair rate for your area?
  3. I have never advertised a recital performance to the general public, though I have been sure to encourage my students to bring friends and family. Many students have shared recital posts from Facebook on their own timelines, done personal invitations and the like. There’s a lot of variables and planning for these is enough for me in terms of making sure there is enough food, number of programs printed, having business cards to pass out and so on. The day of the recital is always a stressful thing for me anyways, so I prefer to limit the variables I can.
Alice Painter said: Sep 9, 2016
 Violin
Springwood, NSW, Australia
6 posts

Great answers! I’m in much the same boat, but with even fewer students (11 private students, if they all come). Since I haven’t yet had a studio recital, and I know I will lose at least one regardless of when I hold it, I’m struggling to think of a good time to hold it. What do others do? Do you send out a survey with a few possible dates? or pick a date and just take whoever you can get?

Also, what about rehearsals with a pianist? All my students are book one, so shouldn’t need too much rehearsal time, though I would like to set up a few duets or trios amongst them. Is it better to get students to come early on the day for a rehearsal, or set up a separate time the week before?

So overwhelmed… but hopefully next year will be easier :)

Liana said: Sep 9, 2016
Liana Goldsmith
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
4 posts

Hi Alice,
I, too, have a small studio and I like to join up with another Suzuki colleague to combine our recitals. I have found it is very motivating for my students to see the progress of my colleague’s students. My colleague also has a few students who are more advanced than mine, so that also helps my more advanced students to stay motivated! Needless to say, another perk is that we share the cost which really helps keep the fees reasonable for everyone!

Chloé: I definitely charge a fee to help cover the costs associated with the recital. We have a local Suzuki group and I tend to post my recitals on their page as well as encourage my families to bring whomever they’d like!

Good luck!

Liana Goldsmith

Mengwei said: Sep 9, 2016
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

The availability of the venue is a primary factor in setting a recital date! When my studio was smaller and I was worried about attendance, I’d casually mention the possible dates in lessons way ahead of time and see if there was any resistance. If you formally poll for a date, someone will be upset that you didn’t pick theirs.

As for rehearsals, especially for kids who are not used to playing with accompaniment or harmonies, I’d recommend a separate time. It could be a stressful experience for someone to try it for the first time on the day of and find that something isn’t working right before the performance.

Robin Johnson said: Sep 10, 2016
Robin JohnsonViolin
La Crescenta, CA
14 posts

for recitals for my own students, i would pick three dates that were convenient for me, and then poll my families, asking them to respond to the date they preferred, and to note any date that they could NOT attend because of a prior commitment, and i let them know that i would choose the date where the most could attend. i had them on a sunday late afternoon, as that seemed to be a less busy time for families, and to me it seems like a sunday afternoon is a lovely time for a recital, to listen to beautiful music :). with fewer students, i would have them play 2—3 pieces each, rotating the students, and that would make the recital last a little less than an hour—not too long for little ones. i also had years where another teacher joined in, and that worked well, too. at the end of the recital, i had all of the students get up and play one of the twinkle variation A and twinkle theme together, sometimes with the more advanced kids playing a duet part. it was great fun for the kids and parents alike!

Sera Jane Smolen said: Sep 10, 2016
Sera Jane Smolen
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Ithaca, NY
24 posts

I create a schedule for the year of lessons, classes, projects, concerts and events. All my families get the entire schedule put onto google calendar, and onto their google calendars. This way we all know in August which dates to protect for recitals, etc. My families tell me quite often how much they appreciate this. I have my teaching schedule on my website, so anyone can see the google calendar there. That can help as well if someone would like to trade lesson times with someone else.

When we learn to truly hear the music of children,
we learn to hear the music of the future.
—Michael Deeson Barrow

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