Recital is 2nd choice

Sara said: Jun 12, 2009
191 posts

Hi all! I am wondering what to do with students who are taking recitals very lightly. For example, they cancel the week of due to a scouting trip that was scheduled last minute, they show up to recitals in jeans and t-shirts (I do tell them to dress up) and one student told me I schedule recitals far too frequently anyway. (I hold them about every three months, is that too much?)
How can I get student (and parents) to value the whole recital experience? This is getting frustrating as it is a lot of work on my part to make a recital happen.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

said: Jun 12, 2009
 89 posts

One of the things I’ve learned as a [not music, just regular] teacher is “you can’t care more than the student does.” Sometimes you just do your best and let the chips fall where they may.

That being said, when my kids were littler, we were part of a wonderful studio where the teacher scheduled recitals (sometimes at a nursing home, sometimes at the place where lessons were held) every three months and an informal play-in or other whole studio activity (we went to orchestra rehearsals, visited the old instruments at a local museum, learned to dance the minuet, took a fiddling class) at the intermediate 6 week period in between recitals. I’m only now realizing how much work that must have been for her, how little we ever said or did in appreciation, and how beneficial it was for the kids…..sounds like a belated thank you is in order! (Now that my kids are in a more formal setting with limited recital opportunities, I find we really miss that atmosphere.)

Anyway, my thought is that maybe you could mix it up a little—if you have an informal crowd, maybe go for an informal recital, with jeans and t-shirts being ok. And next time, announce it as a “white tie” event, with everyone dressed to the nines. Serve formal hors d’oevres at the reception.

What really worked in our old studio were the post-recital receptions, which were family events, everything from cupcakes to bbq’s to pizza parties to formal dinners. These built social relationships that made everyone want to come to the recital and support their friends.

I bet someone in your studio really appreciates what you’re doing and just isn’t saying anything. Try to focus on that family and ignore the complainer!

Sara said: Jun 20, 2009
191 posts

Thanks for the advice. I guess I want to please everyone and at the same time give students opportunities I feel they need and it’s hard when the extra effort not only goes unappreciated, but grumbled at. But it’s true not everyone is grumbling. I have had comments in the past from other parents that they appreciate the recital opportunities.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 20, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

I find that if I choose something really beautiful or fun—and not too long—to play at my own studio recitals, it makes the parents more appreciative, and look forward to the recitals more, than if only my students play.

Elizabeth Ortiz said: Sep 20, 2009
Elizabeth Ortiz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Cary, IL
14 posts

I hold 4 recitals a year too, but I don’t expect that every student will participate in every recital. If they do two or three a year I’m happy, althoguh many of them do perform in all 4. Part of the reason for so many recitals is to give everyone a chance to perform during the year that wil work in their bussy schedules. For the spring, fall, and winter recitals I expect my students to dress up, and I give out a recital information hand out that includes a section on how to dress and what not to wear. Most of them follow the instructions and I complement them on how professional and nice they look, which I think encourages them. With those who don’t dress propperly I say something at their next lesson. I don’t want to make them nervous or uncomfortable right befor they go on stage by saying something as we are tuning everyone up. The summer recital is outdoors so I tell the students they can dress to be comfortable outside in the summer and wear whatever they like. Some of them show up in shorts and t shirts. But some of them are so used to dressing up for recitals that they do it anyway, even though it’s not required.

Sara said: Sep 30, 2009
191 posts

Thanks everyone for your input! I guess I will need to relax a little in the recital department. It was helpful to read your comments!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

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