Groove it Up at Your Recital


Spring is in the air! Piano and voice teachers everywhere are in final preparation mode for their Spring Recitals! Today’s post is all about making recitals special.

I’ll be sharing TWO free resources with you today, so be sure to keep reading!

After listening to an awesome podcast about “Hosting Great Student Recitals,” I decided to shake things up a little bit this spring and do something different.

What was different? Well, we started out with a little “mood music.”


Click to Access on Spotify

As my students walked into the recital hall, I had a fun mix of upbeat music playing in the background. Louis ArmstrongOneRepublic… Bruno Mars…

Why this kind of music? Why not Classical or Baroque?

I could have made a list full of pieces like FΓΌr Elise and Die Forelle, but I wanted something that would put my students at ease and get them into a fun mood. “Pop” music fit the bill just perfectly.

Now I’m sharing that list with you!

If you’re a Spotify user (it’s free) – you can get access to my 2016 Recital Playlist by following this link, or by clicking on the picture above.

Using something else? Here are the screenshots of my recital playlist so you can get some ideas!

(Keep reading… there’s another FREEBIE at the end of my post!)

What other fun things did we do? Every student got a raffle ticket – throughout the recital I pulled numbers and gave away t-shirts and iTunes gift cards. It was SO much fun to watch their faces when their numbers got pulled!

We also did a 50/50 raffle to benefit a local pet rescue center. A representative from the center set up a display table with “pets” (stuffed animals) that you could adopt, and they gave away pinwheels and chocolate paw prints.


That cute little poodle now lives in my studio!

All of these great ideas came from listening to the Full Voice Podcast. Fun stuff, huh? I never would have thought about doing these things… thanks for the inspiration, Nikki!

What did the students and parents think? They loved it. I received lots of positive feedback after our recital this year! I’ll definitely be “bringing the fun” to more recitals in the future.

Here’s another easy way to make your recitals memorable…

Send your students home with a fancy certificate! These are perfect to hand out at the end of the recital when you call all your students back to the stage for a group photo.

(Make sure you put them in order so you call them up in the order that they are seated. I speak from past “experience.”)


Click to Download the FREE Editable Recital Certificate

FREEBIE: Here’s a little certificate I made up last year… I’ve created an editable PDF where you can input the name of your studio/recital, the teacher’s name, student’s name, and date.

These print two-per-page, helping you save on ink AND paper costs!

This editable PDF will save you SO much time writing them out by hand. Make sure you have the Lucida Calligraphy font installed. (This comes standard on most computers.)

Click HERE to download the editable PDF.

Best of luck to all the teachers out there who have recitals in the upcoming weekends!! I hope your recital is full of FUN!

How do YOU make your recitals fun and memorable? Leave your ideas in the comments below!



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  • by Sue Davis Posted April 26, 2016 4:02 pm

    This spring, I did a recital with the theme “That was then, This is now!” Each student performed 2 pieces. The first was their very first ever recital piece and the second was a current piece. I wanted them to be able to see their progress over the years. Unbeknownst to the students, I had their parents furnish me with a photo of their student taken the year they started piano lessons. As the student was walking up to the stage, their picture came up on the screen. They loved it.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted April 26, 2016 5:02 pm

      Oh my goodness! That is absolutely precious. If I can figure out how to do a slide show next year, I so want to try this! Did you have a helper running the slides?

      • by Sue Davis Posted April 26, 2016 10:37 pm

        My sweet husband was my tech guy. ????

        • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted April 26, 2016 10:55 pm

          Mine too!! They should start a club! πŸ™‚

        • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted April 26, 2016 10:56 pm

          Mine ran sound and pictures πŸ™‚

  • by yayasruru Posted April 26, 2016 5:16 pm

    I have Mini Recitals. 3-6 Students perform at least 5 pieces each for a smaller group of family and friends with lots of good eats and fellowship afterwards. It is very low key and relaxed. More like sharing music than performing. It is short and tolerable compared to if my whole studio performed at once. It may sound crazy to do that many recitals, but I enjoy it and so do my families.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted April 26, 2016 6:49 pm

      That sounds lovely! I’ve heard of quite a few teachers who use this sort of thing!

      • by yayasruru Posted July 2, 2016 7:50 pm


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  • by Denise Thompson Posted April 28, 2016 7:44 am

    Sara, I love your idea of playing music as students come in. I think it would set a fun mood and get the students excited. Could you tell me how you did this, as in what did you use to project the music?
    Denise Thompson

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted April 28, 2016 10:18 am

      Hi Denise! It really was a great way to “set the mood,” and I’d highly recommend giving it a try. My husband runs sound for me, so we used my iPhone and plugged it directly into our sound system and played it from there. You just need to make sure you have the right input jack for a phone. I wish I knew the technical terms, but that’s why I have a “sound guy” πŸ˜‰ I hope that helps!



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    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted May 6, 2016 12:29 am

      Thanks for the link!

  • by Elizabeth Posted April 16, 2017 8:38 pm

    I have around 50 kids and can’t host 2 recitals on different days. Do you have any ideas for how to break up the recital if it’s all on one day? Like have half the kids perform then have a mini reception, then do it all again? With the youngest going first in each set. Maybe offer a super gift raffle to anyone who stays for both?

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted April 17, 2017 10:23 am

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I would highly suggest separating your group into two – put a short reception at the end of the first so that you’ll have time to reset the cookie table, clean up the left over programs and start all over again. Depending on how many pieces each student plays, you’re looking at about 60 minutes for each performance, and then I’d put at least an hour between. Good luck!


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