Piano Recital Etiquette Essentials!
By Maddy Burt
It’s the week that fills every piano student with anticipation and every grandparent and supporter with pride and joy—recital week! And while the students are practicing their hardest to polish and perfect their songs, it’s our responsibility to do some preparation for the recitals as well. Here are a few basics of piano etiquette that we can all review and put into practice this week so that everyone can fully appreciate the effort of the students and enjoy the recitals!
- Arrive early! This one may seem pretty obvious, but lateness is an inconvenience for everyone. When somebody arrives late, it can give the kids additional stress that their family won’t get to hear their songs, or entering late may interrupt somebody’s performance. It’s best for the students’ nerves and focus during their songs (not to mention the noise disturbances for the people videotaping) if everyone is seated five minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Now, if for whatever reason you can’t swing that and end up walking in late (it happens to everyone sometimes), make sure and wait until the song is over before taking your seat.
- Dress appropriately. A simple way to show respect for your student’s dedication and their teacher’s patient coaching is to come dressed as you would for church or a nice occasion. This sends the message to the students that you’re taking it seriously, and it sets the tone for the recital to help them practice for future performance or competition settings.
- Make sure your cell phone is off! This is one of the most cringe-worthy faux pas that everybody has experienced. You don’t want the Taylor Swift ringtone of your neighbor jarringly interrupting your child’s solo as they’re performing, so take a second to make sure that there’s no way your phone will cause problems for anybody else.
- Make sure small children have quiet things to keep them busy. Recitals can be long affairs for a baby or toddler, and even though we’re sure they’ll appreciate the arts too one day, there’s nothing wrong with sitting it out this time or trying to keep them distracted the whole time. At the Utah Piano Conservatory, there’s a wide hallway attached to the recital area, so if you have a little one who needs to walk or run around, feel free to get up in between songs and take them over! You’ll be able to hear the piano perfectly from there. If you have a few little toys or books that don’t make any noise to pull out during particularly difficult times for the kids, that’s a great help too. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”! (Doctrine & Covenants 38:30)
Lastly, take a deep breath and enjoy the recital! Whether this is your first or one of many you’ve attended, it’s always a unique and rewarding experience for the students. Take time to notice something specific you liked and praise the student for it. They’ve worked hard, and we know that you have too, behind the scenes! Thank you for all you’ve done to encourage your children and loved ones to practice, for signing them up to take piano lessons in the first place, and for all your support. This is your moment to enjoy the music and see the amazing progress the kids have made. We’re excited to see you there!