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Dec 9, 2023 - 4:14:13 PM
558 posts since 2/10/2020

The local music school in town had their holiday recital today (it's actually still going on because it's now running about two hours late). All ages and all sorts of instruments, but most piano and violins, as you might imagine. My daughter played a violin piece, that's why I was there. My beef? The program had 77 students playing! Some played one song, some two. It was scheduled to run from 12 to 3 (which I already think is way, way too long for a recital), but they were already running an hour late by the time those scheduled to play at 1:30 got to the stage. My daughter was supposed to play at 2, and was finally called to the stage at 3:45. We had to leave immediately after her performance because we were now late for another activity we had planned and missed seeing some of our friend's kids playing.

I know this a minor complaint in today's world, but this music school is run by professionals in the music business. Who schedules a recital, of mostly grade school kids, that lasts for three hours? And by what calculation do you determine that you can squeeze in over 100 songs in three hours? I feel sorry for everyone who attended. There were some families who had to leave before their kids even played. The kids were very well behaved, but were starting to lose their minds after sitting in church pew for three hours (the recital was at the unitarian church).

I've sat through many recitals as a parent of one piano player and one violin player. They are seldom joyous affairs. They always run too long, and the kids don't enjoy it. The only motivation seems to be to practice a lot to avoid embarrassment in front of friends and family. This is not making music fun. There must be a better way.

Dec 9, 2023 - 6:16:33 PM
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3261 posts since 10/22/2007

More like a rite of passage. Closer to a final exam.
In truth, the reason I never sought an instructor, as an adult, to learn piano.

Dec 10, 2023 - 5:37:33 AM
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1111 posts since 7/30/2021

Parent of a viola player and a flute player…we usually enjoyed their recitals…

- there was a piano accompanist
- beginner students played short pieces, in groups
- there was an intermission
- advanced students played after the intermission and it was lovely music
- nice reception afterwards with punch, cookies, etc

Never 100 students though! That sounds like torture!
With that many, I think you have to have separate groups with scheduled times ( can they group by instructor?) or have the understanding that families can just casually come and go depending on playing time…

I hope your daughter got something out of it!

Dec 10, 2023 - 6:37:15 AM
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1349 posts since 3/1/2020

When full-group recitals are scheduled, teachers have to decide between a few options: a group recital, one big recital where everyone plays individually, or several recitals with a few students in each.

The group recitals don’t allow parents to hear their own kids very well but they can work for beginning players who may not feel confident about playing alone yet. This is more of a Suzuki thing—most other programs don’t do it.

The choice between the other two options comes down to timing in a lot of cases. There are advantages and disadvantages to either option. For example, having one long recital puts everyone together and makes it all happen in one day, but if there are a lot of students, it can become an ordeal. If timing issues arise, as in the OP, it can really get out of hand. It’s common for this type of recital for parents to only show up around the time their children will perform and leave afterward. Some parents will stay and listen to everyone, but some will not care to hear anyone else play, especially if they’re only coming to the recital at all out of a sense of duty.

If you do a series of recitals, it makes it a lot easier to handle timing and can make it so that each recital is manageable. However, doing it this way means that attendance will necessarily be lower. Parents will come to hear their own children, but they’re very unlikely to attend the other recitals.

Getting hours off schedule is a major problem for the people doing the programming and everyone else. That’s enough to completely destroy a schedule for a day.

Extra long recitals are hard on audiences, especially if there are children involved. It's hard enough for adults to stay invested after about an hour, and kids can't be expected to have as long an attention span. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 12/10/2023 06:41:19

Dec 10, 2023 - 9:25 AM

doryman

USA

558 posts since 2/10/2020

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

Parent of a viola player and a flute player…we usually enjoyed their recitals…

- there was a piano accompanist
- beginner students played short pieces, in groups
- there was an intermission
- advanced students played after the intermission and it was lovely music
- nice reception afterwards with punch, cookies, etc

Never 100 students though! That sounds like torture!
With that many, I think you have to have separate groups with scheduled times ( can they group by instructor?) or have the understanding that families can just casually come and go depending on playing time…

I hope your daughter got something out of it!


There were 77 students, but some had two songs.  I counted a little over 100 songs on the program. The only thing that my daughter got out of it was that she will never do it again, so that's something, I guess. 

I very much like the idea of beginner students playing in a group.

Edited by - doryman on 12/10/2023 09:26:37

Dec 10, 2023 - 7:22:36 PM
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854 posts since 6/11/2019

Teachers should hold individual recitals of their students in separate halls. If it's a community school of the arts, the recital should be an orchestra or two, for different levels. An hour tops.

I've been involved in both as an assistant, and I can vouch that the kids get a kick out of either. And, to me, it's all about the kids.

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