What to Say at Studio Recitals

Today’s post is in answer to a question I received from a reader via email:

I am giving my first ever piano recital this Sunday and I am unsure what I should say to parents at the recital.  Besides welcoming them, what sorts of messages are good? Thanks!

Personally, I don’t feel the need to give a long speech at piano recitals.  After all, the members of the audience — mostly parents and grandparents — are there to hear the kids play, not to hear you give an long, eloquent speech.  =)  Just keep it short and sweet, something like this:

“Hello everyone!  As many of you may know, my name is ___, and I’d like to welcome you to this year’s Spring Piano Recital!  This is the first year we’ve held a studio recital, and I am so pleased to have you all join us today.  I know the students are all very excited to play their pieces that they’ve been working so hard on.  Just a few brief announcements, and then we’ll get started.  First of all: did everyone recieve a recital program who would like one? [pass out a couple more if needed]  Secondly, immediately following the recital, we will take some time to take group photo of all the students.  You are welcome to take pictures during the recital as well, but please turn off the flash on your camera.  Thirdly — after the time for photos, please wander over to the fellowship room where there are punch and refreshments for you all to enjoy.  Alright, without further ado, we’ll get started with the recital, beginning with student’s name playing student’s piece.”  [start the applause]

If you get nervous talking in front of groups of people, make yourself a notecard with a short list of things to remember to say.  It could look something like this:

  • Hello and welcome; introduce myself
  • Announcements: 1) Did everyone get a recital program who would like one?
  • 2) After recital, photo time.
  • 3) After photo time, refreshments.
  • Welcome first student to play; start applause.

After all the students play, you can stand up once more if you desire, and say something like:

“That concludes our recital for this evening.  I’d like to say thank you to all the parents and grandparents here today for helping and supporting the students all year long with their practicing and for taking them to lessons.  We couldn’t have done it without you.  And students, you did a wonderful job tonight.  Let’s give all the students one more round of applause.  [applause]  Thank you all for coming!  Now we will have a time for photos and refreshments.”

I hope this is helpful to some of you, and I hope you all have (or have had) successful piano recitals this spring!

Photo credit: gordontarpley | CC 2.0

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34 thoughts on “What to Say at Studio Recitals”

  1. This can be a slightly intimidating thing as a young teacher. I remember when I started teaching in high school I was never really sure what to say!

    I have a dear former teacher who always knows exactly what to say at a recital. She is the cutest lady and is always so inspiring in her comments! I hope to someday be able to do that as well. She actually would not have a printed program, but would stand up between each student to introduce them, saying, “Next may we hear from so-and-so?” Or something like, “”Let’s start out with a bang!! May we please hear from so-and-so?” She often adds little commentary, telling the audience about the great things her students have accomplished and are involved in. In fact, when I would attend the recitals of my younger siblings after I had left her to study piano in college, she would often say things like, “This family is very musical! Not only do I teach Liz and Abby, but their older sister Jenny is a former student of mine who is now a piano major at BYU!” She always knows how to make everyone feel good 🙂 At the end she always has some closing remarks, and most often she says something that I absolutely love. After every recital or performance, she says to her students, “Be happy!! You worked so hard and did the best you could, you should be so proud of yourself!”

  2. Right on, Jenny! I used to back out of the way and have each student introduce him/herself, and announce what they will play. However, this I found turned into a public speaking thing and the students hated it! A couple of students came to me and said they love to play the piano at the recitals, but many would not want to come because of the speaking bit. So … I decided that I, the teacher, would introduce each student as they came to the paino. As they adjust the bench, try out the pedals, etc., I give a couple of fun and interesting tidbits about the student, and announce their piece/pieces. In this way, speaking, for them, is optional. Occasionally, a student will make a dedication or say something I left out about the selection, but most simply smile and play, and it’s wonderful. The parents have voted this format is the best, and proves to be very affirming to both the student and his/her family. Just some thoughts. Thank you, Joy, for addressing this subject!

  3. This is great, Norm! I’ve never considered introducing each student at recitals, but I really like this idea! I can see how doing this would be an affirming thing for both the students and the family. Thanks so much for posting!!

  4. I’ve got my Spring Recital coming up this Saturday. Location will be a local “warehouse” church, low ceiling, great seating, like a large living room. Grand piano center stage, with low lighting and great sound. I’m very excited! I’ve 26 students playing, and I think I’ll stick to my format described in an older post. Lots of beginning Suzuki “Twinklers” and many intermediate and advanced students. Outstanding solos will be Inverness, by Susanne Scianni, Primavera, by Ludovico Enaudi, and Sonatina by Kalau. I can’t stand it, I can hardly wait! Love your continuing ideas and encouragement, Joy. Thank you!

  5. If the recital starts at 2:00 p.m., I have students arrive by 1:45 p.m. and use those 15 minutes for group photos. I find it’s easier than at the end of the program.

  6. I like the idea of introducing the student and the piece while they get ready. My students write their own program notes – something brief about the composer and why they chose the piece, what they like about it, what they have learned from the piece, etc. I was hoping to add something informal and a little silly in the program note for each student this year…but I’m having troubles coming up with something. Any ideas? Not necessarily related to their piece…the only idea I had so far was asking each student for their favorite lesson memory of the year. (i.e. sight reading Christmas songs, trying out a new instrument, Cindy spilling her water bottle, etc.). Any suggestions?

    1. This year, I had program notes too. I included a short statement of the students’ hobbies or interests, because I thought it might be fun for the audience to learn something else about the student. Example: Tim loves to play soccer, climb trees, and of course, play piano.

      1. This is exactly what I did to fill in my recital program space! But not this year’s recital. Thanks for contributing your scripts (I’d just created mine this morning, lol!) Great to know there are lot of new teachers (like me) who can benefit from it. : )

  7. Joy, I love, love, love your site and all the ideas you have on there. You are helping me to become a better piano teacher! I am having my first Christmas recital on December 9th and was wondering, how exactly do you go about playing a song yourself for the audience?? Do you do it before you announce about the recital or after the students? How would you recommend going about something like that??

    1. It is up to you if you want to play first or last – there are good reasons for both ways. I would just put it on the program along with your students. If you are playing first, you can welcome everyone for coming and then say something like: “To start things off, I will be playing ___. Then will we continue the order as shown in your program.” If you want to say something about the piece you are playing so the audience understands/appreciates it more, I wouldn’t hesitate to do that too.

      Does that help? 🙂

  8. Yes, thank you. I was wondering what you would suggest because I am just nervous that it will come across as “showing off”, so this helps 🙂 thanks!

    1. You could always say something like, “Sometimes I have had students tell me they don’t get to hear me play very often, so I thought I’d share this piece…” Or, you could explain the reason you like and chose the piece you are going to play. I don’t think your audience will think you are “showing off.” They will just think you want to share some of your favorite music!

  9. Hello Joy. I have been playing piano since I was 9 years old, and I am now 55. I play by ear. I have been playing w/ my family and singing in a gospel singing group since I was 6 years old. My moma died and our family does not sing at gospel singings lately. I play mostly at church and funerals. However, I have a desire to do piano concerts. I have medical issues now and was thinking this would be a good way to help w/ my financial crisis since I am unable to work much at all, as well as a music ministry for GOD. I would not charge an admission only Love offering would be accepted. What I am concerned about is the opening of the concert. Do I just introduce myself and give them the testimony of how I began playing piano? Do I need to have a program to give to the audience, or do I just need to introduce each song before I play? My dad will sing 2 or 3 songs, and play along with me with his guitar when he sings. Should the concert last 1 to 1 1/2 hours? Is it acceptable to play without speaking in between some of the songs? Thanks so much for your advice.

    1. Hello Anne,

      A lot of those things are up to you! I think it is important to have SOME kind of interaction with the audience, as least a program or some introductory words (or both, if you like). Personally, if I were you, I would speak as much as I was comfortable doing. I would talk about my reason for doing the performance, the reason I chose the pieces, and definitely talk about your love for music and your excitement to have your audience members present that day. I wouldn’t speak between every single song, but perhaps between every 2 or 3 (depending on how long the selections are, and what you want your audience to know about the pieces). And yes, most concerts typically last between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. 45 minutes is okay too — attention spans these days aren’t like they used to be. 🙂

      Good luck with your endeavors!


  10. Joy, your insight into recital prep is invaluable! We typically have a yearly “student showcase” (recital) and I am always looking for resources and information that will help us improve. So much of the information on your site has been very helpful. I love the idea of everyone sharing their ideas and experiences, so I am grateful to have found your site. Blessings to you!

  11. Hi Joy,
    I’m wondering if you could give me some speech tips/ideas on what to say to a high school senior student recital.. I have one senior performing this Friday and I have to introduce her for about 30 seconds.


    1. I would welcome everyone for coming, and then probably talk a little about your relationship with the student: Mention how long you have been working together, highlight some of your student’s accomplishes over the years you have known her, talk about why you both chose the pieces on the program, where your student is going to attend college, how you much you will miss teaching her, etc. Hope that helps a little!

  12. Hi Joy, before becoming the piano teacher my students had another teacher and since she got another employment opportunity and was needing somebody to replace her she trusted in my talent and Im now teaching those precious kids. That was actually an answer to prayer because I have been a music / piano teacher since 15 and Im now 37 and for a whole year because of moving I hadn’t had the chance of having my own music studio. The parents seem to be very happy with my work but they barely know me. So my questions are : Do I have to talk about myself during the recital, or should I use the program to write a brief bio about me ? Do I mention their previous teacher at all during the Christmas recital? What kind of words should I use? Im a professional singer as well should I sing a song? I truly appreciate ALL your ideas, inputs and will be using some of them. Thank you for taking your time to read and comment. May the Lord bless you Joy!

    1. Hi Margarita, You don’t HAVE to talk about yourself unless you want to. 😉 But if you would like to verbally introduce yourself, then definitely do so! If you would like them to know more about you but don’t want to talk about yourself, having a written bio in the program is a great idea. I think it is wonderful when teachers perform a piece at the beginning or end of the recital, so I would definitely encourage you to do that. Giving some background for the piece you perform is always a nice touch, too. Best wishes for a successful recital!

  13. Hi

    This year for our end of year Recital I decided to do a theme of “A Night at the Movies” instead of a Christmas theme as I have a lot of different ethnic groups/religions and last year ( my first Piano recital) we did a Christmas recital and I didn’t think it was appropriate (although it was fine)
    So each pupil has chosen a film, and learned a new piece in half a term. They are really enthusiastic and we have a fantastic range of Pieces. I am playing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen.
    We are finishing with ” I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” which everyone is singing for the Finale. They will all pull a party popper and we have a few balloon confetti to burst to go out with a bang!!
    I will definitely choose a theme again next year!

  14. There are some great ideas here! I’ve been teaching flute & piano for 31 years and in the beginning I was mortified to speak to the audience. I’ve become much more comfortable over time but I still write down everything I’m going to say. I stand behind a podium and glance at my notes as I go. I never just stare at the words on the paper but try to connect with the people by looking at them some when I talk. I have a short welcome introduction but something I started doing a long time ago has stuck and the audience really seems to enjoy it. About a month before recital I send a paper home with all students asking for the following: Your hobbies, any awards or special honor this school year, where you went on vacation this year or a great place you visited and what you thought about it, fun or funny moments you’d like to mention. They turn this paper in a week or 2 before recital. If I need to I will chop it down a bit because I don’t want it to be lengthy. During recital, I call the student to their instrument and as they are walking up and preparing I tell the audience these things about this student. 1) It takes the eyes off the student and does away with the “hearing a pin drop while I walk up to the stage” moment, which can be terrifying to a child and 2) It engages the audience and helps them to feel like they know the student better, therefore making hearing the student play more interesting because they feel like they know them more than just a random person playing. If I do a Christmas recital I usually look up some funny, clean Christmas jokes or Christmas movie trivia and I ask those in between. The audience enjoys laughing a little here and there… wakes them up a bit. Ha!
    I hope this was helpful to someone! Best wishes to all!

  15. Hi, Joy,

    You’re great! Thank you very much for sharing! What you wrote is my speech on my recitals for my students.

  16. What a great list! Excellent! I’ve been teaching for 33 years (yikes! Ha!) and love every minute of it. I’ve probably had around 50 recitals. The info given here is fantastic. Something I do at my recitals is gather a list from the parents ahead of time which includes the students other hobbies, school or band accomplishments, school trips, pets and their names, funny moments, other activities. I read this while that student is coming up to perform. This helps in two ways: 1- it gives time for the student to comfortably get to their instrument and get settled without “hearing the crickets outside”. 2- it also helps the audience to connect on some level with each student so it’s not “just another student performing. Tick tock.. When is it my child’s turn?”. I’ve been told frequently that parents really enjoy the extra info. Keep it fairly brief. Sometimes I have to cut some words down a bit but other times I have to ask the parents for a bit more info. I’ll give them ideas.
    I do charge each student a $10 recital fee. This is to cover their trophy, which gives them a little momento of every recital. It includes their name and says “{date} Spring Recital”

    Happy recitals!
    Michelle C.

    1. Oops!! I see I already posted that last year. I’m sorry!! Ha! Please remove one of them. ?

    2. I love this idea for introducing the students. I also present participation trophies at the end. The students love collecting them! I am giving away two plaques this year for graduating seniors that have been with me since Elementary school. I rarely have students that stay with me all the way until they leave for college (too much competition with sports!), so this is exciting.


  17. This was super super helpful!! I’m putting on my first ever recital for my students in 2 days!! I really didn’t want to have to give a big speech, this outline is so helpful!! Thank you so much!!

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