Student Recital Etiquette:

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Student recitals can be tremendously fun and valuable experiences for young pianists.  Unfortunately, they can also be a source of some stress and anxiety if preparations aren't complete and certain practices aren't followed. There are guidelines and rules of behavior all performers and audience members should follow during all recitals or concerts.  Audience members must remember the purpose of their visit to the recital hall—to listen quietly, actively and appreciatively to the music being offered by the performers.

Guidelines for Performers

  • It is recommended that performers wear appropriate attire.  Avoid spaghetti straps, sweat pants, platform shoes, flip-flops, or athletic footwear.  Also, dangling, jingling jewelry can be distracting for both performers and audience.  Of course, no one should feel obligated to spend money for new clothes. The overriding principle should be simply to do the best you can with what you already have on hand, and remember that proper attire shows respect to your audience, as well as to yourself, and what you have accomplished.
  • Remember to practice beforehand in your outfit, shoes included.
  • Once it is your turn, rise quickly and walk up to the stage. Adjust the bench/chair (without presenting your back to the audience), pause and collect your thoughts, and begin when you are ready.
  • Performers are encouraged to bow at the end of the performance to acknowledge the applause of the audience.  They may also bow at the beginning of their performance if suggested by their teacher.  It is a good idea for students to practise bowing beforehand with their teacher.
  • Arrive at the requested time in order to learn where you are to sit and receive any instructions for the performance.
  • Once the recital begins, please listen and be quiet.
  • Respect the other performers. Unnecessary noise from whispering, talking, candy wrappers, etc. during a program is not acceptable. Reading, studying, playing video games, and writing letters during a program are also inappropriate.


Guidelines for Audience Members

  • Recitals are a special occasion and so it is customary to dress nicely.
  • Please arrive a little early in order to find a comfortable place to sit.
  • Make sure all of your invited guests understand the importance of arriving on time.  If they arrive late, it makes it difficult for those performing.
  • Turn off all cell phones and any electronic devices that may produce sound.
  • Once the recital begins, please listen and be quiet. Fussing babies or young children should be taken out to minimize distractions for the performers and other audience members.
  • If you arrive late, please wait to enter between pieces when you hear applause.
  • Please remain seated during the performance.  If for any reason you need to leave, switch seats or re-enter the hall, please do so between performers during applause. 
  • The soloist will bow and your response is to applaud politely!  Whistling, yelling, or other loud methods of congratulations, especially prior to the performance are inappropriate.  The best way to show appreciation for the performance is with thunderous applause, and an occasional "bravo" at the end of an especially great performance.
  • If a composition or suite includes more than one movement, please hold applause until the end of the last movement.
  • Respect the performers. Please refrain from whispering, talking, and rustling programs or candy wrappers during the program. Reading, studying, and writing letters during a program are also inappropriate.
  • Families are encouraged to stay until the performance or event is completely over.  Attending a recital so that other families will serve as audience to your student, and then leaving before the other performers have finished is disrespectful.
  • Please refrain from taking flash photography during a performance. Posed photographs at the piano are most welcome after the recital is over.    
  • Enjoy! Your presence is the greatest affirmation!