14 Tips for Piano Recitals

We are approaching recital season for musicians, and my students will soon feature their prized pieces at our piano recital! So, as a help to my students and possibly other students, I am posting these helpful tips for piano recitals! If you are a teacher or a student and have additional tips, please share them in the comments!

  1. Walk to the piano with nice posture and hands by your side. This will help your confidence level and establish a good beginning to your performance. Please use any stairs for the stage, and don’t just hop up on the stage!
  2. Take as much time as you need when it is your turn to play. The audience is at the recital to listen to you, along with all the other performers, so don’t rush through your performance. It is your moment to shine and honor the Lord with your playing!
  3. Remember there is no reason for paralyzing nervousness unless you have not prepared. Everyone is a little nervous during a recital, even the teacher! But just say a little prayer and ask the Lord to help you do your very best. That’s all He expects of us!
  4. Prepare the bench when you arrive at the piano. If a five-year old student played before a sixteen year old student, the bench needs readjusting! You don’t want to play too close to the piano or too far away as both positions can greatly hinder your performance. And remember, no hopping on the bench if your song goes from one end of the piano to the other. Stay seated in the center of the bench.
  5. Sit tall with good posture. Don’t slouch your shoulders or hump your back. Sitting tall helps you look professional and prepared!
  6. Prepare your hands before you play. Take time to place your hands on the keys, and think about where the song begins on the keyboard before you play.
  7. Count and set a tempo in your head before you play. Don’t just begin playing without thinking and setting a tempo, and continue counting and thinking about the music details as you play. Play at a comfortable speed, not too fast or slow.
  8. Keep your hands in a nice rounded position. Never play with flat fingers or hands, and try to keep those bug antennae (fingers) curved and not looking around at everyone!
  9. Stay focused on your piece while you are performing. Don’t let your mind wander and think about other things. Distractions from the audience and even simple bobbles in the performance can cause loss of focus. If you make a mistake, don’t focus on the mistake. Keep playing and don’t stop! Focusing on the mistake or audience distractions can hinder you from performing your best!
  10. If you hit a wrong note, don’t shake your head or tell the audience you hit a wrong note. Many people will never know you made an “uh-oh” unless you tell them!
  11. If playing two songs, pause between the songs. Place your hands in your lap and think about the next piece before beginning. The audience needs to know you are playing two pieces, so don’t run them together!
  12. Most music is memorized, but if you are playing with books due to extended circumstances or a piano duet, be sure to think through how you will handle your book before you proceed to the stage. And don’t forget to take your book with you when you exit the stage!
  13. Remove your hands from the keyboard when you finish playing. Don’t stand up from the bench with your hands still on the keyboard! If you are playing a song with pedal, remember, hands and pedal off at the same time.
  14. Please don’t forget to bow! The audience will clap at the end of your performance, and your bow shows you appreciate them listening to you play!

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