Spring recital season is here, and I have really enjoyed keeping up with what everyone is doing on the various social media and blog platforms I follow 🙂
The past year has been nothing short of difficult, and I love seeing that piano teachers around the globe are showing up, pushing hard, and, to the best of our abilities, offering some sense of “normal” to our studio families.
Here in Ohio, things have been changing rather drastically, and I’m not just talking about our normal bizarre weather change. When I first had to make decisions about what this spring’s recital would look like, few families in my studio would have been interested in gathering (even outside) for a show. Today, mandates have changed, the weather is brighter, and it would likely be more readily embraced.
But I had to make the final decision a couple of months ago, and my goal was to include as many of my students as possible and get them performing.
This meant that I opted for a video-style format. I did a video-style recital last spring, and I created a YouTube playlist with a welcome video with me speaking followed by all of the videos my students created from home.
I then created a fun and optional “competition” for the students. Awards were offered for best costume, most creative audience, best pet bomb, best fast song, slow song, all around best musicality, etc. Why? Because I wanted my students to actually take the time to watch and support each other!
It was a huge hit with my studio families, and everyone did their work and voted. One student even played with a chicken sitting on his head for the best pet bomb! You can check out their work here 🙂
This year majority of my students have come back to the studio. We have been recording together, and I am creating one seamless video to change things up a bit. This has taken the fun and creative competition out of the picture.
So my next thought was, how in the world will I get people to sit down and actually watch the entire recital?
And this is where my recital-in-a-box idea sprang to life 🙂
As always, I talked this up to my studio families as an important performance opportunity to showcase the hard work everyone has been doing over the past year. (Or at least since our last performance opportunity in December.)
But I knew that I needed to take it a step further if I wanted true participation beyond simply submitting a video and being done with it.
I have already started encouraging my studio families to set aside the afternoon of Sunday, June 6th to plan to watch the video (shaping up to be 45 min-1 hour). I’ve recommended they make it a big deal and a family event, in order to celebrate the hard work that has been done!
Challenge #2 is taking the student excitement to the next level. In the upcoming of weeks, I will be handing out a recital-in-a-box to each student participating. Each box will contain a bag of popcorn, fruit punch drink powder and fruit snacks for the entire family to enjoy as they watch together.
It will also have a program, recital reward, pencil, and several encouragement cards.
I LOVE these fun rewards, and they were as easy as they could possibly be! But the encouragement cards are shaping up to be my favorite part of this whole deal. Each student will be required to write down several (12 each this time around) short notes to tell other students what they did well.
This will serve three purposes. 1- Proof that each student took the time to watch everyone else’s video. 2- Enable each student to really listen and find the hard work and positive elements of each performance. And 3- Each student will in turn be encouraged by the positive things other students say to them (yes, I will be passing off the encouragement cards so each student may read them).
Today, I’m sharing with you the simple, yet effective cards I will be passing out to each student. Print on card stock, cut each page 4 ways, and include as many as needed in each student’s recital kit.
Your studio families will be thrilled to find the recital interactive, encouraging, and relationship building!
How are you choosing to make this year’s recital a memorable one? What fun ideas have you included to encourage studio engagement and participation? Did you create a recital-in-a-box or get creative with your in-person take home goodies? I’d love to hear about them!