As any singing teacher would know, organising a recital (or concert, or gig, or showcase) for a group of singers can be pretty rough on our workload atop teaching.
Practicing how to perform however is a crucial tool for studio teachers.
It provides a focal point for students to aim their practice and offers a chance for singers to integrate the many skills we teach. Performance events give a place for families and friends to gather, support and cheer on their kin!
Juggling the many areas of event management with the needs of students, families and support staff (oh, and we have to teach too, right?) can easily be the cause for crazy-making.
Here are a few things I’ve learned in the art of efficient and effective event creation to ensure an event runs smoothly and for a purpose.
1. Establish a purpose and outcome for your students: What is your recital for? Is it to present finished and polished pieces for an audience of family and friends? Will students be assessed and are there guest industry or adjudicators involved? Is it for kids only, or adult students? Or perhaps you aim to have your students practice in front of each other, in a smaller, less “pressure” context. While many students require performance as a means to develop and master their skills, many sing for personal interest and development, and may not see the point of engaging in performance. Establishing why your students should perform will lead you to an appropriate event style and size. This not only leads to a deeper learning experience for your students, but also one that does not feel restrictive to you as a teacher and studio owner.
2. Think outside of the box: A recital need not be huge, with a million bells and whistles. In my experience and having run hundreds of recitals, smaller, peer-to- peer groups elicit the best results for learning, communicating, feedback and collaboration between students, sound and resource staff, audiences and teachers. Consider a small venue (you’ll be helping an independent business owner by doing so too!) and running short, smaller events with a handful of students.
3. What’s your budget? Once you’ve established your purpose, start to think of your budget and how you can ensure your event won’t cause you to lose funds. It never feels good to put on a great show that all enjoy, at the expense of your living!
Having a budget gives you a realistic overview of what you can afford to spend on a venue, insurances, ticketing and equipment. If you require staffing, include this too - many fail to acknowledge the need for front of house staff, sound technicians/engineers and/or a host until closer to the event. Better yet, see if any of your students might have an interest in these areas and offer a spot of work experience for them. Parents of teenagers particularly appreciate this, and you are helping teens learn new skills.
4. Consider hybrid performance events that include live performance, recorded songs and video: 2020 surely taught us a thing or two about online learning and there’s no doubt hybrid learning modes will stick around forever. Embrace technology and include alternative modes of “performance” - such as recording a set of songs, video streaming and video recordings. Just remember to check for copyright and music licensing requirements!
At the end of the day, a recital or performance isn’t meant to be a source of stress, but rather a fun experience for you and your students. Understand that things will go wrong, some things are out of your control and then roll with the punches and enjoy the show!
About the author
Dr. Veronica Stewart is the director of the Sydney Voice Studio - a creative, bespoke space for contemporary singers, families and professional vocalists in Sydney. Her research interests are in contemporary singing, the voice, music education and creativity.
ANATS is the peak professional association for singing teachers in Australia. We help teachers of any style of singing to be the best they can be, by provide professional development, advocacy and community for singing teachers and other voice professionals across Australia.
We welcome members from all musical cultures, vocal styles and singing or teaching environments.
We are committed to building an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our industry.