8 Great Recital Day Tips for Music Students

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girl playing piano at a recital

Recital is your time to shine!

Oh my gosh, it’s recital day! You’ve practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. Now what?

Whether you’re giddy with excitement, rattled by nerves, or someone in-between, follow these eight piano recital-day tips (or tips for any instrument, really) for a great recital performance.

1. Eat a banana.

And when you do, think “I just ate something healthy and it’s going to help me!”

If not a banana, be sure to eat something. Preferably food with protein and fiber to keep you fuller longer. Nothing’s more distracting to a performance than a growling tummy.

2. Don’t obsess.

Only run through your song through a few times, if at all. Don’t sweat little mistakes. Trust the preparation you’ve put into it.

little boy rocking out on guitar

You’re gonna rock this!

3. Play with passion.

Rather than striving to play every note accurately, try to express the emotion or feeling of the song. By focusing on “expression” details like dynamics, phrasing, and musical color, you’ll achieve greater accuracy. Plus, your audience will be so wrapped up in the feeling of the song that they won’t be listening for mistakes.

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable,” says Ludwig Van Beethoven.

4. Keep it mellow.

Recital day is not the time to have fight with your best friend. Do your best to avoid stress and drama on the day of the recital.

A clear headspace will help you focus on rocking your performance, and help you fully enjoy the experience of dressing up nicely, listening to your peers, and maybe getting a treat afterward!

5. Visualize success.

What does a successful recital performance look and feel like to you?

Rather than going into a recital with the vague notion of “doing your best”, visualize your ideal performance. You may picture yourself walking to the front of the room with poise, sitting at your instrument with confidence, playing your piece to the best of your ability, and giving a sincere bow as the audience cheers.

kid playing guitar on stage

Baby, you’re a star.

6. Put on blinders.

Rather than comparing yourself to others, put all of your focus into your performance. Don’t stress about or wonder what others think. If they are judging, it’s their problem. When other’s judge harshly, it’s probably due to their own insecurities.

7. Get the timing right.

Don’t arrive so early that you’re sitting around stressing out, or so late that you’re worried about missing the beginning, or even your own performance. Aim to arrive at least ten minutes before the recital, or more if you have equipment to set up with your teacher.

8. Don’t forget your lucky charms.

For some, bringing a good luck charm to the recital evokes a feeling of support and positivity. A favorite stuffed animal or other token of comfort can sooth a young child. For older students, a special pieces of jewelry or other sentimental objects (a photo of a beloved pet in the back pocket?) may do the trick.

Remember, the audience has your back! Take a deep breath and have fun.

Remember, the audience has your back! Take a deep breath and have fun.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t sweat your mistakes. Everybody makes them. Keep a steady beat, and a smile in your heart, and everything will be okay.

Read why Piano Power founder Abraham Levitan loves recitals.

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