Student Concerts/Recitals (All Teachers)
MemberJanuary 25, 2016 at 6:21 am
I’d love to start putting on recitals for my students. I was thinking maybe twice a year might work nicely?
Have any of you got any top tips for making this happen? For example…
Did your students take to the idea enthusiastically or did they feel too shy?
How did you make the event feel comfy and community-encouraging?
Did you accompany the students (on piano or guitar) yourself?
Did you come across any issues that you wouldn’t have expected?
Would love to get all your thoughts.
ModeratorJanuary 25, 2016 at 9:44 am
So I hold quarterly showcases at a cocktail bar where I have a membership. One for each season/occasion – did 5 last year and they all went down well!
The students took to the idea enthusiastically and they’re sort of used to me pushing them to perform! As long as they’re comfortable of course! Some wouldn’t have done it I hadn’t insisted though – and have been glad they did it as they surprised themselves with how much they enjoyed it!
I made the events private – just for students and their guests. It was always cosy and with an open-mic feel so that people aren’t all seated and staring, which can be intimidating. However, the sense of community lies with the students being among one another, in the same boat, a shared experience where they aren’t the only ones nervous! And with the parents watching too!
I mainly use backing tracks as it gets a bit much hosting, organising people, doing the sound etc AND playing! Although I have accompanied where necessary or had band members which was fun! Or even duetted with the very nervous ones. Or sometimes the student accompanies themselves if they have been learning piano or are a guitarist.
Yes to unexpected issues! A teacher brought a CD of backing tracks assuming I was playing them in a CD player/laptop… but it was all mp3s! All the parents had come to see her students perform and she was suddenly without the tracks… thankfully she found them in her Dropbox and she played them there off her phone! That was a fight or flight moment for sure though…
I also found that having people on hand to help made a MASSIVE help to how smoothly the event ran – I cannot recommend it enough.
So I hosted these events on Sundays 5-8pm, but learnt that 3 hour events (in order to fit in 25 keen performers, both mine and my teachers’ students!) was too long, and people wouldn’t stay for the whole thing. It didn’t always matter – it was kids at the start, an interval where kids would leave, then mainly adults for the second half. But a lot less audience towards the end! So I ran a seated, paid event in December for my students and choir, made it 2 hours long, less acts, 3 helpers (sound and refreshments) and it was the smoothest event I’ve done! So my new plan is 2 events in one day (March, my next one) 2-4pm Matinee and 7-9pm evening show with a similar set up as the December event.
Hope that answers your questions! 🙂
MemberJanuary 25, 2016 at 10:06 am
Amazing advice! This is all super helpful.
You mentioned you did a paid event? How does the money end of things normally work? Do you pay the venue?
MemberJanuary 25, 2016 at 2:15 pm
I run 2 events a year, one in the summer and one at Christmas. I do smaller events in between, I have just started hosting an open mic every other week so that my students have the chance to do a smaller event if they want to, as the larger showcases have roughly 100 people attending!
I’ve found these shows are extremely popular with the kids (especially as I teach a lot more of them than adults), most of my adult students try to shy away from them as they get too nervous! But those who have done it don’t regret it. I push people to do the shows, but ultimately I will not force them if they really don’t want to do it (in these cases those students tend to come along to watch anyway)
A lot of my family help with running the event – at the last one my Dad and sister took tickets on the door and sold raffle tickets, my Mum, Auntie and cousin ran the tombola/raffle and sold cakes/mince pies, and the manager of the venue did the sound and ran the bar. I’ve also in the past 2 shows started putting a ‘colouring table’ out for the younger children so that they can keep themselves busy, so that they are not distracting who is on stage.
I do pay for the venue but I get the money back through tickets. The first show I ever did there was free and it wasn’t feasible to keep doing it that way. All of my students understand why have have to charge tickets and I try to keep it as cheap as possible for them.
Most of the performers use backing tracks but I will accompany some on piano like if we have to change the key. Some have also accompanied themselves. I sometimes sing a song at the end (time permitting) as I always get badgered to do one by my students! Usually the shows last between 2 and 3 hours but I have an interval in the middle 🙂
ModeratorJanuary 25, 2016 at 2:42 pm
@Kat, my December paid event was £3 on the door then an extra £2 for a mince pie and mulled wine. This meant my venue & refreshments costs were covered (school – £25 per hour, 3 hours hire including setting up and packing down) and the profits went to charity.
I didn’t do tickets and had no way of tracking people, so this is what I’m going to do differently for the Easter event – advance tickets, as I have a capacity limit of 150 in this new venue, so 100 tickets for guests, as I don’t charge performers.
@Beckie – yes, great if they come along to support the others if they don’t quite feel ready to perform. Chances are, they are inspired to do it next time! All sounds great with how you do things. Yep I’ll sometimes open/close with a song or duet with a student.
I love that the students get to meet each other and possibly even link up for bands/duets which has happened.
Would love some advice on the regularity of events: 5 last year was pretty full on, so now I’m doing 3 big ones (as I have to for choir anyway, at the end of each term) with students as supporting acts. Then I’m thinking of taking them to open mics in between (adults). I don’t run any as I don’t have the time, but I know a good one that allows you to play backing tracks off the phone/ipod. I am hoping that the students will make friends and go along on their own eventually, without needing me to hold their hands, as I rehearse most nights..!
MemberFebruary 7, 2016 at 10:59 pm
Open mics, and the idea of collaborations happening between students is such a cool idea! I’m still on the hunt for an open mic near me that feels chill enough for me to recommend it to my students or hold an event there. I think what’s happening near me is that sometimes a bar (not a cozy little music venue, but a sterile bar with zero space for the performer) will hold an open mic night to prop up their booze sales and have music without having to pay musicians. Bad vibes!
I think overall though, fewer concerts is not a bad idea. Better to do a smaller number of things in a way that feels good, than to burn out!!
ModeratorFebruary 8, 2016 at 9:36 am
My problem is having to choose students as I can’t fit in all the keen performers, then I feel like I’m taking away the opportunity I promise them from the start. Especially if I’m doing fewer events. I have to choose the “good” or “experienced ” or “ready” students – but how do I tell keen ones that they won’t be doing it this time and explain why? I have to start doing that this week.. Even though fewer events are bigger (double event in March) it’s because of fitting in my secondary teachers’ students, not all of mine!
MemberFebruary 8, 2016 at 3:07 pm
I’ve luckily never been in that position where I have had to pick who can do the shows, if I did though I would maybe get the more inexperienced ones to do a smaller setup, like an open mic, to build up the confidence and technique. That way they could also get to know each other and it seems more personal to them 🙂
ModeratorFebruary 8, 2016 at 4:31 pm
That’s the plan! 🙂 thanks for your input
MemberFebruary 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm
I work with a community organisation called Music Workshop. It provides instrument lessons in Bath to schools and private tuition from it’s own studio. We combine out students to form bands supported by at least 2 professional musicians to keep things tight and give our students a great live band experience.
Last year we held a “Born Of The Blues” themed concert and had a local caterer provide a meal. We had 250 students involved over 3 performances – 2 evening and a matinée. This was a serious upscale of the singer only events which can feel a bit like a karaoke night. This was a ticketed event, we charged £10 each including the meal. Ran our own bar and roped in friends and family to wait the tables.
We ran a live performance rehearsal day which was a great way of students getting to meet other musicians (we even had a few bands form from it) and valuable experience for our teenagers looking to go to college or university to study music who has little performance experience.
MemberFebruary 23, 2016 at 5:27 pm
I have ran lots of these. Some at a big win and some at a big loss.
Things to consider:
Space – where and how much
Tickets – how much, advance works better as its more guareteed.
I use my band to back the students, and some singing students from schools I work in.
You can offer to film and put it on DVD and sell that – makes more money for you.
I just make sure they are rehearsed and have notice – 2/3 months that it’s going to happen. Xmas time is great, early Dec, also a few weeks before kis break up, or end of Sept term.
I would put other acts on after so the students see ‘how its done’, parents and students also feel part of a real gig.
MemberApril 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm
For anyone looking to do advance tickets, I highly recommend checking out Eventbrite.com. Their website is real easy to use, it can link into your own website, promote your event on their website, integrate with your Facebook, take advance payments or reservations, and guests can even check in using a smartphone/tablet app. I use it for all of my theatre shows. They do have a booking fee which you can either take out of your earnings, pass on to the customer, or go halves between you and the customer. Despite the booking fee I find the convenience makes it a great resource for doing ticketed events.
Thought that might be helpful for some of you guys.
ModeratorApril 29, 2016 at 7:09 pm
Or better still (sorry Chris) Ticketsource, as the booking fee is charged straight away to the person booking rather than you! Their customer service is excellent too: they’ll help you use the website over the phone. You can scan in guests from the bar code on their booking email, using the Ticketsource app.
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