Recitals: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Play On! Studios' recitals like?

Our recitals are as fun and rewarding as possible. We take the emphasis off of performing and focus on the joy of sharing music with family, friends, and other students. Each recital includes various instruments and all types of music, including students' compositions, pop, classical, duets, and even sing-alongs.

Each child will receive a personalized certificate and small prizes for their participation. There will also be refreshments and treats (pretzels, fruit, homemade cookies, etc.) for everyone to enjoy. It is a festive occasion, often the highlight of the year for students and teachers alike!

Why is it so important that my child participate in the recitals? 

We've been teaching music for a while and the facts are undeniable: Children who don't participate in recitals are far more likely to quit. Sharing our music with others is an essential incentive to continue learning (even if students don't realize it). In addition to making them feel proud and confident, recitals give students a sense of the larger music community that they are now a part of. 

In addition, recitals are an invaluable tool for our teachers. It's easy to fall into a bit of a music-lull in the middle of the year, especially when homework or other activities take over. Recitals mix things up and give our kids very specific goals twice a year. Kids practice more not only leading up to recitals, but after recitals, which leave them feeling accomplished and inspired by their peers and the new music they've heard!

Why are recitals twice a year?

Playing/singing in front of other people is hard. The more often you do it, the easier it becomes. If a whole year goes by without a performance, anxiety can build up and the performance feels like a much bigger deal. By having two recitals a year (and honestly, we wish we could do more), we hope to alleviate some of that anxiety and build up confidence with frequent, positive experiences.

In addition, all of our students learn plenty of material to play in two recitals a year. Recitals are a great reward for working so hard on their pieces!

My child only just started lessons. Should they perform in the next recital?

That decision is ultimately up to each child and their teacher. However, we generally encourage students to play at a recital, even if it is a very short piece, as soon as possible. Kids tend to be less stressed when they are only just starting to learn - they don't put as much pressure on themselves to be "perfect" - and this starts some great emotional habits that will carry over into future recitals. Also, our community of families, students, and teachers is absolutely the best. A new student will get so much applause and encouragement that they will leave their first recital feeling awesome!

Why do recitals cost money?

Recitals never cost more than the cost of a lesson, but that money allows us to make each recital amazing. Your money pays for the space, prizes, food, and the incredible effort put forth by our teachers. Thank you! 

My child is incredibly nervous about the recital. How do I handle this?

Nerves can be tough! Let's start by mentioning that many children have entered their first recital feeling very nervous and, on occasion, even refusing to play. Regardless of how they feel going in, our students always leave feeling great and looking forward to the next recital. Sometimes they literally beg us to have another recital soon!

The most important thing is to simply show up. Even if kids do not want to perform, they should come to the recital to support the other kids and see how fun and laid back the experience is. Often, after seeing a few kids perform (not to mention the prizes and treats!), they will feel like playing. 

Your personal teacher will know the best approach to handle nerves, but here are a few helpful things we generally like to emphasize:

• Every kid is nervous leading up to the recital. They count on other kids to be there to support them and understand, so it's important to show up!

• Even professional musicians get nervous... They just know how to hide it! It's a natural part of performing and shouldn't be considered a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it can be a good thing! Mainly, it's just something to get used to.

• It will get easier. Learning how to perform and handle nerves is just like learning how to play an instrument - you have to practice! The longer you wait and put it off, the harder it can become. 

• That said, practicing performing can be a great way to start learning how to deal with nerves. A smaller performance in front of parents, siblings, or friends can build confidence. For kids who are especially nervous, it is best if their teacher is present.

• This is simply an opportunity to share your music with others. The goal is not to play perfectly. In fact, some kids may even play pieces that they are still in the process of learning! The recital is a chance to share the awesome music you've been working on and to hear new music that you may want to play some day.

• If you anticipate that your child will be especially nervous, please mention this to your teacher. Planning ahead is essential. For example, a duet with your teacher might be a great way to feel a bit more comfortable at a first recital.

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We think his first recital was WONDERFUL. You really created the perfect balance of a casual, fun, yet serious atmosphere for the performers. As first-time attendees we truly noticed and appreciated the intentional structure, atmosphere and other details that made it all a pleasure - from the certificates, to the photographer/videographer, to the posting of the videos/pictures, to the random name-calling, to the final let’s-take-turns-smiling-at-different-angles approach at the end. I went through Diller Quaile’s program many years ago and I wish my recitals were as comfortable as yours!
— Dad of 6 year-old boy
Our son was so nervous all weekend about the performance. He said that he would never do it again after this performance. But when he came back he was so excited and really enjoyed it. He can’t wait for the next recital!
— Mom of 8 year-old son
What a show! What a pleasure to watch! One of the things that I especially appreciated was the way that all of the kids really seemed to be at ease and to have their anxiety at a minimum. I know that all of my kids had a very positive first experience in performing and came away feeling very proud and inspired, in spite of having made some mistakes. They seemed to be able to recover without catastrophe which is an invaluable experience! I think this reflects in part your encouraging, yet firm and disciplined approach to teaching. I also think you managed to make each child feel appreciated for their creativity, which is no small accomplishment! Thank you again for a thoroughly enjoyable experience on many levels!
— Mom of 4 budding young musicians!

If you have any specific questions regarding the information above please contact Elisa at info@playmusicnyc.com or call 347-709-7722. We will do everything we can to make sure recitals are an awesome, positive experience for everyone!