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Organising A Piano Recital: Using Other Professionals

Your piano recital won’t be truly professional without the help of other specialists. Here’s a who’s who of who you need…

 

How To Organise A Piano Recital: Using Other Professionals

 

You’ve probably heard the saying “you can’t have it all” before.

But I believe that when it comes to holding piano recitals for your piano studio, you can have it all. You just can’t DO it all.

One of the secrets to organising and running a professional piano recital is using the services of other professionals. This helps you to make the most of the entire event – from your marketing beforehand, to your actual recital, and through to the aftermath.

So, who do you need?

Below is a list of the professionals I always use for my piano recitals, and a few suggestions on what to look for when choosing someone to fill that category for your recital.

Professionals On The Big Day

Videographer

If you’ve been following the Le Piano Academy blog at all, you’ll know about the importance of video portfolios for music students. You’ll also know that these should be filmed live whenever possible. Your piano recital provides a great opportunity for recording live student performances. These recordings aren’t just great for your portfolio – a full, Blu-ray recording of the whole concert is also a wonderful keepsake for parents, students, and friends. But for that, you’re going to need a professional videographer.

What to look for:

Before choosing a videographer, be sure to take a good look at their portfolio to make sure their videos and editing are up to the standard you’re looking for.

I always choose a videographer with 3 or more cameras at their disposal. After all, you want to be able to see the pianists’ hands, the performer themselves, and the audience. In 2014, I also had a fourth camera with a roaming videographer. We even did additional aerial shots using a drone. (You can see all these shots in my 2014 highlights video.)

 

All the videos you see on our website are courtesy of Imaginarium Productions.

 

Just remember that before publishing any videos of specific students, you will need to seek their permission, and the permission of their parents if they’re aged under 18.

Photographer

A professional photographer will take great shots that you can use on your website, on social media, in brochures, etc. They will also prevent parents coming up to the stage to take photos while their children are performing – which can be very distracting to the performers.

Screenshots from your videos will never look as good as professionally-taken photos. That’s why you need a photographer in addition to your videographer.

What to look for:

Apart from the obvious requirements – a photographer with a good camera and a portfolio of (indoor) photos that you like – perhaps the main thing to be aware of is your potential photographer’s pricing structure.

Some photographers charge by the hour for shooting, and include a certain number of edited photos in their package. Others charge by the hour for shooting, and then per edited photo. Be sure to be aware of how your photographer charges so you’re not caught out.

Once again, remember to ask for appropriate permissions before publishing any photos.

Caterer

I prefer to serve afternoon tea at all my recitals. (You can find out why in this blog post.) Crackers and dip from Woolworths and Coles don’t really scream professional. So if you’re going to serve refreshments, you need a good caterer.

What to look for:

You want a caterer who fits with your budget, and who will supply a chef, waiter, or waitress to assist with serving refreshments. As the piano teacher, you need to be mingling with your students and their families – not handing out napkins. So make sure you have a professional to take care of that instead.

Professionals Before The Big Day

Graphic Designer

I actually do all my graphic design myself. But if that’s not something you can do (and do well), then you’ll need a graphic designer on your team.

Your graphic designer will be able to help you create professional tickets, recital programmes, participation and awards certificates, and any other printed materials you may require. (There’ll be a blog on printed materials soon, so stay tuned or subscribe for updates.)

What to look for:

Some printers can supply graphic design services, but be sure to look at their portfolio first, so you can be sure you like their work.

I also suggest looking for someone who’s happy to design materials you can use year in year out, so you only have to outlay a larger amount of money the first time, and just a little each year for them to tweak the information appropriately.

Printer

Once you have all your materials designed, of course, you’re going to need a printer.

Certificates or tickets that you shoot out of your office printer simply won’t look professional. And getting the pages the right way up on double-sided recital programmes is a nightmare to do on your own. A professional printer can take care of all of that, and more.

What to look for:

With printing, you need to balance quality with price. Ask to see examples of your printer’s work, and discuss whether you’ll be eligible for bulk discounts.

Trophy Engraver

I like to give four special awards for the younger students at my piano recitals: Most Improved Beginner, Most Consistent Beginner, Most Consistent, and an Excellence Award. Rather than just issuing certificates, I also present the winners with engraved trophies.

If you plan on doing the same, then you’ll need a trophy engraver on your team.

What to look for:

See if you can get a trophy engraver who will engrave your studio logo, not just your studio name. You also want one who can provide appropriately music-themed trophies. To see an example, check out the trophies my students received in 2014.

 

Trophies and Awards

We’ve been using Awards and Trophies for a number of years for all our students’ trophies.

 

Your Recital

You can’t do it all, but you can have it all when it comes to organising and running a professional piano recital. Like almost anything in life, when the right people have your back, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

If you’re a piano teacher (or other music teacher), do you use other professionals to help you run a successful recital? Who do you use? Let me know in the comments below!

And for everyone, if you’ve got questions or comments, please share them below.

Organising A Recital

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Why Student Performances Are Great For Music Teachers

Live music is a winner all round

 

Why Student Performances Are Great For Piano Teachers

 

Music students enjoy a range of benefits when they have the opportunity to perform. But student performances are also great for piano teachers. Here’s why…

(To learn about why music students need performance opportunities, read my last post.)

See How Students Perform Under Pressure

Perhaps the biggest benefit I enjoy as a piano teacher when I watch my students play live is to see how they perform under pressure.

Does their posture suffer? Do they stumble over any difficult passages? Where do they make mistakes? How do they recover from their mistakes?

Knowing this gives me the information I need to tailor their piano lessons as I work with them on their performance skills. It also highlights areas that will need improvement before they play in their piano exam. This helps me to better prepare my students – both technically and psychologically – for sitting their next AMEB exam.

See Which Students Need More Psychological Preparation

Many of my students play perfectly in their lessons and at home. But when it comes to performance time, even if it’s a crowd of two people, they crumble.

By watching my students perform live, I can identify which students need help developing their confidence in performing. This allows me to tailor my approach to their lessons. This will usually involve words of encouragement, and teaching them simple techniques such as breathing and staying calm and relaxed under pressure. If I had never seen them perform live, I would never know that they needed this additional support.

Satisfaction

There’s really nothing better than watching your students playing live in front of their parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. It’s even more rewarding than a string of “A” grade AMEB exams.

As a teacher you know how much work both you and your students put in to learning a new piece of music. So it’s very rewarding to see them shine as they perform live.

[Tweet “It’s very rewarding to see them shine as they perform live. #piano #pianist”]

 

Video Portfolios

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know all about the importance of a video portfolio. You’ll also know that video portfolios should always be filmed live.

Student performances provide a great opportunity for a music teacher to work on their video portfolio. It’s said that a picture paints a thousand words, and I’m pretty sure a good video paints at least ten thousand words! The videos are also a wonderful lasting memento for students, who can be rightfully proud of their achievements.

[Tweet “A good #piano performance video paints at least ten thousand words! #youtube #vimeo”]

 

Live Music’s A Winner

As you can see, live music’s a winner all round – for students, parents and family, and teachers alike!

If you’re a piano teacher, do you value watching your students play live? If so, why?

For parents, how do you feel watching your son or daughter perform? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to give it a friendly “share”. You may also enjoy:

Why Music Students Need Performance Opportunities

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Why Music Students Need Performance Opportunities

Composers have always intended for their music to be performed live

 

Performance Opportunies are a must for music students

 

In the days before we had smart phones, computers, TVs, or radios, a common form of family entertainment was to spend time around the piano performing and singing with one another and with guests.

Even today, people will spend hundreds of dollars to see a music artist perform songs live, when they could have spent twenty dollars buying their album and listening to the recordings.

Why do they do it? Because there’s just something magical about listening to live music. And there’s also something magical about performing it.

Every year at Le Piano Academy, my students participate in an annual piano recital. I hold these recitals because I firmly believe music students need live performance opportunities. Here’s why…

[Tweet “There’s just something magical about listening to live music #piano #pianist”]

 

Developing Confidence

As parents, we want our children to be confident. Performance opportunities help your child to develop confidence in themselves both as a musician, and as a person.

When a child plays in front of an audience, their confidence will grow. And it will get an additional boost when they receive applause at the end of their performance. Don’t believe me? Just look at the smile of this student’s face when she receives applause from the audience. It’s a magical moment.

These confidence benefits also apply to teen and adult piano students.

[Tweet “Performance opportunities help your child to develop confidence in themselves #piano #pianist”]

 

Practicing Goal Setting & Preparation

You can’t perform in front of an audience without doing some preparation first!

Knowing that they’ll be performing in front of an audience tends to give children, teens, and adults the motivation they need to prepare for the big day. (Particularly when the audience will be full of 100+ people as it is at our annual recital.) This means your child will be more likely to develop good habits of goal setting and preparation as they practice to perform – habits that they can carry with them into other areas of their life at home and at school.

Preparing For Piano Exams

Performance opportunities are also great preparation for piano exams. After all, if your child can play in front of a crowd, it will be a lot easier for them to play in front of a single examiner.

The preparation skills your child will learn when preparing for their performance are also similar to those they need when preparing for a music exam. For example, you don’t leave your practice to the last minute in either situation.

Helping Shy Students

One of the things I love about seeing my students perform live is getting to see my shy students come out of their shells and shine. There are no opportunities to be shy when you’re performing.

Of course, in order to ensure that a student enjoys this benefit, it’s important that their teacher and parents help them to mentally prepare for the big day with plenty of encouragement and psychological preparation.

Special Family Moments

Live student performances also create beautiful family moments. Little kids in particular love showing off their skills to their family and friends, and parents and grandparents love watching their child share their talents with an audience. If you film your piano recital, you also have a great memento for a family to treasure.

Why Recitals?

There aren’t many performance opportunities out there for children, teens, and adults who are learning to play the piano. Although some of my students have the opportunity to perform in competitions, most do not. That’s why I hold a piano recital each year – so my students can all enjoy the benefits of performing live.

Your Say

Have you or your child ever performed the piano live? Was it a good experience? Share your story in the comments below.

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9 Reasons Music Teachers in the “Internet Age” MUST Have a Video Portfolio

Talking the talk isn’t enough – you need to walk the walk.

 

Video Portfolios are a Must Have for Music Teachers

 

YouTube has been with us for nearly 10 years. It’s easy and free to use, and has led to the democratisation of video content in the online world.

Yet most music teachers don’t have a video portfolio with recordings of their students performing.

My question is: “why not?”

I believe that having a video portfolio is a must for any music teacher in the internet age. Below are 9 reasons every music teacher should have a video portfolio, including responses to common objections I sometimes hear.

(Want to see the Le Piano Academy video portfolio? You’ll find it here.)

#1: Testimonials Can Be Faked

“But I have testimonials on my website” is a common objection to investing in a video portfolio.

Sadly, however, the reality is that testimonials can be faked. As such, any sensible prospective students would naturally prefer more proof. But they can’t always get it.

Unlike testimonials, student performances cannot be faked. When you record one of your students playing the piano (or whatever instrument you teach), that’s real and powerful. As such, a video portfolio provides indisputable proof of your abilities as a music teacher.

[Tweet “Video portfolio provides indisputable proof of your abilities as a Music Teacher #piano #pianist”]

 

#2: Portfolios Give Prospective Students a Taste of What They Will Learn

Videos of your students performing can also provide prospective students with an idea of what they can expect from enrolling in your music academy. Your videos will give them a taste of the repertoire they will learn, and the standards they can expect to reach. It also demonstrates how professional you are as a teacher.

Watching the videos in your portfolio is basically a try-before-you-buy experience for prospective students. And if what they’re “trying” is quality, they’ll be interested in “buying”.

#3: They Make a Great Take-Home Gift for Parents and Students

I record all my students’ performances at our studio’s annual recital. Afterwards, I give my students copies of their performance. They can also purchase a Blu-ray disc of the entire concert.

Because I have my video work done professionally, all my students and their parents love receiving copies of their performances. This means that as a music teacher, having a video portfolio plays a dual role, as it’s also a great “extra” to offer your clients.

#4: “Everyone Else” is Doing It

Members of other industries often have portfolios on their website, demonstrating their expertise in their area. For instance, builders have photos and/or videos of the homes they have built, while graphic designers have galleries filled with the logos they’ve designed. So why don’t music teachers have portfolios too?

#5: Cost Isn’t an Issue

“But video is expensive!” is another common objection to having a video portfolio.

Once upon a time, this was true. But nowadays, even if you can’t afford a professional videographer, there’s really no excuse. Smartphones even film in HD! (Just be sure to hold them horizontally – vertical videos are bad.)

Furthermore, taking a step up from a smart phone isn’t prohibitive like it once was, either. DSLR cameras can cost less than $500, and if you want to invest in sound as well as picture (which is a good idea), Zoom microphones can also be bought for less than $500. That means you can start filming quality videos of your students’ performances for less than $1000. It’s an investment, to be sure. But not an outrageous one.

#6: The Proof of the Pudding…

Let your students’ fingers do the talking in your marketing.

Video portfolios clearly demonstrate a music teacher’s expertise. You’ve heard the adage “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”? Well the proof of a teacher’s skills is in their students’ playing.

Even one of my 8 year old students has her own YouTube channel!

 

Eleena Li Piano Channel

 

#7 – Video is a Social Media WIN

In the world of social media, visual posts generate more “likes”, comments, clicks, and “engagement”.

According to a 2014 study by Quintly, videos on Facebook Pages garner more interactions and engagement than images, statuses, links, and cover photos. Despite making up an average of 3% of all posts, videos receive a disproportionate share of attention on social media.

As such, having a video portfolio with videos you can share on your different social media platforms can help your pages to stand out and get attention. And of course, YouTube itself is a social media platform through which people can discover you – after all, it’s the world’s second most popular search engine after Google.

#8: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Have you ever visited the website of a famous singer, musician, or band where they simply told you how good they were? Of course not. Instead, they show you with videos. And if others in the music industry have videos demonstrating their expertise, why shouldn’t music teachers do the same?

#9: It Sets You Apart

To my knowledge, there’s one other piano teacher in Hurstville, Sydney with a video portfolio: Jackie Sharp. (You can see her YouTube channel here.) She’s also the author of Purrfect Practice.

By having video portfolios, Jackie and I have set ourselves apart from other music teachers. It’s a point of difference. And it’s a point of difference my clients love. I know, because they tell me about it.

 

Purrfect Practice

 

Over to You

If you’re a music teacher, do you have a video portfolio? If not, why not?

As a student or parent, do you appreciate being able to watch student performances?

Piano Fingers – Video Portfolio Showcase

Would you like to see the Le Piano Academy video portfolio? You’ll find it on our showcase page, entitled “Piano Fingers”. Piano Fingers includes video recordings of my students’ live performances at our studio’s annual piano recital. These students range in age from young children, to adults. Some are beginners, others intermediates, and others have been studying piano with me for years. So go have a look, and let me know what you think!

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