Recitals: Introductions

by | Apr 20, 2016 | Recitals | 4 comments

PianoRecitalsIntros

There are so many ways to do introductions at a recital and I think I’ve tried them all, from having students introducing themselves, me introducing each student, parents introducing their children, or no introductions at all and simply following along in the recital program.

I have found a way that works for me and my studio and has caught the attention of other teachers as well.

I have my students read each other’s introductions.  I ask students if they want to speak into the microphone to read introductions at the recital.  As you can imagine, some shy students say “No way!”, while others who love the spotlight give a resounding “Yes!”.

My introductions include information about the student and the song(s) they are performing.

Here you can see my two students to the right side of the photo getting ready to read introductions. I place them up front so the audience can see them, but out of the eyesight and picture frame of the performer and piano.

intros

 

Before I talk more about introductions, I’m going to show you a few examples.


“Wade in the Water” is a spiritual, which is a type of song created by enslaved African Americans, sung mainly as expressions of religious faith. This particular story comes from the Biblical story of the Israelites escaping slavery in Egypt.

Luke, Hazel, and Caleb will be joined by their mother, Emily for this song.

Emily loves creating music with her children and hearing how each individual part comes together to make a beautiful sound. Her kids aren’t as enthusiastic about playing together, but we want to show them how cool we think it is!! So let’s give a HUGE welcome to the stage to the Sutton family!!


Next up, Matthew will be performing the song “I Got Rhythm.”  This song was written by the famous composing duo, brothers George and Ira Gershwin. Matthew likes this song because he gets to play it as a duet with his dad, Andrew.

Matthew likes playing video games, fighting with his brother, and really likes to eat. His favorite food is ice cream, especially moose tracks. Matthew is caring, funny, spirited and he loves life. We know you’ll love him!


Ethan is 4 years old, loves to snuggle, and is always smiling.  Ethan is a true animal lover and knows no strangers;  everyone is his friend and deserves a hug and a smile.  Ethan works hard to keep up with his older brother and cousins, but still finds his own way in the world.  He is loveable, kind, genuine and sweet.

Today, Ethan would like to play for you the duet titled “Pointer Panda Boogie” about an adorable panda who dances on the piano keys. We are so excited to hear Ethan’s very first piano performance! Go Ethan!!


As our recital draws to a close, we’d like to thank you again for coming to support us. We hope you have enjoyed our music and we have one final song for you.  Annie and Stephen have been working together on this arrangement of “Beyond the Sea”, originally released in 1946 by Bobby Darin and was featured in the 2003 movie ‘Finding Nemo’.

Stephen has been playing the alto saxophone for a year and is in the West Middle School jazz ensemble.  Annie plays the piano in the jazz band, and together they have this jazzy tune for you!


 

Here are some reasons why these type of introductions work for me.

  • The audience gets to learn about each student as an individual and connect with them through their introduction.
  • The perfect transition between songs. No awkward silences.
  • Allows students enough time to walk to the stage, adjust the bench, get their music ready, focus, etc.
  • Gives those students who are nervous speaking in front of others the freedom to get “off the hook” for speaking, while other students who love the spotlight, can have the speaking parts.
  • A place to provide information about the piece and its background.
  • A chance for some fun and laughter!

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Here’s how I do it.

I ask parents to write an introduction for each of their children participating in the recital.  Parents are THE BEST at this! They know their child best and are really great at capturing the true essence of their children in words.  It also saves time, because instead of writing for each student in your studio, parents write for just their family.

To help parents with this process, I’ll send them examples and prompt them with questions like:

  • What is your child’s age, grade in school?
  • What are your child’s hobbies and interests?
  • What are his or her personality traits?
  • What does your child love about music and/or piano?
  • Why did he or she choose this song?
  • When was he song wrote and who composed it?
  • Do you have an interesting fact about the composer?

 

In addition to these general questions, I’ll add some recital-specific questions.  For instance,

  • Spring/End of School Year
    • What are your summer plans?
    • What are your plans for next year? (perfect for graduating seniors)

 

  • Halloween
    • What is your costume? Why did he or she choose this costume?
    • What does you enjoy most about Halloween?
    • What is your favorite Halloween candy?
    • Do you have a Halloween joke to share?

 

  • Christmas/Holiday
    • What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday tradition?
    • What is your favorite Christmas movie?
    • What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?
    • What are your plans for Christmas break?
    • Do you have a Christmas joke to share?

The answers to these questions can range from cute, funny, ornery…it really allows the student’s personality to shine and adds a special element to the recital.

How do you handle introductions at your recital and what do you like about it?

 

 

 

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