Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Five Buzz-Making Recital Ideas

By Robin Steinweg

Five Buzz-Making Recital Ideas

Five Buzz-Making Recital Ideas

We all know recitals can build excitement for our studios. Could we get even more creative with them? Give folks a performance to remember. Families will talk about it to friends, friends will see clips or photos on Facebook or in emails, and word will spread about the teacher whose students know how to put on a show. Students will be excited to have been a part of it. You’ll probably add to your waiting list as a result. Here are the first five buzz-making recital ideas:

The First Five:

1. Themes

  •                 Food (like Fabers’ “Banana Split,” “Lemonade Stand,” or even “Purple People Eater”)
  •                 Movies (The Lego Movie—“Everything is Awesome;” Frozen—“Let it Go”)
  •                 Broadway (Les Miserables—“Castle On a Cloud;” Annie—“Tomorrow”)
  •                 Animals/Critters (“Flight of the Bumblebee;” “My Puppy Dog”)
  •                 Seasons (“Summertime”)
  •                 Weather (“Stormy Weather,” “Blue Skies,” “Sunny”)
  •                 Patriotic
  •                 Classical
  •                 Sports
  •                 Pop
  •                 By the Decade
  •                 Disney

 2. Props, Costumes and Sets

Do you have students who could create sets or backdrops? Parents who love to sew? Folks who might loan props? For ideas, try searching your theme on Pinterest.

3. Traditional Song

Is there a song that’s special to you? Feature it every year. Have all the students learn it. Bring them all up on stage to perform it.

4. Originals

Have your students perform their own compositions. Some ideas to get them going:

  • Make a soundtrack to accompany their day. Ask what sorts of sounds would illustrate the day they had.
  • Let them pick out 1-2 paint chip samples from a department store—read the names of the colors. That could inspire a song. Or choose nail color names like “You’re in Trouble” or “Mean Mist.”
  • What does rain sound like? What does a surprise sound like? A fight on the playground? A ride on a horse? Questions can get their creativity flowing.
  • For a switch, have students learn and perform each others’ compositions.

5. Relay Play

Take a hackneyed song like “Heart and Soul” or “Chopsticks” and teach a number of your students to play it like a relay race: one starts, the next slides onto the bench as the first slides off, etc. Never miss a beat! And if someone does miss, it can provide comic relief. All in good fun! Perhaps one student might be brave and play backward!


Name your post-recital snacks to go with the theme. My friend Anita Klumpers (author of Winter Watch) came up with snacks for nursery rhymes, most of which are also songs:

  •                 Humpty Dumpty’s Deviled Eggs
  •                 Three Little Pigs-in-a-Blanket
  •                 Three Blind Mice Cheese Tray

(Anita’s got me going now: how about Little Miss Muffet Cheese Curds? Pat-a-Cake Cake? Peas Pudding Hot—with vanilla pudding cups tinted green? Next to your plates and flatware, a sign saying “…and the dish ran away with the spoon.”)    See more ideas on Pinterest: nursery rhyme foods.

Start planning now for your next studio recital. Get some students in on the ground floor, brainstorming with you. The more involved they are, the more excited they’ll be.

Have you done any of these? Join me on June 27 for Another Five Buzz-Making Recital Ideas, and on July 27 for the Final five Buzz-Making Recital Ideas!

(find ideas for a more relaxed recital here: relaxed recital)

About the Author

Robin Steinweg has found music to be like the creamy filling of a sandwich cookie--sweet in the middle--especially making music with family.
A great joy is seeing her students excited to make music for themselves. From her studio in Sauk-Prairie, Wisconsin, she teaches ages 4-84 piano, guitar, voice, woodwinds, ukulele and recorder.
Musically, she composes, arranges, performs, directs, consults... [Read more]


  1. Laura Reynolds

    I ‘m excited to view the folks performance, great play, waiting to see next performance.

  2. Lori Lipsky

    Inspiring ideas just in time for recital season, Robin. I especially like the idea of a favorite song that’s featured every year.

  3. Robin Steinweg

    Thank you, Lori! Do you have a song in mind? 🙂

  4. Sandy Fortier

    I started doing themed recitals this year. My most successful was a Halloween one. Student performed spooky songs, and some of them did theirs in the dark, with lights on their fingers. They were in costume. We made glow in the dark wands and a student choreographed a dance to Double Trouble from Harry Potter. One student played it on piano and everyone else sang and danced in the dark as the opening number. My students were so into it, I had to reel them in a bit.

  5. Robin Steinweg

    Sandy, what an amazing idea–the finger lights! That must have been so fun. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Chad Ebert

    I really like the theme idea. At my school the kids love to do things in groups and it helps keep recital boredom down for the adults.

  7. Robin Steinweg

    Thanks for reading, Chad! I agree. Considering the solitary nature of private lessons, anything that brings students together can be a plus.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.