Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Recital Etiquette

Recitals are a great opportunity for both the students and the teacher to exhibit the progress made throughout the year.  Parents play a big part as well, and should be shown their role as the supportive team behind their kids.  Many wonderful teachers have given suggestions for the information below.  This list of etiquette rules is not exhaustive and is not mandatory.  However, it has been a tool (though some things are changed from the way my studio handles it) helpful and strategic to avoid any confusion or chaos.  🙂  Important issues to address are noise control, dress code, staying the duration of the recital or not, being prompt, applause for all students, and materials to bring (refreshments, music, etc).  I hope this will be a blessing and resource to all of you and that your recitals this Christmas season will be special beyond compare.  Have a wonderful week!

Recital Etiquette:
1.    Please plan on staying for the entire recital. It is rude to stay only for your child’s performance. If you absolutely must leave during the recital, please wait for the applause and then move as quickly and as quietly as possible. It is expected that those families that need to leave early will give notice of such prior to the day of the recital.

2.    The recital will begin promptly at 3 p.m. Please make the necessary arrangements to be at least 10-15 minutes early. Please allow your child and self ample time. Rushing in just before the recital will not be conducive to a relaxed, comfortable performance. Plan extra time.

3.    Please refrain from any talk, whisper, or chatter during the performances. Students please set a good example by demonstrating appropriate audience behavior. (This, of course, goes for parents too!)

4.    Be sure ALL mobile/cell phones, pagers, beepers, digital watches, and the like are OFF. It is distracting to both the performer and the listener.

5.    Please leave electronic games/portable electronic devices (CD players, walkmans, game boy, etc.) at home. Attention should be on the listening of the people performing.

6.    Videotaping is fine provided it is not noisy. If you do choose to videotape, please be sure you are not obstructing anyone’s view. Consider arriving early for better placement of your camera. I would prefer flash photography be delayed until after the performance as the flash and advancing film noise can be quite distracting.  The studio makes a DVD of the entire performance for $6.00.  Please let me know in advance if you would like a copy.

7.    Give enthusiastic and encouraging applause to ALL of the students! They have worked hard all year!

Students and Parents:
**Please wear dress clothes.
Jeans, open toe shoes, etc. are not acceptable attire for a recital. Parents, you don’t have to be dressed fancy, but you should be dressed up and look neat.
**Suggested attire: Boys: suit and dress shoes or button-down shirt with dress pants and dress shoes. Khaki pants and knit shirts are NOT dress attire. Girls: Either a dress or blouse and skirt/dress pants. DO wear proper hosiery! Please choose your footwear carefully; those fashionable thickly heeled and soled shoes may be cute and stylish but may not be conducive to proper pedal technique. DO practice your recital piece(s) in the shoes you intend to wear the day of the recital. Please note: students who are not dressed appropriately for the recital will NOT be permitted to perform. No exceptions.
**All students are required/highly encouraged to have their recital repertoire memorized. For those students who do not have pieces memorized, please remember to bring your materials.
**Students may sit with families until it is their turn to play. Order of recital will be given in advance of the recital day.
**You may invite anyone; there is no limit on seating.
**Seating is available on first come, first serve basis. The studio is not responsible for where people choose to sit.

Please let me know if you have anything to add to this list… it is ever being fine-tuned, edited, and added-to.  🙂

About the Author

Kristin Phillips
Kristin has been studying piano since the age of 6 and with the guidance of her family and teachers, began teaching others by 14. After pursuing pedagogy in piano and business administration for a short time - to be continued at a later time, she transferred to studying church music ministry at Portland Bible College. She enjoys editing her website, writing in her spare time, teaching piano stud... [Read more]


  1. gay sample greene

    Re: people leaving while a recital is still in progress. Over the past five years, I have had one family who consistently does this – as soon as their child plays, they leave. This year, I’m placing the child near the end of the program so the parents, hopefully, will stay!

  2. Kristin Phillips

    Good advise! 🙂 It is always best to lay these expectations down in advance, so everyone expects they need to stay the entire recital. One of my most dedicated students this Christmas informed me about a week in advance (as soon as she found out) that her school’s required Zoo Lights Orchestra concert was the same afternoon, but a little later. She had to leave the recital right after playing, but we arranged it in advance and they sat in the back. No one was disturbed and she was able to participate in both – I figured that since it was another required music activity, it could be excused. Both went great! 🙂 Reasons other than family emergencies are not excused, but if it needs to happen, I need to be flexible.

    I have certainly used your idea in the past and it works great! 🙂 Thanks again for your comment.

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