How do I determine...?....

Posted by: MakeMineMusic

How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 01:21 PM

How do I determine where to put students in a Recital program. I generally put them in by playing ability (with some exceptions because of age and such), but I have 5 students pretty much on the same level (2B) and they're all relatively close in age and playing in general. Do I now put them in by who has the hardest piece? Or do I just pull names out of a hat. I want to be fair to all 5. Especially since some of the care more about where they're put in the program and some it doesn't really matter at all to them. Any suggestions?
Posted by: GailS

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 01:58 PM

In youre situation Id place the group of 2Bs together and alphabetically. For the ones who care where they are placed that should suffice for the fairness aspect.
Posted by: xstitch4me

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 02:09 PM

The great thing about being a teacher is YOU get to make all of your decisions. You can put students anywhere you like in the recital. Teachers do this many different ways. Some do the whole program alphabetically. Others do it by levels. Some by age. I never let students dictate where they'll be at the recital. I make the program, put name tags on their seats and that's the order we go in. I like to use my advanced at the end to show them off. You always want to end with a bang! The last student is usually the one most remembered. They better be good. JMO.
Posted by: Susan

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 02:34 PM

I put my students by grade level. The ones on the same grade I put by alphabetical order. The exception is the end of the recital, where I give the oldest ones a showy piece.
Posted by: MakeMineMusic

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 03:30 PM

I agree with ya'll. Just put them in where I feel is a good spot. I guess the ones that care more about where they're placed in the Recital are the ones who work the hardest and their determination level is amazing. One little girl is 11 and been playing 1 year exactly (tomorrow it'll be her 1 year anniversary in playing) and she has caught up to 15 year olds playing 6 months longer then her. At the rate she's moving she'll be past them in 6 months, and the hard part for me is....she's always played before a couple of the students and now she's caught up with them playing pieces that are pretty difficult at the recital and she's doing awesome. I'm struggling the most to find where to put her. She deserves to be farther along, but I'd hate to crush feelings of other students who are working just as equally hard, but aren't as gifted. Am I just being weird about it?
Posted by: Arlene Steffen

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 05:14 PM

I try to make the program interesting by grouping pieces around themes rather than levels. This year, my recital will be all works from the 20th Century. I plan on placing them chronologically by decade. Within that context, that gives me room for having a strong opening and a strong ending.

I've really moved away from ordering the recital by levels. So many early pieces are similar in style that it gets boring for everyone. It also puts some pressure or negative feelings on those that aren't moving as quickly. Organizing differently really helps with that.
Posted by: MakeMineMusic

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/17/06 06:00 PM

I love that idea Arlene! Thanks for bringing it up. Though this year I have no themes really that go along. I mean, I have a few, but none that are really "themed" together, but I definitely love that idea.
Posted by: beth ann

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/18/06 04:56 AM

My recital is this Saturday, and I just finished the program yesterday. I like to scatter my students so the program is a little more lively. I have two students who are in junior high and more advanced, one is starting the program, the other is ending it. Then in the middle I just tried to mix it up so there was a nice variety.

Our theme this year is "Let's Go to the Movies" and everyone is playing a song from a movie, but they are also performing contest songs, so it should be a really nice mix of music.
Posted by: Jennifer

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/18/06 05:12 AM

That is exactly what I do. Give a nice mix. I do like to start with a strong beginning and ending but everything in the middle is a nice potpourri.

I also like to do a theme each year. This year the theme is Piano Olympics which corresponds with the program students participated in this year. Each student will play a piece representing a different country. For group lessons this month they will be making a flag for that country and on the back will be a little write up about something on that country they will share with the audience before playing.
Posted by: Carole

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/18/06 05:32 AM

I have never done a "theme" recital (other than Halloween and Christmas). Sounds like fun but how in the world do you find enough music for all levels? Unless it is very broad, it would seem hard.
Posted by: Arlene Steffen

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/18/06 07:19 AM

It's not always that intentional. I'll often just look at what the students have chosen to play and and can find some themes around which to group them. The entire recital doesn't need to be one theme.
Posted by: John

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/18/06 08:26 AM

I used to order performers based more-or-less on the best listening experience for the audience (although young ones were placed earlier in recital). Most of my students played 2-4 pieces, and a few times I programmed STRICTLY based on the best "flow" of pieces. Since students had to go up to the piano more than once, they really had 2-4 performance opportunities.....getting to experience the process of preparation and focus more than once (very helpful!). It also prevented students from totally "tuning out" after they performed their first piece.

Once I threw everyone's name in a hat, and we took turns drawing names for the order. They LOVED the mystery!! I also threw in a few composer names (the person drawing out the card won a composer bust of the same name), and 4-5 theory games (very brief ear or theory games that allowed students to shine....i.e. "NAME THAT NOTE" or "ECHO BACK IN SOLFEGE" or "WHICH RHYTHM?", etc.)

Making every single recital a different experience (I had 4 a year) was what made these recitals exciting musical EVENTS!
Posted by: Jennifer

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/18/06 09:15 AM

What fun ideas Jon. I have done the hat thing but never thought of adding some other things in the mix. I'll have to remember that!
Posted by: Manon Troppo

Re: How do I determine...?.... - 04/27/06 09:15 AM

As for me, I aim for variety (it's the spice of life!) in repertoire, ranging from classical (yes, both traditional and contemporary/avant-garde) to popular. I had some students play Nintendo music (Final Fantasy, to be exact--video game music books are out there!) and some goofily creative (or creatively goofy!) avant-garde pieces with shouting, screeching (any kind of sound goes!) and string-plucking. They definitely had fun with that stuff (and consequently, they didn't feel too nervous performing!) and the audience got a kick out of it, too! I also throw in secular and sacred music plus solo and duo repertoire. It's just more exciting that way. (It's much more fun to play duets and students don't feel jittery in that sort of arrangement.) Sometime sooner or later, I'm also planning to have a studio performance in a form of an open-mike gig (also involving other instruments than piano) instead of the traditional recital format, but again, any type of music goes. (I'm thinking about adding improv stuff--for those who can do it.) That kind of setting would give students experience in performing different kinds of music to make them versatile, functional musicians.