How to Hold a Solo Piano Composition Recital

The lights dim, the audience settles into their seats, and you prepare for your performance of your newest composition. There isn’t much in this world that can top the thrill of realizing your original compositions in a performance venue. But, to get there, you need to prepare to ensure that your music doesn’t play to an empty concert hall. Composers that put on their own recitals can increase exposure for their music, but they must also learn to wear several hats during the process. Invitations must be sent, posters must be hung, and refreshments must be provided. If you can survive the ordeal of putting on your own concert, a captive, intent, and engaged audience can listen to and become familiar with your music compositions.

Choosing a Theme

If you select compositions that are related thematically, but that are different enough to keep the audience entertained, you can market your concert more easily. Select or compose music that invokes several contrasting moods. If you normally write morose music, include a few pieces that are more upbeat and carefully arrange the program so that the audience gets a feel for the range of your compositional style. At the same time, avoid the rookie mistake of trying to show the audience everything you have. If you only write atonal music, don’t attempt to write a tonal piece just to give your music more variety. Stay true to your voice, but within that voice, try and create an interesting and dynamic program that keeps the audience interested.

Choosing a Location

Once you have decided on a collection of compositions that you want to perform at your concert, the first thing you need to decide is where you are going to put on your recital. The hall must be relevant to the type of music you’re performing. You don’t want the hall to be too large, and you’ll need to make arrangements to ensure a piano is available on the date of your performance. 

Churches, community centers, and even university concert halls are all options. Most halls will charge a fee for use, but churches may allow you to use their hall for free in exchange for services rendered. The benefit of going to a church is that you can usually catch the interest of the other churchgoers and get a wider following for your music. When you book the hall, give yourself, at least, one hour before the concert to prepare and take care of any last minute problems that might crop up. 

If you have a music composition studio, consider holding the recital in your own home. Bringing together student composers and letting them play their own solo compositions is a great way to learn, interact and develop professional relationships that can last a lifetime. Composition recitals can increase your motivation to create new music.

Marketing Your Concert

The level of marketing you conduct for your concert is going to depend on your location, the goal of your concert, and the intended audience. If you want to bring in new people and get your music out to a wide audience; you’re going to need to invest in some advertising for your concert. 

The best advertising is word of mouth, so be sure to tell your friends and let people at work know you’re putting on a recital. Create a website to list your performance dates and promote upcoming concerts using online advertising campaigns. By now, you should also have a social media page where you can keep in contact with fans and update them about your latest works. Post information about your latest works, and interact with your listeners to put a face to your music. Then, when it comes time to put on a concert, you will have a host of potential concertgoers to help make your concerts more profitable and worthwhile.

The Concert

Before you get on stage, make sure you’ve memorized your music. Even if you decide to use sheet music during the performance, the act of memorizing helps you to ingrain the music and play more naturally. If you’re playing a suite of pieces, make sure to stay on stage for the entire suite. If you have other people performing with you, it’s okay to leave the stage and return with the additional performers. Once you finish the concert, leave the stage and come back out for your encore performance before the audience stops clapping. Always save one final encore piece in case the audience gives you a standing ovation or claps for a significant amount of time.

The Reception

Providing a reception is a good way to promote your work, talk about plans for your next release or concert, and interact one on one with your listeners. Be prepared to talk about the music you performed and provide plenty of food and drinks to encourage people to mingle and chat after the concert. Networking opportunities can be a valuable aspect of any reception, and you may find some interesting performers or composers that you might like to collaborate with in the future. The refreshments don’t need to be anything fancy. Cookies, punch, cakes and chips are all perfectly fine options.


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