I try to be very methodical when it comes to helping my students prepare for recitals. Here’s a general timeline I follow:
1. One to two months out: we select recital piece. The piece (or pieces, if they are short) MUST be something they already know and would just be polishing. If it will be their first recital or if they are new to my studio, I will talk through what is going to happen on the day so they don’t get surprised. One more point about repertoire choice-I don’t require students to play their more recent piece-they can go back farther if they like. My only requirement is to perform a piece they know and the goal is to play the best they can with the most beautiful sound! It’s such a disaster when a student is struggling to learn notes a few weeks/days before the recital. It’s so much better when they really know the piece and are comfortable with it.
2. Each lesson, they play through recital piece at least one time, if not many more. I will be sure to mention one or two points to focus on (even if just posture or beautiful tone).
3. For the last few lessons before recital, I make sure the student will perform the chosen piece several times in his or her lesson. We also practice with applause and bowing.
4. The past two weeks I have been asking my students to play through their piece (or pieces) 3 times each day. This is in addition to any specific spot practicing they are doing. I encourage them to think about good posture before starting each run through.
5. I also encourage them to put together small “practice recitals” at home with their family or friends in preparation throughout the whole timeline, and particularly towards the end.
That pretty much sums it up! This plan is more for beginning/intermediate students–though the 3x a day run through is an idea I got from Linda Cerone back in college. She suggested running through your recital program 3x a day for a few weeks in advance of the recital. She said after that, only playing it once would be a breeze!