Informal Studio Recital- What is it and why? What are the benefits?
For a few years I have been doing an “Informal Recital” for
students in the winter in addition to my formal Voice Recital every
spring. I am frequently asked, “What is
it? What is the benefit to having a recital without a parent audience?” Here are the answers and why my students and
I think it is a good idea!
“What is an Informal
It is a performance opportunity for singers. Students fine tune a song or two and bring it
up to performance level. Each singer
gets to work with an accompanist and sing in a performance space different from
the voice studio. Students then sing for
the other students on the recital. No
family or friends are present. We record
the performances so that the students and family and friends can view the
performances later. I put the recordings
on my YouTube channel and use the recordings as a teaching tool in subsequent
The concept is modeled on college “Studio Class” which often
takes place once a week or once a month depending on the school. Students perform for the others in the voice
studio on a rotating basis. A few times
a year there is a “Studio Performance Class” in which you perform for all of
the singing students once a year.
“What is the benefit
to having a recital without an audience?”
From a teachers standpoint
there are many reasons this is beneficial:
- - It is a performance opportunity good for students
for various reasons.
- - Good practice fine tuning and perfecting a vocal
selection (or two).
- - A chance to work with a professional accompanist.
- - A good step to dealing with ‘stage fright’.
- - An opportunity to meet other students in the
- - A chance to hear different music and learn from
- - Opportunity to view how you sound and appear as you perform a piece.
At the conclusion of my January Informal Recital, I polled
my students to see what they liked
and learned from their experience. Here
is a list of the top things:
- Listening to all the other voices
- Less pressure without a full audience or performing
in a less intimidating environment
- Getting to know and meet the other singers
- Listening to the other songs that people sang
- Having another opportunity to perform in front
- Getting to hear songs I may want to do later
- The formality of the ‘informal’ recital- almost
like it was for a full audience but not
- Memorizing the lyrics well and early on is very
- I need to spend more time really understanding
and knowing my lyrics to communicate the song
- Practicing low breathing before singing and
truly planning out where I am going to breathe is important (Breathing
- Posture and how to stand is important to
performing (stage presence)
- Everyone gets nervous, but there is no need to
get so stressed about performing
- Stress or nerves in performing affect your
- Use facial expressions and show the meaning
of the song through your body language. It can make a huge difference.
- You don’t have to move your hands tremendously
or walk around to show expression
- Watching others helped me observe singing
technique in others (and SEE what is addressed in lessons) to help better apply
it to myself
- I learned about different styles of songs and
- Sing louder (we sound louder to ourselves than
to others in the room)
- Go slower mentally when singing to stay in
This is just a summary of the things that students can learn
from the Informal Recital experience.
There were also many specific things students addressed about their own
performances and what they would do differently or want to improve upon.
Time permitting, we would take the time to work through or
restart a couple songs if the student is not happy with how they performed or
forgot lyrics. Feedback from the other
performers afterwards might be useful too.
Although time constraints sometimes prevent us from doing this, watching
the videos afterwards allow us to evaluate ourselves and see and hear what
others see. We do not see or hear
ourselves as others do, so we learn a great deal from viewing ourselves singing
in addition to watching and listening to others (both live and on video). Overall, the Informal Recital platform is an
active way to encourage students to perfect their craft of singing,
performance, and stage presence.