Recital Etiquette

Student recitals can be tremendously fun and valuable experiences for young pianists. Unfortunately, they can also be a source of some stress and anxiety if preparations aren’t complete and certain practices aren’t followed. There are guidelines and rules of behavior all performers and audience members should follow during all recitals or concerts.

Audience members must remember the purpose of their visit to the recital venue – to listen quietly, actively and appreciatively to the music being offered by the performers.


  • Performers should wear appropriate attire. Girls in dresses or slacks, boys in dress pants and buttoned dress shirts. No spaghetti straps and no flip-flops or sandals. Please avoid wearing any dangling or jingling jewelry that may distract from the performance.
  • Please do not feel obligated to spend money for new clothes. The overriding principle should be to simply do the best you can with what you already have on hand. Remember – the proper attire shows respect to your audience, as well as to yourself, and what you have accomplished.
  • Remember to practice in your outfit, shoes included.
  • When it is your turn, don’t forget to to adjust the bench and pause and collect your thoughts before starting to play.
  • Performers must bow at the beginning or at the end of their performance to acknowledge and thank those in the audience for their attention. Teacher and student will practice bowing in lessons.
  • Respect other performers by minimizing unnecessary noises, such as whispering, talking, candy wrappers, moving around, etc. during a program. Reading, studying, or playing games during a program are also inappropriate.


  • Recitals are a special occasion, so it is customary to dress nicely.
  • Please arrive a little early in order to find a comfortable place to sit.  If you invite extra friends and family members, please make sure they know to arrive on time as not to interrupt any ongoing playing.
  • Turn off all cell phones and any electrical devices that may produce sound.
  • Once the recital begins, please listen and be quiet. Crying babies and/or toddlers should be taken outside. They are not happy, and neither is the audience or the performer!
  • Do not enter/exit the recital hall or switch seats while someone is performing.
  • Applaud politely before and after performances when the performer bows. Whistling, yelling, or other loud methods of congratulations, is not necessary and can sometimes distract or increase anxiety in performers.
  • Please respect all performers. Unnecessary noise from whispering, talking, candy wrappers, etc. during a program is not acceptable. Reading, studying, and other unrelated tasks during a program are also inappropriate.
  • Please stay until the performance or event is completely over. Attending a recital so that other families will serve as audience to your student, and then leaving before the other performers have finished is rude and inconsiderate.
  • Flash photography is not appropriate during a performance. Please note you can only videotape and/or take photography of your own child’s performance.