How to Plan and Execute a Music Recital

Many musicians do what they do because they love sharing music with others. One of the best ways to do that is with a music recital!

How to Plan and Execute a Music Recital | Hannah B Flute

If you want or need to give a recital soon, you should know how to plan and execute the performance. From choosing music to scheduling a venue, a lot goes into giving a successful recital.

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Keep reading for information on how to plan and execute your next recital!

When to Hold a Music Recital

Holding a music recital is something that almost every musician will do at some point. If you’re a music student, you’ll need to give at least one music recital during your degree.

Performers of course give recitals regularly. And if you go on to teach music, you may want to plan a recital for your students.

In music school, you’ll need to give a recital during your senior year. This applies to almost every music concentration, though some concentrations let you do a capstone project instead.

If you major in performance or music education, you’ll need to give a recital. As a performance major, you will also need to play a recital during your junior year or the beginning of your senior year.

After graduation, you can hold a music recital pretty much whenever. Many people give holiday or seasonal recitals. You can perform music around Christmas and the new year. Or you can play music in the spring.

But you don’t have to follow that schedule. If you want to have a recital, choose a day and time that works for you!

Planning a Music Recital

When you know you want to do a recital, you should start planning. You need to give yourself plenty of time to choose the music, schedule the venue, and work with any collaborative musicians.

Here are the steps you can take when planning your next solo performance.

Initial Planning

If you’re giving a music degree recital, you will need to follow your school’s policies. Some schools let you schedule your recital months out, while others won’t let you schedule the date until you pass a preview or hearing.

Either way, consider a few potential dates for your recital. You may want to give yourself many months to plan. But you can do it in less time. I, personally, gave my senior recital five months after my junior recital.

Choosing Repertoire

Next, you’ll need to figure out what music to play. Again, degree recitals may have specific requirements. In my undergrad, each recital had to have an accompanied work, an unaccompanied work, a sonata, and a concerto.

Pieces could fill more than one requirement, such as an unaccompanied sonata. Some teachers may want you to choose repertoire from different musical eras, and you may need to play a piece on piccolo if you’re a flute player.

When you’re out of school, you have more leeway. You should consider where you want to give the recital and what audience you may have. If you perform at an event, you can follow a theme if the event has one.

Budgeting for Collaborators and Degree Fees

Unless you’re only playing unaccompanied music, you’re going to need to find other musicians to play with you. Many flute pieces have piano parts that make the piece sound complete. And if you want to play chamber music, you’ll need to work with other musicians for that.

Sure, you can ask musicians to play for you for free. But musicians need to get paid. If you want someone who can play the music well and take your recital seriously, it’s worth paying a good pianist.

When doing a degree recital, you also need to account for school fees. You have to enroll in a recital as a separate class, and that can increase your tuition.

To budget for these expenses, give yourself enough time to save up. Keep your rehearsals with other musicians to a minimum, but make sure rehearse enough to feel confident.

Executing a Recital

After you complete the planning stages, it’s time to start preparing for your recital. You should practice your music enough so that you can feel good about your performance.

But there are some other steps to consider.

Scheduling the Performance

Of course, you need to schedule your recital. Hopefully, you can get your first choice venue and date/time. But you may need to be flexible if you’re giving a degree recital or if your venue of choice books up fast.

Give yourself as much time as you can to schedule your recital. That way, you can look for a different time or place if something doesn’t work out.

Make sure that your recital time works for anyone playing with you. And if you’re in school, your recital will need to work for your professor and any other committee members.


In addition to scheduling your performance, you also need to schedule rehearsals. If you have any collaborators on your recital, you’ll need to consider their availability.

You can rehearse at someone’s home, or you can find a school or practice room if you’re in school. If possible, you should also ask your venue about dress rehearsal times so that you can play in the space.

That’s especially important if you don’t normally play in your chosen venue. You can use your dress rehearsal to check the acoustics and see what you need to change about your playing so that you can sound your best.

Finalizing Everything

As you get close to your recital, you need to outline your program. Figure out what order you will perform your pieces. If necessary, you should research the pieces and write program notes.

For a degree recital, you’ll need to give a hearing or preview for your recital committee. Your music will need to be almost performance-ready, and you can get feedback from your committee members to make your recital even better than the hearing.

Once your committee approves everything, you can print your programs. Then, you can focus on taking your repertoire from good to great. But don’t forget to give yourself time to rest before your performance.

Giving Your Recital

It’s your recital day! Make sure you get good sleep the night before so that you can wake up feeling refreshed. Try not to play too much the day of your recital so that you have enough energy to perform.

Make sure you get to the venue with enough time to set up and warm up in the performance space. You can also check a few spots with your collaborators, and you can make sure you feel good and ready to go.

Then, you’re ready to perform. Giving a recital is an exciting experience, and it’s a great way to push yourself. Even if you aren’t in school, putting on a recital can be a great motivator to practice, learn more music, and improve your skills.


Have you given a music recital? How did it go? Do you wish you had something to help you organize your recital? Download The Busy Musician’s Planner now!


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