One of the most time-consuming and difficult tasks in running a studio is planning recitals. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a studio of 20 or 200, there’s just something about event planning that brings out the craziest situations and most harrowing ordeals. I’ve compiled a list of ways to keep yourself sane (mostly) during recital seasons.
1) Start Early!!!! Do not procrastinate on things like selecting locations, dates and times. Venues book fast and people’s schedules book even faster. Get your preliminary logistics in order as soon as you possibly can. Send your parents and students Save the Dates so you can secure their time as well. At CSM, we make it a practice to get things in order and Save the Dates out at least 90 days before the first recital of the season.
2) Hire Early!!! Professionals like accompanists and sound technicians book FAST! Do not wait until a month out to hire them. As soon as you secure your date, times and locations, hire whoever you will need. Be sure to have backups in mind just in case your first choice falls through.
3) Get your registration process in order: Registration is the biggest headache of recitals. Find a good system and then be consistent in using it (this will train your studio members to it and will require less phone/email tag from you). We use online signup forms at CSM for our registrations to avoid 300 emails (yes we have that many people participate in recital each season) asking for recital times, rehearsal slots, etc. Use a system that will not clog up your email or phone line so you can focus on the small emergencies and special details that recitals naturally bring about.
4) Be firm on deadlines: I have two deadlines during the recital registration process. One is the deadline I send the clients. The other is what I call the “drop dead” date that I send the teachers. This is the date after which I will not under any circumstances take a late registration for recital. I usually make it within a week of the recital itself. After the deadlines, I am extremely firm about not taking further registrants. Setting these boundaries will 1) make your clients much more diligent about signing up early/on time and 2) keep you from having mistakes in your programs, notes and performance order. I always wait until after my “drop dead” date to print programs and I explain to everyone that tries to register late that materials have been ordered, that there is really no way to add them to recital and to please make sure they sign up on time next year.