The problem with leaving recitals early

One of the things we are bound to hear on occasion, during recital season is, ” We are very busy. We can come to the recital but we have to perform early and then leave.” Even worse is the situation where we receive no advance warning. In that instance students and their families just get up and walk out in the middle of a recital.

I need to say that I feel very strongly about this subject. When asked in advance I will always respond with, “We would love to have you perform but we require that you stay until the end of the recital you are performing in.” Please know that there will be no exceptions made to this rule. If your recital date does not work for you,  we will work with you to find another date (which will most likely be with a teacher other than your own). Again, we will require that you stay until the end of that recital.

We announce recitals months in advance to assist with your calendar planning and we organize our recitals in 90 minute segments. Most recitals are actually an hour or less in duration with time built in to socialize at the end of the event. Most people do take advantage of that extra time and seem to really enjoy the opportunity to interact with and offer praise to the other performers and their families. It does not seem unreasonable to expect that guests of the recital can set aside 90 minutes of their time to attend and support the student’s many hours of preparation.

We understand that everyone is very busy, stressed and even overextended.  That is actually a big part of the problem. Everyone is busy and granting permission to one family to leave early would invariably result in allowing many people to do so. Ultimately this could result in a perpetually shrinking audience throughout each recital.

However, there is more to this situation than that. Simply put, staying until the end of a recital is a matter of respect. Walking out before the conclusion of a recital is inconsiderate of everyone, students, teachers and other guests. Recitals are special occasions occurring only twice per year. I understand that something else might have to be sacrificed and I thank you for prioritizing recitals when you are able. I assure you it is a sacrifice worth making. If it is truly impossible to do that then we hope you will be available for the next recital series or perhaps a less formal community performance.

There are rewards attached to attending entire recitals on a continual basis. On a strictly personal basis recitals offer a chance to sit back, unwind, enjoy a performance. Unlike many of your other family activities, once you arrive we provide comfortable seating in a relaxed, temperature controlled environment that is safe from the elements! There are more social and educational rewards as well. Young students can be inspired by more experienced performers. More experienced players gain insight into just how much they have progressed. Families get to know one another and share in the joy of witnessing musical growth. A camaraderie develops between students that can lead to long term friendships.

In general I feel that we very understanding of your needs and that we regularly go out of our way to try to be as accommodating as possible in scheduling and rescheduling lessons when conflicts arise. With that in mind, I hope that you can appreciate and respect our relatively inflexible feelings about not leaving before the end of your recital.





4 thoughts on “The problem with leaving recitals early

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Before anything else, it’s about being considerate to the kids yet to perform. Also; music education goes beyond attending classes; it involves learning to appreciate other people’s performances and becoming part of a community of musicians, which implies being supportive to your peers. We parents are our kids’ role models and should make sure they learn more than just how to play an instrument.


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