Spring Recital 2018: Songs We Know

This past Sunday was my studio’s 7th spring recital. Every year I try to do something different to keep things interesting. Last year we did a studio-wide collaborative project (a narrative suite). In 2016 we did collaborative pieces (duets, trios, 2-pianos 4-hands).

Sometimes in the fall, I hold a themed recital. This past fall, we did a church music recital, and three years ago, we did a color recital (this recital was prior to Piano Pantry, so I don’t have a post on it).

This year the theme was “Songs We Know.” Usually, I reserve the majority of pop-tune playing and such for our summer picnic performance. I decided to forego the summer performance with our house project and all that’s going on this year. Thus, the popular-themed music for the spring recital.

In this post, I’ll share some highlights from this recital, including a list of repertoire.


Ownership, Awards, and a New Experiment

One way I like to provide an opportunity for students to feel ownership and community in the studio is to have students pass out the programs as people enter. These four girls were all super excited to volunteer – what a simple way for them to feel joy and excitement over their program!

For more on that, check out the post The Varsity Musician’s Playbook Part 1: Studio Interdependence.

We have an awards ceremony at the end of the recital each year.

If you want to learn more about how I handle studio awards, check out the post Studio Awards Policies and Procedures.

These three gals just finished their 7th year with me and will be the first up for the new legacy award that will be given next year (details in the studio awards post linked above).

One new thing I included this year was a PowerPoint that followed the program. Each slide had the name of the piece, who it was made famous by and/or who composed/arranged it, and the student’s name. I didn’t catch a photo of one of those particular slides, but this was our opening slide.

Since I was busy on stage and focused on turning pages most of the time, one of my high school girls ran the PowerPoint from her seat using an app.

My church uses the ProPresenter software for Mac which has its own app called “Pro Remote.” It worked great until the computer it was running from went into sleep mode halfway through the first act, and we got a black screen.

Oops! We fixed it at intermission and were good to go after that. Lesson learned!



In anticipation of having plenty of options to present students with, my music purchases at the MTNA National Conference in March focused on popular hits.

I was especially excited to discover Faber’s new Fun Time Piano Hits 3A-3B book there.

The Faber popular books and Studio Collection were big resources I pulled from, along with Hal Leonard’s Pop Piano Hits Series

Specific books we used from these two series included:

Besides the list above, I would say half the music selected came from MusicNotes.com. I don’t know what I would do without that website!

Other books included:


Do you have any favorite pop piano hits books?

What did your studio recital look like this year? Any fun themes to share?

Share below!

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