A Summer Coffeehouse Recital

Last night my studio had our final Summer performance for the first time at a coffeehouse!

(My summer session only ran from the last week of May through July 18 this year because the last two weeks of July I’m away at NCKP and Joy Morin’s Piano Teacher Retreat.)

Summer lessons are optional in my studio and while most years I have around 70% of my students still take summer lessons, this year was a lot less.

(That was OK with me though, because I was planning on taking a Sabbatical Summer but since our house was not finished, I decided to continue to teach but really needed a lighter load – both for a little breather, and to have time to work on the house.)

I had fourteen students taking lessons but four of them were siblings that I did as a group class. Six students played in our summer recital.

Most years, when I have a lot more students, I’ve done an outdoor picnic which has always been great. With a lot fewer students performing, I wanted a small but still unique setting.

I was able to rent out a local coffee shop for $30 for the evening and we did a dessert and coffee carry-in.


Food and Fun

Each family brought a dessert to share and I purchased air pots of coffee from the bakery.



In the beginning, I introduced each of the families – especially because we had a couple of families who were new – and encouraged everyone that this was a relaxed performance environment and they could get up and get refills throughout.


Art Contest

Inspired by a recital idea post from Leila Viss, I set up jars filled with pens, pencils, and colored pencils on the tables and we had a little drawing contest.




The owner of the coffeehouse chose the winner – the donut!


I’ve always wanted to do this

Something I’ve read about in the past and have always wanted to do was to include an audience sing. Even though I don’t have a voice studio, singing is a beautiful way, as humans for us to come together and have a joint musical experience. 

I chose three songs that I thought most everyone would know and would enjoy singing:

After each student had gotten up once to play (I had them get up multiple times rather than play all their pieces at once), we sang one song. About halfway through the program, we sang a second, and while the artwork winner was being determined at the close of the program, we sang our final one.

I felt like this was the perfect venue and everyone really enjoyed it! (Although the video may not give you the complete vibe… 🙂


A Recital-Win

At the end of the night, I heard lots of feedback from both parents and family members attending that they really enjoyed the venue and the whole setup.

One mom, who has two students that just started lessons this summer, said she especially appreciated the relaxed environment for their first performance as it really helped them with their nerves.

I will definitely be doing something like this again!



  • What a great idea! And all the other fun ideas you included for everyone to join in.
    Missed you yesterday !
    You are amazing !!!

  • I absolutely love this idea! I would like to try this venue with my students. Love that it was informal and fun!

    • Hi, Lori. So sorry for the late reply. For some reason, I completely missed seeing your comment! This recital setting is one of those things that after you do it you think…”why didn’t I do that sooner?” LOL. It was definitely something I would recommend!

  • You mentioned that you taught 4 siblings as a group class. How did you do that with different ages and levels ? Was it all the same curriculum ?

    • That particular family had four siblings all starting as beginners that were close in age – like within 6-7 years between the four of them. I hate to say it, but it’s been 3 years since I started those kids and I can’t quite recall what materials I used with them! I only had them in the group class format for a short time so we could cover basics quickly since they were all on the older side. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer at this time! If my memory comes back regarding what I did, I’ll let you know!

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