How to Host a Virtual Recital: Part 1 (Marketing)

While it would be easy enough to cancel recitals when your studio is online, it’s important for students to have a goal to work towards.  And, a virtual recital that knocks your clients’ socks off is just the thing to remind them once again why they love working with you so much.  Marketing your virtual recital doesn’t have to be hard with a few steps!

P.S. This is Part 1 of this virtual recital series.  And that’s because there are a lot of moving parts when holding this type of event.

What is a virtual recital?

Virtual recitals are not really new. 

There has always been a need or desire for people to experience music when they are nowhere near the venue.  This first started off with radio & records.  It eventually moved to tapes, CDs, iPods & more.  (I know I missed a few there in the middle.)

Once we had the capability to put music online this need & desire was met in new ways. 

On-Demand vs. Live Streaming

On-demand would be something like uploading videos of students playing their pieces to a private  YouTube channel.  Once the playlist is created, clients are sent the link & they can watch whenever they want.

Live streaming would be similar to watching a symphony perform at a particular time through a live stream.  Once the event ends, the video is not available for general viewing.  This would mimic a traditional recital situation with a day & time attached to the event.

Watch Party vs. Interactive

A watch party can be done on various platforms (YouTube, Instagram, etc.) & is a mix between on-demand & live streaming.  There is a date & time when a playlist will be shown.  Attendees are able to leave feedback in the comments.

An interactive live stream is what we are doing in my studio.  Attendees will be able to interact with the performers in real-time.  You could have each student perform live during the virtual recital or have prerecorded videos play.  It really depends on what each family’s internet connection is like.

Best choice?

There really is no perfect choice for a virtual recital.  It really depends on what works best for you & your clients.

For example, if you live in a rural area & wifi connections tend to be spotty, an on-demand approach would be the most appropriate.  People can watch at non-peak times & the internet connection will be much less taxing than live streaming.

If your clients all have really fast internet connections & are familiar with the platform you choose, you may be able to do an interactive live stream with students performing on camera during the event.

Or, if like my studio, you have a mix of fast & medium speed internet connections in your studio then an interactive live stream that includes live elements (i.e. speaking) & prerecorded elements (i.e. perhaps the music) can give you the best of both worlds.

Think about what the connection has been like during online lessons as you decide which approach is best.  If video or audio lag is an issue, keep that in mind.

Also, think about how to get your students excited about their recital repertoire so this new way of doing the recital pales in comparison.

Be Your Own Guinea Pig

Keep it as easy as possible during your virtual recital by doing your own trouble-shooting beforehand.  This will allow you to guide clients, students & other teachers through the process & point out any tips to keep problems at bay.

For myself, I roped in my husband & kids for a “Recital Testing” meeting.  I told my kids the goal was to “try to break Zoom”.  I didn’t actually want to break Zoom.  But, I did want them to know we were going to push the limits of the app so that hopefully we could cover the majority of tech issues well before the recital date.

What we did learn is that testing on devices within the same household did not work great.  Even with a great internet connection.  Typically all 4 members of our family can stream movies/shows or play online gaming platforms at the same time with zero lag. 

Instead, we got a lot of lag during videos & so much feedback one of my boys pulled off his headphones & held them arm’s length away from him.  “What is going on!?!”

I was surprised to find that playing live worked better than the video I had prepared ahead of time.  This has me thinking about what that means for my original plans for our studio recital.

Make the testing process fun by letting the members on the call go beyond what you will be doing for your virtual recital.  Let them embrace their inner child who can’t wait to press that button “just to see what it will do”!  Have a good laugh if something goes wrong & work together as a team to figure out how to solve it.

Much better to figure out how to avoid problems or fix them than be surprised during the virtual recital.

How to Sell It to Clients

Once you know the approach that will work best for your studio, it’s a matter of selling it to your clients … & any teachers who may be working for you.

Anything new has an element of “I’m not so sure about that.” at first.  So, addressing any concerns is vital.

Platform & security

Use something that is familiar to your clients & teachers.  This reduces the likelihood of pushback.

Also, address security concerns.  As a parent, I am very cognizant of how careful we need to be with children’s information online.  While my twins may think it’s silly that I keep them out of the spotlight, I want them to have control of the image they present later on in life … rather than a prospective employer seeing that oh-so-cute photo of [insert any number of embarrassing moments I’m waiting to share with friends when they are older & are getting too big for their britches]. 

For example, I’ll be using Zoom for our studio recital.  Not only are my clients familiar with it, but they have increased the security features to make it more secure.

Regardless of which platform you use, check what features are available to make your virtual recital private.  You work with children & in many countries that means you are held to a much higher standard on how you handle things.

Right from my first day of teaching online, I made sure each studio family had their own meeting ID & password, plus the waiting room option was selected.  Each family was privately emailed their details so that it was not publicly available.

Virtual recital: free for all or studio event?

Imagine you are having the recital in your home.

There are flyers that have ended up everywhere … both in-person & online.  You have no clue who is coming.  And, no one knocks.  Both friends & strangers just walk in & make themselves comfortable.  Oh, & someone keeps playing around with the sound on the stereo while someone else bangs around on the piano.

That’s the same as posting the specific details for your virtual recital on social media & your website while also declining to use any of the security features.  It may be easier, but this is how hackers can easily get into your event to cause mischief.

Let’s imagine another recital in your home.

You personally invited your clients & let them know if they could invite anyone else.  You required an RSVP from not only your clients but also their invited guests.  And when people arrived, they rang the doorbell.  You, as a gracious host, welcomed them into your home & guided them where to go so they could enjoy the recital.

This is the same as ensuring your virtual recital has its own meeting ID, password & guest list.  All information is passed on privately & you control who attends your event.

Which sounds better?

Share the Plan: Part 1

In Part 2 of this series, I will be covering the before, during & after of a virtual recital.

If you are raring to go & want to get this set up ASAP, here is what you will figure out & do this week:

  • Set date & time for the virtual recital
  • On-demand vs. streaming, watch party vs. interactive
  • The platform that you will use to host the recital

Give yourself enough time in the next weeks to test out the different features & quirks of the program you choose.

Once you have these basic details:

  • Send a “Save the Date” to your clients
  • Let them know whether they can invite guests
    • Include how they should let you know those details
  • Give an RSVP date
  • Assure them more details are coming soon … you just don’t want to let everything out quite yet.
    • If you have teachers that work for you, assure them you will provide them with a checklist & guide them through the whole process so it is as easy as possible for them.
  • Eagerly share with a huge smile how amazing the recital will be at each of the upcoming online lessons.

To help you out, I’ve created a FREE email template you can use to market this to your clients AND any teachers you may have working for you!

Get your "Marketing Virtual Recital" Email Templates!

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