Easy Tech Tips for Your Virtual Studio Recital

One of the biggest worries for teachers when hosting a virtual studio recital is the technology.  Add in all the regular tasks for a recital & this can quickly become overwhelming.  But, don’t worry!  Here are easy tech tips for your virtual recital.

P.S. This is Part 3 in a series on virtual recitals that knock your clients’ socks off.  For marketing ideas & deciding on your best recital format, read Part 1.  For the nitty-gritty on before, during & after your virtual recital, read Part 2.

Are you a “techie”?

Before we get into specific tech tips, think about how simple or complex you want the recital to be.

There’s a difference between hosting a recital for the first time & having done this for years.  The same goes for online.

Even if you have done in-person studio recitals for years, hosting a virtual recital is a whole new ballgame.

For whatever reason, Murphy loves technology more than anything else.

What do I mean?

I’ve learnt many, many times that Murphy’s Law is more likely to strike when technology is involved than any other situation.

For example, there was the year:

  • The venue didn’t have an HDMI connector for the projector & I didn’t have any other connectors with me.  I made sure I had multiple connection types before the next year.
  • All student intro videos inexplicably turned sideways the day of the recital.
  • We had to use my iPad for backing tracks & somehow a student ended up playing with one for another song.

At this point, everyone who attends my studio knows that these things happen & we all have a good laugh.

Plus, I always have a backup plan … or two.

Even though I have had tech elements in my studio recitals for years, I chose to keep things fairly simple for my first virtual studio recital.

P.S. For more ideas, head over to read about Jennifer Foxx’s online duet recital!

Easy Tech Tips for Your Virtual Recital

Below are my top 4 favourite tips for keeping things running smoothly during your studio event.  They include bonus tips for each category.

Laptop wins over mobile

My first tech tip for virtual recitals is to use a laptop or computer to run the event.

Most streaming programs have more options available when on a computer vs. mobile device.  Plus, the screen is much bigger which makes it easy to keep track of everything.

Tech tip for your virtual recital:

  • Have everything you will need for the recital stored locally on the laptop or computer. 
    • You will probably cause massive lag in audio & video if you attempt to access anything online during the event.

Sharing is caring

Send out the recital program & anything else needs a couple of days before the event so those attending can print what needs to be printed.

Then, assume at least a few people will forget to print things off & ask for copies during the event.  Have a plan for sending them those documents quickly.

Tech tips for your virtual recital:

  • Zoom has file share.  It does not seem to share from a computer to tablet or phone though. Keep this in mind if recital attendees will be on a mobile device.
  • Have an email template ready to go so you can enter in the attendee’s email & hit send.

Be a guide

This is probably new for your clients so they would appreciate some guidance.  See Part 2 of this series for specific ideas on how to do this.

Tech tips for your virtual recital:

  • Create a quick video tutorial for new users to the program you will use (i.e. Zoom, YouTube, Facebook Live, etc.).  Send it out a few days before so they can test it out.
    • If you are not comfortable doing this, find a tutorial video online that shows how to join the event & basic features.
  • Make image files (PNG, JPEG) of important information so you can easily screen share them during the event.
    • A “What to Expect” screen will reduce a lot of anxiety for those new to this recital format.
  • Hold a “pretend” recital/group lesson beforehand with your students.
    • They get used to the program.
    • You can guide the appropriate use of that technology & expected behaviour.
    • Your students can guide their families during the recital instead of it all falling on your shoulders.

Be a benevolent dictator

I sometimes like to imagine myself as a benevolent dictator.  Or, perhaps a nice version of Vetinari from the Discworld series.

Yes, we want to guide both our students & their guests.

But, we also want to have enough control over the situation so it doesn’t get out of hand.

Tech tips for your virtual recital:

  • Turn off audio for participants.  And, make sure you are the only one who can turn it back on.
    • In Zoom, this is located at the bottom right of the “Participants” screen.  De-select “Participants can turn on sound”.
  • Keep audio turned off for audience clapping.  Otherwise, you will have a lot of feedback & echoing.
    • Instead, use a predetermined signal that ensures students can see the audience’s appreciation.
  • De-select any option that lets attendees/participants chat privately.  There are so many reasons to not allow this, but the two biggest reasons are:  
    • Students get distracted with private conversations.  
    • You are unable to monitor comments which could lead to a complaint later from a parent.
  • Use a private chat (if available) to correct individual behaviour if necessary.
  • Spotlight great comments from attendees, whether in the comments or chatbox section of your streaming program.
    • Positive reinforcement encourages everyone to make the recital a wonderful experience for all.
  • In Zoom, use “Spotlight speakers video” to make the student the star of the screen when they play.
  • Have students say something before they begin playing.  This gives the program a chance to recognize they are the person to focus on.
  • Tell everyone what the backup plan is before you begin the recital.
    • Rather than giving options, you guide attendees smoothly from one step to the next.

Case Study

At our Zoom studio group lesson, I told my students that if our session cut out we would move to a backup meeting ID.  Then I made them write down the backup ID that I typed on the screen even though it had already been emailed to them.

Sure enough, the meeting cut out while a student was playing their piece.

Since we didn’t have many attendees, I quickly began texted my students to say I was at the backup meeting ID.  Before I had even had a chance to text the 3rd person, everyone was already in the new session.

Taking charge right from the first moment meant that there was barely a blip in our group lesson.  Even though Murphy’s Law had hit.

There are times when being a benevolent dictator who makes your students write down the backup info is the best plan!

Preparation is the Key

As with many things, preparation is the key to & best tip for your virtual recital.

What you do in the weeks & days before your event is what will determine whether your virtual recital is a success.  The more you can prepare before, the less you will need to do while your studio is hearing students play.

To help you out even further, below are the checklists & resources to help you host a virtual recital that will knock your clients’ socks off.

Get your FREE Virtual Recital Checklists

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.