music-recital-simple-stress-free-stepsYou know your child’s ready – and so do they.

They’ve practiced performing their piece – in front of other people.

They know they have your absolute and full support – no matter what.

Nothing could possibly go wrong now.

Or could it?

No matter how well-prepared you think you are for their recital day, there’s nothing like having a late start to the morning, finding milk all over the kitchen floor and receiving a frantic message from your in-laws (they’re lost!) to jolt you out of your calm mood and into full-blown crazy mode.

Recital mornings aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, but if you take these five steps, you’ll be on your way to an easier and exciting day.

1. Get all hands on deck

Almost every parent makes the massive mistake of taking on all the stress of recital day on their own shoulders. Of course, it’s all done with good intentions. You don’t want to worry anyone. It’s better if your child focuses all their attention on their performance. You can handle it – it’s nothing!

But this never ends well.

You’re scrambling around, calling back relatives, and baking cupcakes for the reception mere hours before you have to leave.

Give yourself a break and ask for help. You deserve it.

It’s also a great way to get everyone excited about the big day. Kids who feel involved cooperate easier, which means they’re more likely to work together on recital day. And less whining and more cooperation is always a plus, no matter what your family’s preparing for.

2. Choose clothing choices now

You know the drill.

One of your kids can’t find their shoes, another’s lost a sock and someone forgot to iron a wrinkled dress shirt last night.

Cue the whining and the whimpering – MOOOOOOooooooooooooooom!

Everyone needs to know what they’re wearing on recital day – not just the musician in the house. This way there are no worries about who’s wearing what and where it is. If an outfit needs to be washed or dry-cleaned, you’ll have plenty of time to get it ready for recital day.

Lay out everything the night before the performance so the next day goes smoothly, and no one’s scrambling around at the last minute.

3. Decide what you’ll bring

No parent wants to find out their camera is dead minutes before they capture their child’s performance. And you don’t have time to turn around to go back home and grab the dessert you forgot to bring for the reception.

Make sure everything’s charged the night before. That includes cameras, phones, and even games for the kids. They’ll need some entertainment between the lulls and pauses of the recital.

If you have a dish or dessert to add to the reception table, go ahead and make a note of it days before you dash out of the door. Put sticky notes on the fridge or make an alarm on your phone – whatever works for you!

This is the perfect time to make a reminder for the extra items, too. Whether you need to stash extra strings in their instrument case or diapers in the bag for your youngest family member, make a list of all the little things that will make the day feel (almost) effortless.

4. Make arrangements

To have a stress-free recital day, you don’t want to rush to the venue. You also don’t want every family member and friend calling your phone at all hours of the morning, asking you how to get there and where to park.

You want to handle all of this beforehand.

Give directions to your guests as soon as possible. Include what time they should be there, where they should sit and what places are acceptable to park. This way no one can tell you they “never got that email” and they “don’t know what you’re talking about!

Allow yourself plenty of time to get there in case you get caught in traffic or the sky decides to fall (pssst…bring an umbrella just in case).

5. Let go of the little things

No recital day is absolutely perfect.

Brace yourself for something to go wrong. Hopefully, it’s a little thing. More than likely, it will be something you didn’t plan. A small inconvenience that feels not-so-small at the time, but in hindsight, a non-issue you’ll laugh about later.

Take it all in stride. Because what really matters to your child doesn’t have to do with creating the perfect “by-the-book” recital day.

It’s knowing that the people who love them are taking the time to watch them perform a piece of music they could never play last year – let alone play in front of a giant group of strangers they’ve never met. It’s about being there, celebrating their progress, and having fun together.

Chances are, you’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly on their musical journey. This is a proud moment for you.

In music, as in life, there are times we must walk on stage, face the music, and keep playing. Because proving to ourselves we can is more important than letting fear stand in our way.

Most musicians have their shaky moments before going onstage. Even the professionals.

Do they let their nerves and stress stop them from playing? Nope.

But it’s not because they don’t feel nervous…it’s because they’ve worked too hard and practiced too much to turn back now.

So look your child in the eye, give them a smile and tell them to “go on out there, and show em’ what you’ve got.”

There’s a crowd out here, and we’re waiting to be wowed.

It’s showtime.

Wish they'd practice...without the whining?
Get “The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Getting Them To Practice" absolutely free, along with my updates. Enter your email address below and click Submit.

Did you catch the other recital prep posts? Click below to read the rest of the seres!

Ready, Set, Record! The Foolproof Way To Prove To Your Musical Child They’re Recital Ready…Without Lying

Kiss Their Stage Fright Goodbye With This Surprising Secret

Stop The Music! Why You Should Take A Break And Do This Before The Big Day


music-recital-stop-the-music“Perfect! Now play it again!”

You’re sick of hearing it and they’re tired of playing it, but it has to be done. There’s a performance coming up, and every practice counts even more than the last.

You hear a deep sigh, a muttering of something inaudible, and they slowly begin to play their piece once more.

Performances have a way of turning up the heat fast. Musicians get tunnel vision on their ONE-BIG SONG, and by the time their recital is near it’s practically pouring out of their ears. You can always practice more, drill more, rehearse more.

But what if you just…stopped?

Take a look back in time

You can go back to practicing after this. I promise.

But before you get so ahead of yourself, hanging out in the land of perfect notes and flawless musical phrases, take a look back at how far they’ve come.

Next time they’re taking a break or sitting on the couch after an especially long practice session, let your child know how proud you are of them.

Genuine acknowledgment. Sincere approval. The words they truly need to hear – right here, right now, when it’s all about refining a group of notes on a white page and bringing them to life in front of an intimidating crowd of listeners.

Take a break and look back through their notes together.

  • The ones that said, “practice slowing down at the beginning.”
  • The quick scribble from their teacher that decorates the side of the music staff with, “play this with a cleaner tone” and “FINISH STRONG HERE!”

Go through the notebooks and the practice tallys.

  • Read the tips you jotted down during their lessons.
  • Bring out the video from last year’s recital.

It’ll be like going through a small time capsule together. And it’ll give you some perspective – not something you have a lot of right before their big day.

Both of you need this

Do this exercise while enjoying a nice bowl of ice cream together, or in a quiet living room with the TV off. It doesn’t have to be a big hoopla. Keep it positive and keep it light. Leave behind the stress, the to-do lists, and the you-could-play-that-betters.

Measure how far they’ve come from where they started. Not how far they’ve come compared to someone else, and not how far they are from the next goal.

Don’t rob yourself of this moment – because this moment matters just as much as the one down the road, five years and five recitals from now.

It’s absolutely amazing to watch a young musician bloom into a confident performer over the years. Relish this phase in their journey. If you don’t take a breath and give yourself a chance to savor it, you might miss it.

Sure, you can testify to how tough it is these days when they’re practicing minuets and gavottes and waltzes. But do you remember those dreaded Twinkles days? At the time, it felt like they’d never make it past those nursery school melodies. But somehow both of you got through that, and came out on the other side to tell the tale.

That’s kind of a big deal, and I’m proud of you. Both of you.

So when it gets too intense, and the pressure is too much, take a step back and remember how far both of you have traveled on this journey together.

You’ve got a lot to celebrate.

Would you consider taking a break from practicing before a performance? What do you do or say when it all feels like too much for you and your child? Tell me in the comments below!

Wish they'd practice...without the whining?
Get “The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make Getting Them To Practice" absolutely free, along with my updates. Enter your email address below and click Submit.

Did you catch the other recital prep posts? Click below to catch them all!

Kiss Their Stage Fright Goodbye With This Surprising Secret

Ready, Set, Record! The Foolproof Way To Prove To Your Musical Child They’re Recital Ready…Without Lying

5 Simple Steps To A Stress-Free Recital Day


Kiss Their Stage Fright Goodbye With This Surprising Secret

May 4, 2014

Okay, show of hands. How many kids practice their recital piece in the safety of their own room? Almost every one of them, right? When it comes to preparing for an on-stage performance, kids can’t beat the security of their own cozy boudoir. And can you blame them? After all, there are no hot bright […]

Read the full article →

Ready, Set, Record! The Foolproof Way To Prove To Your Musical Child They’re Recital Ready…Without Lying

April 22, 2014

Ah, spring. A time when kids feel the warm weather coming on and that infamous spring fever kicks in. They can’t sit still. They count the days until school ends. They dream about lazy days with their friends, full days at the pool, and vacations on the beach. I never had that feeling for long. […]

Read the full article →

Could You Be Setting Up Your Child to Fail?

January 28, 2014

It could happen. You start with a goal, make a plan, and put it into action. You tell your child to follow it step by step and one day all their little dreams will come true. Simple, right? Well…not always. Goals are like dreams with a plan: a step-by-step method that gets us where we […]

Read the full article →

10 Gift Ideas for Your Special Musician

December 20, 2012

Wanna give a special something to your favorite musician? I’ve got 10 gift ideas sure to strike a chord with everyone – from toddlers to teens to teachers. 1. Music Bag I’ve let my bags practically fall to pieces before I make the move to order one for myself. The poor things are abused! They get […]

Read the full article →

The Case for Minimalist Parenting

October 26, 2012

I’m over at Loving Simple Living, making the case for minimalist parenting when it comes to scheduling activities for your kids. Here’s a bit of it for you… Violin lessons, academic clubs, and sports practices filled my calendar to the brim every weekday. Recitals, competitions, and games crowded my weekends. Volunteering and church activities filled […]

Read the full article →

Why They Secretly Hate Practicing With You: The 4 Common Mistakes That Shut Your Child Down

April 4, 2012
Thumbnail image for Why They Secretly Hate Practicing With You: The 4 Common Mistakes That Shut Your Child Down

Admit it – I know you don’t always love practicing with your kids. It’s ok. I won’t tell. But do you know who’s spilling your dirty little secret to them?

Read the full article →

Music Games That Really Work: How to Turn Their Sour Notes Sweet

Thumbnail image for Music Games That Really Work: How to Turn Their Sour Notes Sweet March 27, 2012

You know that really sour note your child keeps playing over and over and over? And you know how you keep reminding them over and over and over to play the right note next time? Don’t worry. They’re not ignoring you. They heard you loud and clear. But they’re not playing those sour notes because [...]

Read the full article →