Public Performance: Recital Information & Procedures

Music is inherently a performing art.  The Greatbatch School of Music affirms this through its requirement that all students enrolled in curricula leading to the Bachelor of Music degree will present at least one solo recital as a part of degree requirements.  To assure highest quality in required degree recitals, the Greatbatch School presents a wide variety of recitals each year to provide opportunity for students to perform during each semester of private study. 

An important auxiliary purpose of student performance is listening:

  • Listening to students in studio, Departmental, and Performance Seminar recitals allows the individual to see musical growth and discuss problems encountered by various students.  This may include critique and evaluation by the instructor. Final results in degree recitals may then be better evaluated.
  • Attending Distinguished Artists events and faculty recitals provides the student with opportunities to hear music at a high level of achievement. These events should provide satisfying aesthetic experiences in music through listening.
  • To this end, all BMus majors are require to document attendance at 14 GSoM events each semester, including all Artist Series events and all faculty recitals.  All BA and BS students must attend 10.  Procedures are outlined below.

Chamber Music & Ensemble Work

Students wishing to perform chamber music using students other than their accompanists must secure the permission of those students’ private teachers (or ensemble director in case of string students not studying privately) in advance.

Chamber ensemble repertoire involving such students should ideally be selected in the spring of the year before the recital, but in no case later than the first month of the semester before the recital.

Non-Piano Accompaniments

Students wishing to use organ or harpsichord in their recitals must clear the person playing the instrument with the harpsichord or organ instructor.  Normally the only students permitted to play on those instruments are those students currently studying that instrument in the semester in which the recital is to be given. 
See the “Keyboard Instruments and Maintenance” section for restrictions on organ and harpsichord use and proper procedure in use.

Degree Recital Grading

Degree recitals shall be assigned a letter grade, determined by averaging the grades from a committee of no fewer than three faculty members in attendance at the recital.  The final recital letter grade shall be reported to the student, but not to the Academic Records Office.  Written comments about the recital may be included at the discretion of each faculty member.  Copies of the grade report will be placed in the student's music office file.

A recital evaluation rubric shall be used by each member of the faculty committee in formulating and reporting the recital letter grade.  The rubric shall be developed by the faculty within the appropriate performance area (instrumental, keyboard, voice or composition) and will take the quality of program notes into account.  Each rubric will include the following general categories (in addition to any others desired): 

  • Musicality, style and faithfulness to the score
  • Technical facility and note accuracy
  • Quality of program notes
  • Appropriate level of difficulty

Furthermore, a statement shall appear on the rubric indicating that the first two of these will be given substantially more weight in the grading than the last two.  Finally, each rubric will be constructed so as to describe in a series of statements what constitutes an 'A' recital, a 'B' recital, a 'C' recital, and an 'F' recital.  Parallel language is helpful in this regard.

Failure of a recital occurs when a student’s calculated recital grade is below a D. Accordingly, the student must then perform a jury in that same semester, wherein the recital material will be repeated (in part or in whole).  Passing this jury will equate with passing the student recital, and the jury grade considered the recital grade and used in calculations.

The applied music grade for the semester shall be determined by combining a studio grade from your teacher with the average jury grade and/or the recital grade; your jury and/or recital is worth 60 percent of your grade, and studio work is worth 40 percent.  Should the teacher elect to have a student do both a recital and a jury in the same semester, then the recital grade will be factored in as another juror grade.  An objective Excel spreadsheet formula computes these numbers and percentages based on teachers’ grades.  LATE REPERTOIRE SHEETS will cause your grade to be docked by a letter grade (see Juries section, Repertoire Sheets)

This final applied grade is then reported to the studio teacher as the student’s inal studio grade, and said teacher will submit that grade to Academic Records.  No student's final semester rade may be submitted without a jury and/or recital grade. 

Length of Degree Recitals 

Half-length recitals are to consist of 30 minutes of music maximum, and that full-length recitals are to consist of 60 minutes of music maximum. Please remind your private teacher of these limits as you are selecting music for your recital, and stick to these times.  Should you have more than the limit, please plan on performing the extra music on an SPS or in a departmental recital.  Bear in mind that exact timings of numbers are crucial in your preparation. 

Performance/Concert/Recital Types

Departmental Recitals

[These DO count for recital attendance credit.]

Voice, Keyboard and Instrumental Departments individually present recitals two to four times per semester.  Schedules are normally posted early in the semester.  These are usually held in the recital hall or the chapel auditorium.

Departmental forms must be filled out and approved by your studio teacher.  He or she must then send forward them via email to the main music office 2 days before the departmental.

Departmental/Performance Seminar form

Distinguished Artists (formerly Artist Series)

[These are MANDATORY for all music majors to attend; DO count as part of recital attendance credit.]

Distinguished Artists concerts bring top talent to the Greatbatch School of Music as one of Houghton College’s major events during the year.  ALL MUSIC MAJORS (both BMUS, BA, and BS) MUST attend all DA performances.

Major Ensemble Concerts

[These DO count for recital attendance credit.]

Our main ensembles (College Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Choir, Philharmonia, Symphonic Winds, Women’s Choir, etc.) do count for recital credit.  Chamber ensembles do NOT usually count for attendance credit, unless performing in a formal recital slot and pre-approved for credit by the main music office.    

Faculty Recitals

[These DO count for recital attendance credit.]

Recitals by our faculty members are to be attended by all music students.

Graduate, Junior and Senior Recitals (Degree Recitals)

[These DO count for recital attendance credit.]

The recital recording fee for all degree recitals is $40 and is mandatory. This fee partially covers the costs of recording, editing, mastering, and producing the degree recital recording. This fee is added to your student account when registering for PERF 385, 485, or 585. Two student copies of the recording are included in this fee.

A half-hour recital consists of no more than 25-30 minutes of music and a full recital consists of no more than 50-60 minutes of music.

  • Applied performance:  One half-hour recital in the junior year and one hour-long recital in the senior year. 
  • Composition:  Half-hour recitals, normally in senior year or end of junior year, just before the student teaching internship. 
  • Music Education:  Half-hour recitals, normally in senior year or end of junior year, just before the student teaching internship. 

By faculty action of March 30, 2010, any recital expansion (an expanded Junior Recital for performance majors, an expanded Senior Recital from 30 minutes to a full hour for music education, BMus+, and BA majors) or any added recital (a recital in the sophomore year for performance majors, a recital in the junior year for music education, BMus+, and BA majors) must take place in the fall semester.  Exceptions requested for senior music education students returning from student teaching must be considered on a case-by-case basis in the preceding spring when the upcoming year’s recital calendar is developed. 

A minimum attainment of LL40 and teacher permission is required for any full recital.  When recital forms are issued during the spring semester, a student intending to give a recital the following year may request the date of the recital with the agreement of the applied teacher.  These forms are numbered as they are received and, when possible, student dates are assigned in the order they are received.  The director has final approval for all dates, working in consultation with studio faculty.

Students doing half recitals may request their partners, by mutual agreement.  This choice should be indicated on the recital request form and both partners’ forms should be submitted together. If no preference is indicated, the music office will assign partners. 

Recitals will not be scheduled on Saturdays except under extraordinary circumstances.  Approval of the entire performance-area faculty by vote is required.

GSOM Performance Seminar (formerly sps)

[These DO count for recital attendance credit.]

This time for recitals occurs once a month on specified Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 the recital hall and is a prime opportunity to hear your student colleagues and hone your performance skills.  First preference in scheduling is given to students who are not performing degree recitals in that semester. ALL music majors are expected to attend unless they have a non-music class that interferes.

Forms must be filled out and approved by your studio teacher.  He or she must then forward them via email to the main music office by 2 days before the Performance Seminar.

       Departmental/Performance Seminar Form

Independent Recitals (and not non-degreed)

[These DO NOT count for recital attendance credit.]

Master Classes, Outside Guests, etc. 

[These MAY count for attendance credit.  You will be informed if one does.]

Master Classes are sometimes held with outside performers who come to campus.  These can sometimes count for credit if approved by the main music office ahead of time.

Non-Degreed Recitals

[These MAY count for attendance credit IF the performer works out music faculty presence with the main music office in advance.]

Definition:   A non-degree recital shall be defined as any solo recital presentation not directly required for degree conferral.  Recitals other than those required for degree fulfillment need approval of the applied faculty member and the dean and director of the GSoM.  These are typically performed by students of faculty members but who are not music majors.

Non-degree recitals will be scheduled after all required recitals are scheduled, in the order in which they were received.

Studio Recitals or Classes 

[Generally DO NOT count for credit unless held as a formal recital and approved by main office.] 

Many studio teachers regularly hold recitals or classes for their studio only.  The purpose is to provide frequent, less formal performance opportunities and to impart specific knowledge. 

Recital Attendance Policy/Procedures

(Policy passed 1/29/79, amended 2/27/86 and 9.15.10.  Revised by S. Hillman/S. Plate 7.31.13)

Bachelor of Music (BMus) majors must attend at least 14 recitals per semester and Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) majors must attend at least 10 recitals per semester. It is expected that within these requirements will be all Distinguished Artists performances.  See the “Types of Recitals and Requirements” section for which performances count for recital credit. 

Any student missing a Distinguished Artists performance must make up the concert by attending a significant off-campus concert (Buffalo Philharmonic or Rochester Philharmonic level).  The concert requires prior approval by the director.

Attendance at all faculty recitals is expected.

All recital attendance deficiencies should be made up in the succeeding semester.  Students will receive notification of any deficiencies during the last week of the semester.  Lack of fulfillment of the requirement for 2 consecutive semesters will result in a conference with the director, who shall arrange a suitable method of making up the deficiency in the following semester.

Any student with recital deficiencies will not be allowed to graduate until such deficiencies are made up.  Your diploma and/or graduation WILL BE HELD OR STOPPED if your requirements are not fulfilled.

Normally no more than two recitals attended off-campus shall be credited towards the 14 required recitals, unless approved by the main music office for making  up missing credits.  

Student teachers are excused from recital attendance during the semester of student teaching.

How to Receive Attendance Credit

Programs must be signed by the designated signer (faculty or graduate student) and by the student, in the presence of said signer. You will be emailed weekly with the signer for each performance; graduate students are the primary signers.

  • Students will receive an attendance envelope at the beginning of the semester, and all signed programs should be placed in this envelope. Packets are due in the office by 5 p.m. on the day listed on the envelope; late packets will not be accepted, and we will know if you try to submit after the deadline.
  • Students may receive credit for recitals in which they perform if they perform for the entire recital. If a student's name appears as a performer on the program, he/she should keep the program, sign his/her name with the designation “Performer” below it, circle the name, and submit it for credit as written above.  

    • PERFORMER CREDIT:  Please try to obtain a program if you are performing in an ensemble and wish to receive credit; for recitals in which you perform, you must be listed on the program or you will not receive credit. BE SURE that your name is in the program if you perform, or you won’t receive performer credit; it is your responsibility to check with the person getting them printed. On the packet, fill out the information but write PERFORMER to indicate your participation; rosters will confirm this.

Programs are available 15 minutes before the recital starts and will be removed after it begins. Signing takes place at the end of the recital at the exit and lasts for about 10-15 minutes MAX.  If you wait, and the signer is starting to leave and will no longer sign because you dawdled, then he or she is not held responsible for your lack of credit for the performance.

DO NOT approach the signer during the recital to request a program.  She or he is there to enjoy the concert and will not appreciate interruptions.

DO NOT approach the signer later that evening OR the next day and say, “I forgot to have you sign my program.”  Signers WILL NOT sign them after the 15-minute signing period on the performance evening.  It is your responsibility to get the signature on your way out. If you forget, it’s your problem and you will not receive credit.

Sign ONLY your program IN the presence of the signer.  DO NOT have someone else do it for you.  The faculty members or graduate students will not sign multiple programs for one person, nor will they sign a program that a student has not already signed. 

Recital Dress

Departmental recitals: Varies 

  • Voice Departmental – Sunday best 
  • Others – casual to Sunday best: check with your teachers.

Graduate/Junior/Senior Recitals: Semi-formal 

  • Women: Long or street-length dresses, dress shoes
  • Men: Suits and ties or formal wear, dress shoes

GSOM Performance Seminar:  Business casual (Think about it as you dress for the day.)

Studio:  Casual

Recital Etiquette for Performers and Audience


The recitalist should walk confidently and moderately (to center stage) followed by the accompanist and page-turner (if needed).  The page-turner, if female, may precede the accompanist, if male.  The page-turner may carry the music to the piano. 

The recitalist and accompanist bow graciously to acknowledge the audience applause.  The purpose of the bow is to thank the audience for being present. However, if applause has stopped by the time you reach your position, simply proceed. The recital then begins.

At degree recitals (Graduate/Junior/Senior) bows should be taken after each set as follows:

  • recitalist bows first, then acknowledges accompanist, who stands and both bow and leave, recitalist first, then accompanist and page-turner.


  • recitalist bows, then acknowledges the accompanist who bows seated.  The recitalist bows again and leaves, etc.

The recitalist should choose one of the above procedures, practice it and be consistent.  (Sloppy bows look very unprofessional, and there is no excuse for them).  Plan “A” should ALWAYS occur at an SPS or Departmental recital after the usual one piece performed. 

At a degree recital, if applause is offered after each song, the performer should bow gently, acknowledge the accompanist, and continue.  If you wish, it is appropriate to request that the audience withhold applause until the end of a group.  However, Houghton audiences are fairly well trained.

At the end of a recital, the recitalist bows, acknowledges the accompanist who stands, then both bow and leave, recitalist first, etc.  If the audience calls the recitalist back, he should return with his accompanist and both bow.  If a third call is given, the recitalist should return alone to the stage.


Honor the performer by being prompt.  Be seated before the program is scheduled to begin. If you are unavoidably late, remain in the foyer behind closed doors until the piece being played or sung is completed.  Then be seated in the back (or stand if there are no seats) until a large enough break in the program occurs so that you can take your seat without causing a disturbance.

Turn off cell phones, pagers, and watch alarms before entering the venue.

Do not talk to your neighbor during pieces.  Save comments for between pieces and set or for intermission.  Listeners and performers alike are disturbed by noisy concert-goers.

Applause Guidelines:

  • Polite and gracious applause is normally offered when the performer or conductor first appears on stage.
  • If a piece has several movementslisted on the program, applaud after all movements are completed.
  • If two or more short pieces by the same composer are presented, applaud only after all are completed.
  • If several short pieces by different composers are presented, it is appropriate to applaud after each one unless specifically grouped to indicate no applause.  
  • At the end of the program, applause is offered to indicate appreciation. 
  • When in doubt, wait for more knowledgeable musicians in the audience to begin the applause.

Recital Logistics (Rehearsal Time, Reception, etc.)

At the beginning of the recital semester, the student should reserve rehearsal time in the hall.  If you need to use Houghton Wesleyan Church (typically reserved for students of organ), your recital will need to be on a Thursday evening, typically at 7:30.  For these procedures, please come to the main music office.

A student giving an hour recital is allowed to reserve 5 hours of rehearsal time in the hall; a student giving a half-hour recital is allowed 3 hours.  Choose your hours in consultation with your applied teacher or notify him/her when your choices are made.  REMEMBER, SCHEDULING IS ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS. 

The place of the reception (if one is held) should also be reserved.  For degree recitals, the CFA Adelmann Atrium is normally used.  These MUST be reserved ahead of time (as in a week or more ahead of time) with the main music office. 

Recitals at Houghton Wesleyan Church

Holding a recital at Houghton Wesleyan Church requires a different set of procedures and paperwork. Recitals are typically at 7:30 on Thursdays. Click here for further information.

Advertising the Recital

A student is responsible for his or her own promotional posters, if they are desired.  See the “Recital Preparation Checklist” section for more information. 

An announcement should be placed by the student in the Scoop so that it will appear one week before the program (i.e. submission two weeks before recital).

Other advertising possibilities may exist for use at the student’s own discretion – e.g. hometown newspapers.

Recital Logistics

There is a recital crew that will clear the stage and do basic set up for recitals.  Set changes and set-up changes of any sort should be minimized.  For example, it is permissible for instrumentalists to carry you own music onto the stage and set it on the stand rather having an extra trip by a stage crew member.  Also, if ensemble music is being performed, arrange the stage so that both solo numbers with piano and ensemble numbers can be done without rearranging the stage.  Thanks for your cooperation in this matter. The recital hall risers will be cleared by the paid setup crew. 

FOR ALL STAGE SET-UP NEEDS, please print out the Recital Set-up Form, fill it out, and return it to the main office at least a week in advance.

Reception/Social Aspects  

A STUDENT SHOULD NOT FEEL COMPELLED IN ANY WAY TO GIVE A RECEPTION FOLLOWING HIS RECITAL.  However, if he or she so chooses, the following should be observed:

  • You MUST inform the music office that you are planning on having a reception - the space will NOT be automatically booked for you.
  • The purpose of a reception is to give the performer(s) opportunity to greet and thank guests for being present.  It also allows the performer to relax among friends.  It is wise for the performer to appoint friends or family to help plan and execute the reception.
  • Should there be a 6:30 p.m. recital and an 8:00 recital, the reception for the 6:30 performance will be in the IRH or room 145, whichever is available, in order to keep the atrium quiet for the following recital. 
  • Use of the Faculty Lounge kitchen is allowed for receptions IF the lounge is then cleaned and left in better shape than it was before use. 
  • Etiquette:  

The student should make prior arrangements for someone to open the reception with prayer and serve as host or hostess.  This person should see that the reception is begun upon arrival of the performer(s). 

The host/hostess and the performer should ensure that parents and special guests are escorted through the serving line first.  STUDENT ATTENDEES: take the hint and remember your manners!

Recital Preparation Checklist  

(Copy and print as desired.)

At the beginning of the recital semester:

  1. Reserve rehearsal time
  2. Reserve reception place (if needed)  Should there be 2 recitals that evening, a reception for the first will not be held in the CFA atrium; typically the Instrumental Rehearsal Hall opr CFA 145 will be utilized for this purpose.

Three weeks before the recital:

  1. Prepare the program.  Have it approved by studio teacher and get it to Quick Print
  2. Prepare program notes.  Have them approved by studio teacher.
  3. Take publicity notes to Scoop and any other source. (Scoop announcements will appear 1 week before performance.)
  4. Take poster material to Quick Print to be printed.
  5. Ask someone to serve as stage manager for you.

One or two weeks before the recital:

  1. Pick up and display posters.
  2. Take program & program notes to Quick Print.
  3. Ask someone to open your recital with prayer, Scripture or other suitable method.
  4. Ask friends to usher.

A few (2-3) days before:

  1. Check to see that programs and notes are finished and pick them up.
  2. Attend to any last-minute details.
  3. Give 4 copies of the recital program to the music office 2 days before recital. A recital grade will not be given until this is done.

Recital Programs

Degreed recital programs must follow one of the approved templates (see below) and be printed at Quick Print, at the student’s cost.  These keep programs uniform and within the bounds accepted by our accrediting organizations.  Program notes are REQUIRED (see the Program Notes section for more details).

The approved templates for degree recitals are located at  Program content copy, editing, printing, and distribution is the responsibility of the performer. 

Programs MUST be reviewed and approved by principal teacher THREE WEEKS AHEAD of the recital. ALWAYS proofread the program. If you do not trust your own eyes, ask someone to proof for you. 

The final copy (with program notes) should be taken to Quick Print AT LEAST one week before the recital.

The following statements MUST appear at the bottom of the program.  They are already started on the approved templates:  

  • Bottom of the last page of the program:  “Mr./Miss __________________________, a student of________________  is performing this recital in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts degree in _____________.”

  • Bottom of the program page: “As a courtesy to the performers and your fellow audience members, please be certain that all cell phones, watch alarms, and pagers are either turned off or set for silent operation.  Flash photography can be very disconcerting to performers and is not permitted during the performance. Thanks for your cooperation.”

Approved Recital Templates Page

Program Notes

Program notes are required for all degree recitals.  Program notes should be a concise aid to the listener, not a scholarly dissertation.  These program notes constitute a formal part of the recital and are subject to recital grading procedures. 

A vocalist should also provide a translation or paraphrase of all songs sung in a foreign language. Care must be taken to observe copyright laws concerning translations or paraphrases. (Mere translations are not program notes in themselves.)  Instrumentalists may wish to provide information of an historical or musical nature. 

The student assumes the cost of having program notes reproduced at Quick Print (basement of Campus Center).

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