The Freelance Performer's Resource
I think that, ideally, recitals should have at least that minimum audience to give the full experience for the performer, but students shouldn't be punished if they don't have a good turn-out. I don't remember many having that problem at Ithaca College, partially because there was a required number of recitals or concerts that students had to attend each semester.
I don't know about requiring an audience size to make it "count" as a recital (would you have to perform it again if not enough people showed up?), but my undergrad required students to attend 15 concerts/recitals a semester. Some people put them off and ended up attending nearly everything their final year, but most kept up with it pretty well.I used to think this was a dumb idea, a waste of time, but that changed as I got used to it. I like it for a few different reasons: 1) it forces you to hear music you probably wouldn't listen to anyway (trumpeters go to flute recitals, jazzers go to orchestra concerts, etc.) & you can find out about good rep that way; 2) it somewhat guarantees an audience, rather than just a studio teacher and a small group of friends and family; 3) you can learn a lot from expanding your repertoire and watching other people perform; 4) it gets you out of the house, away from the TV or computer, away from the practice room (even for just an hour) and let's you see what your peers are accomplishing.The problem I see at my current school is that the music department is very large and there are numerous concerts & recitals every day of the week (sophomore & junior vocal recitals have to be held at the 11 am hour in order to get recital hall space, for example). Because of this, and the number of commitments music students have, turnout is low, even at large ensemble (top bands and orchestras) concerts.
Andrei, I definitely agree that space is a common issue of most schools. Some students have to do recitals at unfortunate times like Easter day, or finals weeks, which prevents many people from coming. Rebecca, I agree that it would be too much to punish students who don't have enough audience members. I don't think it is much of a problem at the undergrad level. When it comes to grad levels when students are required to do multiple recitals in a few years, I've seen some people thinking of their recitals as just a requirement, and not advertising or telling people about the recital. So maybe requiring students to make flyers and make it public might be a start.
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