Section 8: Recital Policies and Guidelines

Music Student Handbook

Section Contents

Required and Optional Recitals

All music majors are required to present at least a partial recital as part of their senior capstone experience (MUS 390). In addition, students completing the Honors in Performance program are required to perform at least a partial junior recital and a full senior recital. Additional details about Honors in Performance and the Senior Music Major Capstone Experience can be found in Section 10.D and Section 10.F, respectively. Non-majors are encouraged to consider presenting Informal Recitals or a shared or solo Junior/Senior recital.


Student Recitals: Policy and Practice

Music students at Gustavus who wish to present a recital in Björling Recital Hall, Christ Chapel, or Youngdahl Organ Studio must do so under the auspices of the Department of Music. All performances and presentations in these " official" sites represent the quality of study and scholarship within the Department and are hence subject to departmental guidelines. Reservations for these recital venues are coordinated through the Office of Fine Arts, which is responsible for staffing and other arrangements.

Any recital or performance is viewed as part of the performance-study learning process (See: Departmental Performance Philosophy in Section 6). In every case, the recitalist must be registered for applied lessons with a Department of Music faculty member and must work with this instructor to prepare the full or shared recital program.

Recital options include Friday Afternoon Voice Recitals, Saturday Morning Recitals, shared Junior-Senior Recitals, and full Senior Recitals. Friday Afternoon Voice Recitals are formal recitals required of all voice students. Saturday Morning Recitals serve several functions including extended time slots for joint recitals, shared sophomore recital sets, and Informal Recital presentations. Junior-Senior Recitals feature experienced individual performers in extended settings. With the exception of Friday Afternoon Voice Recitals and Saturday Morning recitals, all student recitals will be held on Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM, or 7:30 PM.

A reasonable number of previous performance experiences should precede a recital. Once approved for a recital, the student will consult with the Office of Fine Arts to finalize the publicity, programs, and audio recording for their recital. The Office of Fine Arts will help the student produce printed programs that meet Department of Music specifications.

The following audition considerations and guidelines should be observed when planning a recital:

  • To be eligible for any partial or full recital the student should have performed in multiple studio classes and area seminars, and in two Monday Night Recitals (or Saturday Morning Recitals) during two different semesters prior to the audition date. Voice students may substitute one Friday Afternoon Voice Recital performance for one of the Monday Night Recital requirements.
  • The individual instructor is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the recital presented under his or her guidance. Three weeks prior to the recital the teacher must have heard the entire program and must give signed formal approval to the Office of Fine Arts.
  • Informal Recitals are presented on several designated Saturday mornings each semester. These are recital opportunities for venues that are less formal and less structured. Students are responsible for their own publicity, stage crew, etc.
  • Persons wishing to complete the Honors in Performance program will find detailed information about auditions, committees, and recitals under Honors Programs in Section 10.D this handbook.


Specific Recital Guidelines

Saturday Morning Recitals

Saturday Morning Recitals serve two purposes: first (Formal Recitals), they provide a performance outlet for individual students who have generally already appeared on a Monday Night Recital or chamber ensembles with literature that requires a longer time slot than that allowed in the Monday Night format; secondly, they provide an outlet for students wishing to present an Informal Recital. The following are guidelines for Saturday Morning Recitals:

  • Formal Recitals
    • These recitals provide a formal performance opportunity for students enrolled in applied lessons or chamber ensembles. All students are invited to attend this recital series in support of their friends and colleagues. Families and friends are also welcome.
    • These recitals are viewed as part of the performance-study learning process (See: Departmental Performance Philosophy in Section 6). In every case, the recitalist must be registered for lessons with a Gustavus faculty member and work with that instructor to prepare literature; in the case of ensembles, the group must be regularly working under the direction of a faculty member.
    • These performances are intended to include the best efforts of the department. Performers are required to have had multiple performance experiences in studio classes and area seminars prior to their Saturday Morning Recital experience.
    • There are a limited number of Saturdays each semester, so students and teachers are encouraged to plan ahead. Designated Saturday Morning Recital dates are posted outside the Department of Music Office. Students sign up there and take the appropriate form from the box on the wall or print a copy from the website. Completed Saturday Morning Recital Sign-Up Forms should be submitted to the Music Office by noon on the Friday eight days prior to the recital date.
    • The total recital is limited to 50 minutes of music, so the general individual time limit is 16 minutes for a three-person shared recital. If a two-person recital is planned, the limit extends to 24 minutes of music per person.
    • Programs will be prepared by the Music Office and will follow departmental guidelines. Dress and stage deportment should be appropriate to a public performance situation.
    • All equipment (stands, chairs, etc.) is to be placed on stage before the recital begins and will remain on stage until the recital concludes.
    • A Saturday Morning Recital appearance can substitute for one of the Monday Night Recital appearances which are prerequisite for more extensive recitals. It may also substitute for an end-of-semester audition; however, policies may differ between performance areas.
  • Informal Recitals
    • Alternative performance possibilities for music students include recitals of an informal nature. These generally shared Informal Recitals may be presented on several designated Saturday mornings each semester in Saturday Morning Recitals. Students may reserve a date on the forms posted outside the Department of Music Office. These are not official departmentally endorsed events, but rather are performance outlets in response to the occasional need for a venue that is less formal and less structured for a given performer. The Music Office will prepare and print the program, but students will be responsible for their own publicity, stage crew, etc.
    • Informal Recital dates are requested by signing up on the chart outside of the Music Department Office.
    • Consent of the applied instructor(s) is required.
    • The total recital length will not exceed 60 minutes; 50 minutes of music is recommended to bring the entire recital within the one-hour time frame.
    • An intermission will not be scheduled unless the instructor identifies unusual circumstances that necessitate a pause.
    • Posters are the responsibility of the recitalist(s).
    • Saturday Morning Recitals will be recorded by the Office of Fine Arts staff.
    • The soloist and his or her accompanist should arrange at least one coaching session(s) with the department's supervisor of accompanying (Prof. Esther Wang,
    • Dress and stage deportment should be appropriate to the public performance situation; these issues should be discussed with the instructor as part of the standard preparation for the recital.
    • All equipment (stands, chairs, etc.) should be left on stage for the entire recital.
    • Questions about the Informal Recitals should be directed to the Chair of the Department.

Junior/Senior Recitals

  • Formal Junior or Senior Recitals (shared or solo) may be presented Friday evenings, Saturday or Sunday afternoons, or Saturday or Sunday evenings. (See below for information about programming, reserving a recital date, printed programs, scheduling rehearsals, and special equipment)
  • The soloist and his or her accompanist should arrange at least one coaching session(s) with the department's supervisor of accompanying (Prof. Esther Wang,
  • Dress and stage deportment should be appropriate to the public performance situation; these issues should be discussed with the instructor as part of the standard preparation for the recital.
  • All equipment (stands, chairs, etc.) should be left on stage for the entire recital. This includes unused stage pianos.


The following considerations and guidelines should be observed when selecting literature and programming the recital:

  • Programs should not exceed 50 minutes of music. No intermissions are to be scheduled and no encores are to be added.
  • It is quite appropriate to include chamber music or ensemble works as part of the program.
  • Posters may be made and distributed by the Office of Fine Arts with student consultation. Students may also elect to design their own posters that remain within standard size and text guidelines and reflect good taste.
  • Matters of stage decorum and dress are an essential component of recital preparation. The instructor and student should discuss these things before the performance and arrive at appropriate decisions as to what will be worn. Stage presence is very important to overall effect, so entrances, bows, etc. bear consideration beforehand.
  • The movement of equipment during recitals should be kept to an absolute minimum. For example, if a stand and chair need to be removed to clear the stage, consider putting them behind the piano rather than off-stage.

Reserving a Recital Date

The following considerations and guidelines should be observed when selecting and reserving a recital date:

  • Recitals are to take place during the regular fourteen-week fall or spring semesters or during the four-week January term. No recitals may be scheduled after the last day of class in any academic term.
  • Recitals may be scheduled only at the following times: Friday at 7:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM, 3:30 PM, and 7:30 PM. Normally, no more than two events will be scheduled on the same day, but a third recital may need to be added at peak times during the semester.
  • Students may not reserve fall recital dates until after May 15 of the previous spring semester. Spring recital dates may not be reserved before the October meeting for majors or before November 1 for non-majors. However, all spring semester recitals must be scheduled by January 10. Ensemble and guest artist scheduling takes priority over student solo recitals.
  • A $30.00 reservation fee is to be paid at the time a recital date is reserved. It will be refunded after the recital is presented. If the recital is cancelled, the reservation fee will be refunded only if the Office of Fine Arts is notified of the cancellation no later than six weeks ahead of time.
  • Students who wish to give more than one recital in any academic year (rare) may not schedule them more closely than six months apart, and scheduling of the second date will take lowest priority (after other students have had the opportunity to choose their recital date).

Printed Programs

The Office of Fine Arts will print and distribute recital programs for student solo and shared recitals that follow the official format approved by the Department of Music. Please note the following regarding printed programs:

  • Each program will include a statement that identifies the year and major of the performer as well as the faculty member with whom the student studies. For example, “ John Smith is a junior majoring in Mathematics with a minor in Music. He is a student of Professor Jane Johnson.”
  • Students are encouraged to include song texts and translations. Faculty should assist students in finding and selecting the best available translation.
  • Music majors see the subsection titled “ Integrated Assessment” in Section 10.F (Senior Music Major Capstone Experience) regarding historical and analytical information included in a recital. Any additions to the above texts must be prepared by the student at his or her own expense and can be distributed with the programs.

Scheduling Rehearsals

Pianists preparing a full recital may reserve up to four hours of practice time in Björling Recital Hall during the three weeks prior to the recital. Other recitalists are allowed to reserve up to two hours of practice time in the hall. Students also may practice in the hall when it is not reserved (generally during late evenings and weekends) on a first-come, first-served basis. All should be sensitive to the many people needing time in the hall and should make every effort to not monopolize the facility. Pianists are asked to observe that the nine-foot concert grand piano needs to be kept in top performing condition and so it is not to be used for routine practicing, only for polishing pieces that are close to being performance-ready. For recitals in the Chapel, rehearsal time is subject to similar policy. Christ Chapel space is reserved through the Chaplain's Office.

Special Equipment

In addition to recording all recitals, the Office of Fine Arts will provide basic technical assistance for all student recitals (not including dress rehearsals). While the student may request a microphone for the in-house sound system, there is no available support for additional microphones, media playback, instrument amplification, or special lighting from the Office of Fine Arts. Any additional equipment or technical support is the responsibility of the student. Pianos not used in the recital are to be left on the stage.

Senior Capstone Recitals

All Music Majors are required to complete a Senior Capstone Project (MUS 390) that includes at least a partial recital. For guidelines, see Section 10.F.

Concerto-Aria Competition Audition Information for 2012-13

Time and Place
Concerto/Aria Competition will be held on a Monday Monday Night Recital during February in Björling Recital Hall.
The competition will not be open to the public.

The competition is open to all Gustavus Adolphus College students currently enrolled in applied
lessons. Students must consult with their applied teachers and must have the permission of their
applied teachers to enter in the competition. Winners of the preceding year will not be eligible, but will be for the following year. Students must complete and turned in the Concerto/Aria
Competition form into Dr. Lin by the posted deadline..

Students should select a concerto or aria written for solo instruments or voice(s) with orchestral
accompaniment approved by their applied teacher. Competition and performance time is limited
to 15 minutes. Students may choose to perform either the entire work or selected movement(s) for
the competition. Senior students who are also auditioning for the Senior Honor’ s Recital must
chose a different selection for the concerto/aria competition. Longer works may be considered on
an individual basis. There is no memorization requirement though individual applied instructors
may require memorization at their own discretion. Please note that a winner maybe ask to
perform a different piece based upon factors such as availability of the performing
materials and the level of difficulty. Soloists are responsible for bringing three copies of the
solo part to the competition for the judges. (photocopies are acceptable) Judges may choose to
hear all or any part of the piece.

Soloists are required to have appropriate accompaniment for the competition. GAC provides a
professional accompanist who will play two brief rehearsals and the competition for students in
need of an accompanist. Please contact Esther Wang ( x7361) for more
details. Otherwise, students can arrange for student accompanists.

Three judges will be selected on the basis of musical credentials as well as the potential to render
an unbiased decision. The judges may designate as many as 3 winners. Comment sheets for all
soloists will be made available after the competition.

The winner(s) of the Concerto/Aria competition will appear in concert with the Gustavus
Symphony Orchestra on in the Season Music Finale in May. Soloist(s)
must be available for rehearsals with the orchestra on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30-8:20PM
in the spring semester. Soloist(s) are also expected to continue enrollment in applied lessons in
the spring semester and work closely with their applied teacher in preparation for their

Senior Honors Recital Audition Information

The Senior Honors Recital audition is held in March in Björling Recital Hall or Christ Chapel. This live audition, with each participant performing 7-10 minutes of music, is open to seniors who: 1) have performed on a Monday Night Recital, Friday Afternoon Recital, or solo Chapel performance within the current school year, 2) are currently studying with or under the guidance of a music faculty member, 3) have consulted their instructor before making plans to audition, and 4) are ready to present the pieces(s) as ready for performance. The sign-up sheet is posted on the Department of Music Office bulletin board in early March. Program information is turned in to the Office of Fine Arts.

This one audition is the sole basis for the selection process. The music faculty members score and rank all auditionees on common performance criteria such as tone quality, intonation, rhythmic integrity, articulation/diction, technical accuracy, dynamics, phrasing, style, musicality, overall effectiveness, and stage presence. The selection of recital literature is the responsibility of the student in consultation with their instructor. It is expected that the literature be representative of fine music for the medium and that it will allow the auditionee to demonstrate his or her musical skills. The choice of literature itself is not considered alone in the scoring, yet remains an obvious element for auditionees to consider. The repertoire to be performed on the recital must be the same as the repertoire performed in the audition. The faculty reserves the right to modify the length of the performance for the recital. Auditionees demonstrating the highest level of musical excellence at this audition will be chosen to appear in the Senior Honors Recital.

Revised: September, 2014