♬♪ The snow lay on the ground, the stars shone bright... ♫♩
There are Christmas carols playing in the supermarkets. I can't believe it's that time of the year. There's definitely no snow, but there are lots – and lots – of stars. And they are all ready to shine at our End-of-Year Concert!
The year has flown by and now it's almost over. Our students have been busy preparing their performances for the Concert, which is less than three weeks away. It's a big moment in their lives and as it comes closer, they are excited and nervous. Both are good.
There are so many reasons why performance should be a big part of learning music.
Performance gives children a focus and an extra purpose for all the practice they do to be better musicians. A specific performance event improves concentration, and it's a great motivator.
When so many things are 'instant', preparing for a performance also highlights an important concept: achieving something worthwhile takes time, and persistence.
And when the work is done, playing before an audience also teaches children the discipline of public presentation. With a 'job to do', playing time isn't playtime.
It almost goes without saying that performing is great for self-confidence and the pride of achieving a goal. When parents and teachers are there to share it and offer their encouragement, applause and congratulations, the positive effect is enormous.
And in older children especially, performance is one of the ways they learn to assess what they do well and make improvements.
And let's not forget one of the main things. Performing is fun! The buzz and excitement – for the children, their parents, and their teachers – are like nothing else. You can feel it in the air.
I've seen so many amazing things this year, and I could spend a week telling you about all the students, but in our galaxy of little stars, here are just two examples.
Chantelle came to me as a 4 year-old who really wanted to play the piano but hadn't found a teacher who could talk to her in the way a 4 year-old understands. I could tell instantly she had a musical gift and I knew that after some fun music games, involving play dough, and lots of laughs, she would be playing piano in no time.
I was right. Eight weeks later, Chantelle played in her first concert. She introduced herself to an audience of over 100 people, then played the most beautiful version of Mary's Rockin' Pets I have ever heard. Her performance finished with a heart-melting curtsy and massive applause from the audience.
Fast forward six months. In the Concert, Chantelle will perform a much more difficult piece. She practises for about an hour by herself, every day, because she just loves it!
Finn is 7 years old and very shy. Performing can be overwhelming, and Finn finds it difficult, but has already done it three times this year – and brilliantly! He composes his own beautiful pieces and will perform one of them in the Concert. I'm so excited for everyone to hear it! It gives me goose bumps.
These children have come such a long way. Their progress has been about the love of piano, daily practice, lots of fun, and plenty of support from their families.... OK, perhaps a little bit of teaching too ;)
I'm really looking forward to watching every one of our little musicians perform their pieces at the Concert. As teachers, we always watch with a sense of pride, but we are constantly amazed, too, at how far they have come.
So, be amazed too. Come out and see the stars!
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Bulleen Baptist Church