It’s finally Springtime and for me that means only one thing – annual concert time!
Once Easter is over and the clocks have changed we have an extra hour of daylight in the evening, yeay! One more hour to run outside and not practice!! I love to see the kids outside and in the fresh air at this time of year although it inevitably leads to less practice time. I suggest to parents at this time to try and get some practice done in the morning before school, especially when the weather is holding up. It’s really so difficult to keep practice a positive experience when you’re pulling them in from outside. I remember trying to be as far away up the village on our bikes or down at the pitch playing camogie or rounders in the evenings so that my parents couldn’t call me in to practice!!
The teacher in me wants to get loads done this term but I know it’s best to get the annual concert done now before all the distractions set in. To prepare for a concert, here are some tips I like to use:
- Learn how to behave at a concert! This is a biggie for me. I do this in my group classes very often. The kids need to learn to how be the audience as well as the performer. We need to lead by example and for some of the kids it may well be their first concert experience. The older kids need to learn to respect others and listen to all of the other performances.
- Concert practice at home: Concert pieces should be rehearsed at home as soon as possible. It’s always a good idea to practice in the order that they will be in the concert, and not forgetting the introduction.
- Cd listening: Every year no matter how many times I warn about it, there is always someone who is thrown by the piano accompaniment and it tells me straight away who is listening to their CD. If you have a slowed down CD, try playing along with it for extra practice.
- The three repetitions: I like to do this myself and it’s such a good tip. Practice a piece three times in a row. The first time looking only at your fingers, the second looking only at your bow, and the third with your eyes closed! The third time is interesting!
- Practice with distraction: I did this in my most recent group classes. I spoke to the children about all the distractions that can happen at a concert and to practice focusing I put on a piece of music on my speakers in the background and we played our own piece simultaneously! The kids were great actually and for the most part managed to focus.
These are just some of the things we can do to get ready for the concert and there are so so so many more which we may revisit next month when I prepare my students for solo performances.
The annual concert is always a lot of fun. Chaotic, but fun. There are so many children involved that apart from the music programme there is quite a lot of organisation involved. I’ve to think ahead to the order of the performances and students groups so that there is a smooth transition between them and there isn’t too much moving about with chairs, cellos, millions of violins etc.
Wish me luck!