Twice a year we gather together for our “Concert”. This is a fun, relaxed KIDS ONLY event. The students have already started to pick out a piece that is a favorite. We have discussed what they will be playing, and I have encouraged them to keep practicing their performance piece. Memorizing the piece is absolutely not necessary and in some cases can be a set-up for disappointment. We have a Boys Concert and a Girls Concert. When the students arrive on the big day, my living room has been rearranged for performing. The lid to the piano is up and a microphone set up so they may each announce the name of their piece.
The prospect of a performance is a very personal experience. There have been times when my most quiet student gets the microphone in his hand and suddenly becomes a stand-up comic. On the other hand, my most serious student can become very critical of her own performance. Some people love to perform at the piano and others do not. This is not a testimony to their talent. This is a very delicate balance and an experience that can truly stay with you for a long time. My goal is to make this fun. I encourage students to pick a piece that they can be successful performing. If someone decides they do no want to perform, I encourage them and give them ample opportunity to change their mind during the event. If they decide not to perform at one concert, they have always performed at the next opportunity.
After everyone has performed, we celebrate with cookies, hot cocoa and a bit of a holiday movie. This little celebration gives me an opportunity to spread congratulations and give encouragement. I will apologize now if their appetite for dinner is not perfect, but I hope they will be leaving with a smile and a nice memory.