As the snow starts to melt away, band and orchestra students have begun to perfect and plan a showcase highlighting their budding talent. Spring concerts dates begin to grow closer, seemingly at a rapid rate! Remember, this is a very exciting time for kids! All of their hard work and practice during the semester is about to pay off, and they can’t wait to make you proud!
Concert season can also mean hectic days of last-minute obstacles. It can cause panicked nerves, stage fright, and general exhaustion. We know that a tired and cranky kid is the last thing anyone would want! Rest assured, parents, you can easily navigate and prepare your young musicians. It all starts with some strategic planning. We have some excellent preparation tips to help make your child stay motivated from rehearsals to final curtain. Read on for our exclusive concert guide
Parents: the countdown to go time starts with you. The key to managing your child’s musical endeavors is to get organized, and stay that way! This helps you, as a parent, to stay calm, collected, and in control. About two months prior, schedule some time to go explore the venue with your child. It really helps to know what the place looks like, so you and your child do not feel intimidated and overwhelmed. Next, learn where your child is expected to be, and when! You may find it helpful to maintain a small planner to keep everything convenient. Take note of all rehearsal times. It is necessary that you prepare yourself mentally knowing there are often last-minute changes to practice times. Be sure to grab any available cell phone numbers from the instructor so you can stay in the loop.
Know the Dress Code
Most concerts include a costume or required attire for the event. During the months of planning, your child could grow out of something or the instructor may make changes. We highly recommend a brief, weekly dress rehearsal in your living room. This helps you see how the uniform looks and if your child is comfortable in it, which is s so important.
If something is too tight or too loose, too hot, too cool or itchy, your child will be unable to concentrate on his or her performance. Make sure that they can comfortably bend, stand, walk, hold their instrument, and move their arms above their head. Don’t forget to make extra sure they can easily get the uniform off to use the restroom! Especially if you have a younger child. For your little ones, practice using the bathroom while in costume, ahead of time, so you avoid accidents!
Perform an inspection over the uniform every week for stray threads, loose buttons, seams, sequins, and zippers. Doing this will ensure that come day of the show, there will be no mishaps. If you have kids, then you know that it is inevitable that something will go wrong or go missing at the very last moment. Solve this ahead of time by creating an emergency repair kit. All you need is a travel bag or backpack. Include replicas of buttons, a sewing kit, a small glue gun and glue sticks, a hair brush/combs, hairspray, safety pins in various sizes, extra underwear, socks, and tights. While you are at it, pack some snacks, just in case! Keep it simple with packages of crackers, pretzels, and bottled water.
Most importantly, make sure you are taking time for yourself to breathe and to rest. Remember to keep yourself hydrated. You can’t run on just coffee alone! The night before, have them shower/bathe. Doing this the night before allows for time during the day to navigate through each phase. Then send everyone to bed a few hours early, so you can make changes or adjustments to uniforms with some peace and quiet. Your child is also going to need this extra rest in order to be at their very best anyways.
Prepare Your Child
We have all heard the old adage that ‘practice makes perfect.’ As it turns out, practice is not beneficial unless it is consistently occurring. If your child waits to get serious about his performance until weeks before, he will be nervous. Make sure your child delivers a performance they are proud of! Practice needs to occur regularly, many months ahead of time. You’ve invested in the instrument, but you can’t forget some other invaluable tools, totally worth your investment. It would be beneficial to keep your young musician on track with a metronome. Check out the Snark Touch Metronome. The features and digital interface are easy to use for small hands! Maximize your child’s playing level with a proper tuner! The Ortega Sea Devil features a large, colorful digital display that is easy to read.
Your child should know what music they will be playing, inside and out. Head over to YouTube to look up recordings of the piece. Have your child pay extra attention to being able to hear dynamics, tempo changes, and flawless tone quality. The more you listen to what a band or musician should sound like, the closer his playing will get to that standard.
Inspect the Instrument
Next up, give your child’s instrument a close look. If your child has exhibited improving playing quality, it’s probably time to upgrade from beginner instrument to a step up piece. The more advanced the instrument, the more expressive they can be.
Consequently, your child should be regularly performing maintenance on their instrument. Express the importance of this responsibility to your child. This will teach them to appreciate everything music has to offer. By taking care of something like an instrument, the more intimately the child will be familiar with it and therefore, able to play at higher standards. Please note that certain instruments may need to take a trip to a professional tuner or cleaner. Get the instrument squared away in time for show time!
Pay Attention to Posture
Last of all, ensure your child’s posture and endurance are up to standard. Listen to them play, make corrections when necessary. Help them to sit up straight, and breathe through their tummies. Establish this with time and patience. Make sure your child is able to understand when they need rest or to take a break as needed.
We really hope that you were able to find some useful tips in this article. If you ever have more questions or concerns, please do not be afraid to seek out guidance from a professional musician in your community or ask for extra one on one time from your child’s instructor. Don’t forget to pull out all the stops with cameras (no flash please!) and video recording. You will want to remember all the special moments along with the chaotic ones. After all, that’s showbiz!