Christmas Break? How about Christmas concerts

This time of year, the kids are excited, charged up and ready to have their Christmas break at school. They are ready to lay down the stresses of school and take in some movies, cookies, and hot chocolate. Those things are absolutely essential for a great Christmas break. Yet sometimes in the midst of holiday schedules, it’s easy to forget to have your child practice their instrument.

During this break, though, you have a unique way to encourage your family musician by asking them to play Christmas carols for Christmas Eve dinner with family and friends or even Christmas morning! When I was in grade school starting out, my parents always asked us (3 brothers playing trombone, trumpet and drums) to take our instruments on our vacation. As a kid, I kind of drug my trombone to the car, but once we were there and I was able to play for my grandparents…I loved it! Everyone of your musician’s method books have carol melodies in them and by this time of year I’m sure you’ve heard them play them over and over…and over again. You can also find simple melodies through google by searching “Easy Christmas Carols for (fill in the instrument of choice)”. Look under the images tab and print the jpeg or have your student play off an iPad.

When your child shares Christmas concerts during the break, you’ll see 3 advantages:

Maintain Musicianship

Christmas Concerts for family and friends will keep their skills developing. Most students go into these breaks and lay down their music practice. When you take a break for too long you start to lose the development of muscle memory and your motor skills weaken. Simple practice for these concerts will keep their motor skills moving on their instruments and their voices stronger. A bonus is that it could propel them forward in their chorus or band class in the new year.

Provide Encouragement

Christmas Concerts allow family to become part of their music education journey. I know these days we live in a digital age where everything can be seen “Live” but nothing compares to being in the room for a concert. Those grandparents and relatives in from out of town will get their own personal live, in person, concert where they then will cheer and clap loudly. What an encouragement to your musician, to have those that love them cheer them on wildly!

Develop Confidence

Christmas Concerts will build their self-esteem and confidence. This is probably the most important result of having your musician perform concerts. In school, they play or sing in ensembles and that is a very good thing to do. However, they need safe opportunities to perform solo concerts for people who love them. For a musician to perform a solo, it helps to elevate their level of musicianship. They learn how to process their nerves; be fully aware of the quality (timbre and strength) of sound they are producing and they develop courage to stand up alone in front of people.

So in the midst of the “fun” break activities, let’s look for ways to give our growing musicians opportunities to continue their great success! Put out the cookies and hot chocolate and make a special place in your home for your musician to have great Christmas Concerts that will be fun for the whole family!

Contributor Dan Mullis is the Minister of Instrumental Music of the Dawson Family of Faith.