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Last weekend we hosted our first-ever singing performance for kids! If you have been following my blog you probably know that our singing studio in Auckland was for many years a studio exclusively for adults. In the last few years, however, due to a lot of demand from parents, we opened a singing program for kids in Auckland as well which has brought a lot of fun to the studio! Offering singing for kids in Auckland has been a great, but due to the pandemic, we hadn’t been able to do a showcase until this year.
Organising a singing performance for kids is quite different from organising a performance for adults. There are some basics, however, that remains the same for both age groups:
As I have mentioned in previous articles, one of the challenges of singing is that when we are just starting we do so with an instrument that is more wired to be in ‘alarm mode’, which sets up the body for functions different from singing.
Is for this reason that singing at home when you are relaxing seems way easier than singing in front of anyone. Suddenly you might start feeling something stuck in your throat when you try to sing a song you know well, for other people. When we perform on stage these feelings are enhanced by the fact that there are quite a few people (even if it is a small audience), and that we are directly being observed. We fear (consciously or subconsciously) that we will be judged and this activates our alarm system – ironically making it harder for us to sing.
For that reason when we are organising a performance at Auckland Contemporary Singing School we work really hard to make sure we provide an environment that feels as friendly and non-judgemental as possible. Even if it is still nerve-wracking for first-time performers, if the environment feels safe it will be a great experience that they will remember and associate with something positive and fun.
We definitely want to create a positive association with music and performing! And that is true for both our adult students and singing students.
In the studio, I am in charge of all the adult students, training them to become contemporary singers from a holistic approach, so it is the age group where I spent most of my teaching time. Very often I get adults that are terrified of singing, and when I enquire there is always a bad experience associated with that. A family member that laughed at them when they were singing as children, a cruel choir director, etc – there is always a negative experience that created that anxiety and left it there for DECADES.
Therefore, we do need to create a positive, friendly and of course, supportive environment where the child can associate singing with an enjoyable activity.
Preparing our first-ever singing showcase for kids didn’t come without challenges! And one of them was expected: getting the children to be ready for the concert! In this day and age, we are all busy and parents can’t be all day following their children insisting on them practicing. Equally, we as teachers provide everything the student needs to practice but ultimately, even at a young age, it ends up being their responsibility to do the practice. We can’t practice for them!
So it is important to start developing “performer responsibility” from a young age. Some of our younger students will very probably keep on going for many years, and some of them might become professionals as well. So building performer responsibility is a skill that students have to develop and that will be useful in many areas of their lives.
If you help your child get ready for the performance with those tips, you will be avoiding many stressful moments and you will be helping your child enjoy and have the time of their life performing! And more importantly, you will be helping them grow in confidence which will help them in all areas of their life now and in the future 🙂
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