Including a Piano Performance in Your Holiday Gathering

Christmas is less than a month away already, and that means this next month will be filled with parties, dinners & gatherings. These can be an excellent time for your piano kid to share some music with friends & family. Today I've got 5 tips to make this an experience that entertains your guests while building the confidence of your piano kid. 

1. Have fun! - Let this be lighthearted and celebratory. Whether you're all sitting quietly to listen to the music, or they are playing background music to your family meal or time together, let the spirit in the room be fun, lighthearted, & filled with encouragement.

2. Make it rewarding - Applaud when they are done, and give them lots of hugs, love and appreciation when they've finished. Want to make it a bit more rewarding? Put out a tip jar and let family members who appreciate the performance drop in pieces of candy, small toys or some cash/coins that your child can enjoy when their performance is finished. Music is a gift, but musicians also have to eat. A tangible reward can teach your piano kid that what they're learning has potential value, it is a way to earn goods - or even a living down the road.

3. Singalong - One excellent way to demonstrate the social value of what we learn in piano lessons is to have your family singalong to your piano kid's music. This does require a fairly confident young pianist, or a flexible group of singers, so that everyone can stay together. An added bonus is that this provides an early experience in accompanying vocalists, which let's be honest, any professional pianist does a LOT of this. 

4. Take ownership - Have your piano kid take ownership of their performance by choosing the order of their pieces, writing up a program & introducing each piece before they play it. Planning it out beforehand also helps them mentally prepare instead of being put on the spot. If they need a little assistance, I know for a fact that piano teachers love to help with this kind of thing. ;-)

5. Play a duet or ensemble - if you have another musician in the family who would like to join in on the performance, let them! If Grandma knows how to read music and can play the teacher duet part great, if a cousin plays the violin and wants to take a turn doing a solo, awesome. Give them a chance to practice once or twice before everyone is watching, and let them have fun performing together. Piano practice & lessons can sometimes be a lonely experience. But when we play with other musicians, it is intrinsically rewarding, and we can be inspired & motivated to continue learning. 

If you try out any of these ideas for putting together a holiday performance, I'd love to hear about it!

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