For me, this November is all about concerts in schools. I know there are other things to focus on in November – Remembrance Day is there (don’t forget that). There’s that silly horse race too – but that passed me by. If I was in the States, avoiding gun shots (but don’t take away their guns… it’s their right), I’d be celebrating Thanksgiving. But for this little black duck, it’s all about school concerts.
I was talking to a few teachers about it. “Oh, the kids don’t know if it’s any good. It’s just great they get up and ‘have a go’. It’ll be fine.”
Actually, I heartily disagree. Kids DO know if they are any good. Maybe not so much in kindergarten, where just getting the little people I teach on stage not looking terrified is a big step. But by about year 2, they do know. And the older they get, the more they know.
I’m not sure if the parents know if the item is any good or not. Haven’t spoken to many parents about that part. But I’ve spoken to a lot of kids about it. They know if they nail it. They know if it works.
And my job (well, as I see it, anyway…) is to make kids feel better about themselves. Which means that I try to get them to perform as best as they can in their school concert. Because they walk off stage feeling a million dollars. It means I put 150% into my teaching in the 6 weeks leading up to the concert. It means I need help from class teachers getting kids ready. It means I put in longer hours drawing maps where each child will stand, and drill them in how they get out their chime bars, or hold up their drumsticks.
Because it matters, you know. Near enough isn’t good enough. Because kids know. And if I demand focus and commitment from them in a music lesson, they can demand that from me.