Walking on. And walking off again.

I do a lot of performing with kids. Well, I used to. It’s all ramping up again, post-COVID. And something I do a LOT with them is practising walking on to the performance place (usually a stage), and walking off again.

It usually goes like this…. The kids line up. Sometimes it’s in height order. Sometimes it’s dependant on what they are playing, or singing. There will be strong musicians at the end of each line. There will be kids that are more confident at the start of a row.

Then we practise lining up outside the space. Holding instruments correctly and quietly. Walking on. With quiet feet. Quickly, but not in a hurry. Silently, if possible.

Then they practise ‘being’ on stage. Where are they looking? They may not wave at the audience. They may not wriggle. They have a way to stand, or sit, or kneel.

Then they practise walking off. And I do this 5 or 6 times. Teachers know what they need to do. It’s run with military precision. (Interestingly, then they tend to perform better too….)

I was talking with someone the other day and they were lamenting that they had seen something where the kids didn’t do this. And it got me wondering…. Would those little people have the best chance of success then? Would they be proud of what they had done? Would they even enjoy it?

It’s not hard getting kids to do line up and walk on and off. It’s time-consuming. You have to be bossy (comes easily to some…!!). But then, as kids get older, they do it well. Their posture is excellent. They are proud. They are confident. And this permeates through in other ways – how they speak in front of people, how they navigate situations on their own…

Isn’t that what we want for our little people? Don’t we want them to be proud and confident? So why is this often forgotten?