I have had to run a lot of concerts this term. And I have mixed feelings about them. They are an enormous amount of work. They disrupt class time, with extra rehearsals. They are a huge amount of pressure and extra work for me. But they are also hugely important. So much goes on that isn’t just about the playing, or singing, or drumming, or whatever is being performed.
There’s all the other stuff that I see too…. The pride that consumes kids as they achieve. As they nail a really tricky section. The moment they realise that what they are singing sounds excellent. The fact that there are a bunch of people there looking at them – just them. And that this bunch of people are all enjoying what they do. There’s a lot of pride within little people. A lot of smiles. A lot of shoulders back. To use a buzz word, a lot of resilience being created.
And here’s the thing. I’m sure of this, you know. (Just like I am sure that champagne is delicious, and copha tastes disgusting.) If the kids know what to expect as they walk on – where to sit, how far to place themselves on the stage – all that stuff, they are far more settled. They play better. So they become more proud of what they are doing. They succeed more. There’s a huge spiral of positivity.
And this isn’t just achieved in a music lesson. This is where I need class teachers to help. I’ve worked with so many of them (class teacher, that is.). And I see the difference with their kids. It’s bigger than you think. Teachers who practise with their classes when I’m not there – I can tell. The kids really own what they do. And the ones who don’t? Well, it makes me cranky. And sad. Mostly sad, these days. Because I know what can be done, and achieved.
I know there’s a lot to get done in classes. Curriculum to cover. Books to read. Numbers to add and subtract. But this is just as important. Not because of the music stuff. Because of the pride. Because of the self-worth. Because of the joy.