Photo: Maxwell GS
As spring concerts, recitals and shows start filling our calendars your child may start getting a case of the dreaded nerves. When I first started playing at recitals, I would be so nervous everything I learned from my piano lessons went out the window. I would seem to forget everything, including how to sit at the piano to how to play.But when I learned some easy ways to get rid of my nerves I started playing my best.
Here are 5 ways to help your child calm down and rock out at their performance!
Accept and redirect:
When we are nervous it normally shows that we care about what we are about to do. We don't want to mess up because we have worked hard and are ready to show the world our talent! Instead of thinking of nerves in a negative light, look at them in a positive light.
*nerves mean you care
*nerves give you a little adrenaline that keeps you alert
*nerves are natural and you can get through them
When a person is nervous they tend to clench their jaw, wring their hands or move their legs quickly. Anxiety causes tension. Do a few simple stretches to relax and get the blood flowing.
*Shrug your shoulders toward your ears and rolling your head from side to side
*Bring one arm across your body and pull and do the same with the other side.
*Rotate your ankles and stretch your legs
* Shake your hands like you have just washed them and their isn't a towel around to dry them.
Silently Sing or Play:
Mentally review what piece you are playing or singing. You can even pretend you have the instrument in your hand and practice the motions. Doing this will allow your mind to relax and take focus to the task at hand.
Don't Go Bananas!:
Whenever you feel like you are going to get upset start to focus on your breathing and think happy thoughts. Say phrases to yourself like:
* It's OK to be upset, but I am in control
* I am great at what I do!
* I am going to conquer this
You can also think about a time where you did really well at something or a time when you where very relaxed. Close your eyes, take a breath and imagine you are there.
*Also, speaking of bananas, eat a banana, it helps lower anxiety.
Show off those teeth. Smiling helps relieve tension in our jaw and overall makes us feel happier. When we smile we are shrugging off the nerves and showing a confident exterior which will slowly come to the interior.
Remember "When your smiling, the whole world smiles with you."
So before your child starts to worry about how they will sound at their recital remind them that they are great, smile at them, rub their shoulders and hand them a banana! They are going to be wonderful this recital season and I am sure many people await to hear their talent!
There are many studies on how effective constant parent involvement in a child’s school education helps them grow in many ways. There is even a national organization on it called the National Coalition for Parent Involvement In Education.
The NCPIE says:
The evidence is in: when schools and families work together to support learning, everyone benefits.
*Students do better in school and in life.
*Parents become empowered.
*Teacher morale improves.
*Schools get better.
*Communities grow stronger.
All of these things are true for your child’s music lessons too. Even if a parent is not musically inclined, simple support can go a long way for your child, you and your child’s private music teacher.
Here are a few simple ways to support your child in their music endeavors even if you don’t know how to play music.
Ask your child what they learned in their lesson:
Asking your child about their lesson helps them remember the new information and they have to explain what they learned in their 30 min. keyboard lesson.
There are many ways a parent can ask about the lesson:
*Have the child explain what they learned away from the instrument to help them with their verbal skills
*Have the child explain what they learned with the instrument to help them explain visually
*A parent can act as the student and have their child help them learn something on the instrument.
*Ask your child to play them their favorite new song and tell them what you liked about it.
Tell your child you love hearing them practice:
The more they practice the better they get, right?
But sometimes when they practice they make mistakes and get embarrassed. By telling them, things like “wow you sounded great and you are getting better” encourages them to do more practice. Comments like these also tell your child that you are listening and you are taking an interest in what they are doing.
Don’t use the word CAN’T :
I always tell my student’s that the CAN’T word is off limits in playing music. If your student says “I can’t read music” or “I can’t play the guitar” make sure to tell them they can.
The word CAN’T takes the action of doing to a whole different level. Now your child thinks they can’t do something and will stop trying, consciously or unconsciously. If the parent doesn’t correct the child by saying, yes you can, then the child will believe that you think they can’t do it either.
Everyone is different, everyone learns differently and everyone plays different.
Remind your child that they can do whatever they want to do. If they are struggling with something let your music teacher know and then work as a team to help your child succeed.
Share your music idols:
Children today listen to many different things like High School Musical, The Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and many more. But if you share your favorite bands with your child it is not only teaching them about different types of music but also about your excitement with music.
I will never forget the day when my dad got out his Beatles records and we listened to them all night. It really inspired me as a musician and I got very close to my dad through music.
Music can help create a bond between you and your child. Maybe after you show your child your favorite band you can ask them to show you theirs.
Get out and see live music:
There is nothing more inspirational for a musician then watching other musicians play. Take your child to see all types of music shows.
*Kids Music Shows
*Battles of Bands
There are many kid friendly festivals in the summer and so many great music venues that you can find something that sparks you and your child’s interest.
Cambridge - Club Passim
Boston Orpeum Theater
By taking these simple steps to help support your child and their musical ambition you will see such improvement in how they play, think and talk about music.
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
Photos by: Ha-Wee, Lance Shields & Fabio Bruna
Colds are in the air and allergies are just around the corner. What do you do to keep your voice healthy and how do you sound your best?
No matter how young you are or how long you have been taking vocal lessons a person should know how to care for their voice. Here are 5 simple ways to care for your voice.
1. Stay hydrated!
Every vocalist should always carry a bottle of water. An voice teacher of mine use to say “drink so much water that you pee clear!” It may sound gross but the more hydrated you are the better you will sound and the less damage you will do to your voice. Try to stay clear of too much caffeine and high sugar drinks.
2. Remember your warm ups
Just like getting ready to play sports or work out, your voice needs a proper warm up before you start to sing. Use a piano or guitar and sing up and down a scale, buzz your lips, hum a tune or do some breathing exercises. Your breath is so important in singing properly. So remember to practice breathing deep and using your entire midsection to support you.
3. Don't Shout!
Try to limit speaking in noisy places, or shouting at events. We all get excited sometimes, but every time you yell till you are hoarse you are damaging your voice.
4. Watch What You Eat
Before you sing a show, avoid foods and drinks that make your vocal cords produce mucous.
The best way to get rid of the mucous is to drink lots of water and warm up your voice.
5. Heal Your Sick Voice
When you are sick you should rest your voice as much as you can. You do not want to strain it or push to hard. If your voice is sore, besides drinking water try some of these tricks.
*Sleep with a humidifier *Drink herbal teas *Try to keep your voice and throat warm with scarves and turtle necks *Breath in steam
Unlike other instruments that get put away in a protective case, your instrument is your body and everything you do effects it. Remember these tips and sing your best.
Share your song with the world!
photo by Steve Punter