Submitted by Barbara Lee
Idea posted May 3, 2010
Twice this year I've had groups perform in less-than-ideal situations. One performance I felt they were under-rehearsed because of schedule issues, and the other situation was when the venue changed an hour before the performance due to weather. In spite of the uncertainty, however, both groups performed extremely well, and, while the performances weren't flawless, I was as proud as I could be.
I think our students take their cues from us as directors. Before the under-rehearsed group performed, (in an unfamiliar space, too), I got them in their "performing order," and gave them a very calm, but direct "motivational speech," acknowledging their uncertainties, but assuring them that I would be directing them, that I have the words in front of me, so even if they don't know the words, I do and will cue them the best I can, keep their eyes on me, etc., and above all SMILE and enjoy the performance. I had several students tell me afterwards, "I knew the music better than I thought I did," confirming my suspicions!
For the venue-change group, I pretty much did the same thing: made sure they knew who was in charge (ME!), told them - in no uncertain terms - what my expectations were in terms of their behavior and presence should be, etc. They performed as if we had done it 100 time.
So my advice to you is:
Before you go, know plan every little detail you can about where you want them to stand, walk onstage, etc. Be ready to clearly communicate and execute those details.
Rein the kids in before you perform, "read them the riot act," so to speak, about what your expectations are and what the consequences will be to individuals who don't follow your directions (I tell them I will remove them from the stage in front of everybody if I have to - I will, too, but have never had to!)
Be calm, be in charge, be the example you want them to model.
Our other sites: Recorder Classroom - home of Recorder Classroom magazine | Golden Rule Music - for youth music ministries | MooToobMoosic - music and miscellany | K8 KidTunes - downloadable kids' music | School Music Matters - music advocacy | Resourceful Classroom - for classroom teachers
Our toll-free Customer Service number: 1-800-437-0832. Commercial: 1-262-790-5210.
Copyright ©1997-2013 Plank Road Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved