Our first Christmas mini-concerts

Christmas mini-concerts Didsbury Piano

Well our first Christmas mini-concert was a great success! What a fab way to round off the year.

The first mini-concert took place at my home on Sunday afternoon. 

There is just something really special about having a recital in your own home.  For years we’ve loved hosting Christmas parties which always end up around the piano, and I knew it would create happy memories for my pupils to enjoy a similar event. 

This Sunday about 15 people attended, and next week I’m expecting another 20 – it’ll be nice and cosy! And a jolly good excuse for me to go to town on my Christmas decs! Yes, I have made a Christmas star every day this week….love crafting!

mini concert Didsbury Piano 2019

Performer Bingo (shhh…peer assessment in disguise)*
At the start of the concert we talked about some of the things that might make a performance stand out (smiling, dynamics, good posture, playing from memory) – things we cover during lessons in the run-up to a concert, so no nasty surprises.  Each pupil got one of these Performer Bingo sheets:

Performer Bingo Didsbury Piano

They had to try and get at least one name in every snowball to be awarded a chocolate coin.  It was lovely to share the completed sheets afterwards with their families so they could see all the positive things other children noticed about their performance:

completed performer bingo

*Nerd-alert: I wanted to introduce peer assessment,  in a light and positive way, to foster early critical listening skills.  They all listened and watched with intent and started to realise that a super performance is made up of lots of things.  It also created a supportive atmosphere, and meant that they weren’t just focusing on their own performance once they’d played.

Lucky Dip for performing order
Instead of having a printed programme, we handed round a big Christmas stocking with everyone’s names in.  Performers and audience members got to pull a name out to select the next performer.  It’s fun and exciting to see who’ll be next, and with a small number of pupils it was easy to organise.

Time for some fun
Afterwards we headed to the kitchen for some cupcakes and drinks and the kids had fun completing a little Christmas Scavenger Hunt.  Some of them hopped back onto the piano for a little bonus play without everyone watching.  It was really nice to see them get to know each other, work as a team and for me to chat with their families.

The verdict: it’s a keeper!
Next Sunday we do it all over again with the other 9 pupils.  I’ll continue to do my big concert in a church, in the Spring Term- it’s good to give them the chance to perform in both casual settings and more formal situations.   The amazingly positive reaction from their families to our first Christmas mini-concert is what really made it for me.  It feels good to go that extra mile 😊

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