Soon the last Christmas carols are played, the final preparations for Christmas are made, the Christmas concerts are over. Of course, the children are happy, once they have a little break in Christmas holidays! After working hard the last few month they derserve it! Nevertheless it would not be good if they put their instrument in the corner until Christmas holidays are over. So we should prepare a small but fine program for each student to make it „tasty“ – even during the holidays – making music. If possible, we should give a piece of music to each student, that he (or she) is excited about, a piece he may has been looking forward to play for some time. Something that offers a special incentive or a special challenge.
Makeing music instead of practicing
Of course, we have to repeat certain movements and passages several times until we can perform them very well. But also these repetitions – executed with great attention to good sound and intonation – can really be „making music“! A repetitive practice should never be thoughtless and „dull“, we all know that. If we can help the young musicians listen attentively while playing, we have achieved a lot. Then they are on a good way to enjoy practice. This kind of practicing, that all of us musicians have experienced: When you are completely absorbed in your actions. You forget the time. You are very attentive, you hear and feel everything. Every nuance of the sound, every muscle activity, … You are „in the flow“, as it is called today.
Isn’t it of incredible value to make our students enjoy playing music and particularly practicing? If they develop a big pleasure in their daily engagement with their instrument and with music? If they learn to love their instrument and the music so much that it becomes an important part of their lives, which they don’t want to miss? When they experience practicing as something they enjoy doing? As teachers, we can support this development a lot by presenting them music pieces with challenging but not overwhelming difficulties. And establishing a practicing-culture of great attention.
With this in mind, I wish you and your students a Merry Christmas with a lot of enjoyable music making!