With just a few days to go until MACSA Music Fest – are you ready?  Like, “recital ready”?

As a parent, one thing I try to remember is that I’m not the one up there performing.  I can only do so much to help my kids be “recital ready.”  Being that I have 3 boys and 1 girl, I’ve had many years of not having to worry too much about primping my sons to be looking their best.  A lot of that is just easy since they are boys, but here are some tips I’d like to offer to make sure you and your child are ready for their upcoming recital:

  1. Encourage them to try their best.  Sometimes things happen – mistakes happen.  That’s life.  Some of the best performances I’ve ever seen involve a performer moving on after a stumble.  I never chide my children for their stumbles.  The way I see it, I’m not the one up there facing the music (LOL) – or better said, playing the music.  We can definitely talk about whatever didn’t go well – but it’s more like a “Well, that happened – and what could you do next time?” type of thing.
  2. Have them practice taking a bow before and after they play.  Chances are their teacher has worked on this with them – but it can’t hurt for you to double-check that they know to do it.  MACSA’s Toni Salmons has a funny trick to getting your child to take a proper bow.  She encourages her students to look down at their shoes while thinking to themselves (“Am I wearing shoes today?) and then to come back up with a smile thinking (“Yes, I’m wearing shoes today.”).  It was a hilarious tool that worked for my kids.  Another way to do it is to have them smile into the crowd, looking for your smile back to them.  That way they don’t take the world’s fastest bow.
  3. Let your child pick out what outfit they are most comfortable in.  That way they will feel good.  Yeah, it needs to be a nice outfit (one that meets the guidelines of recital attire), so shop with their input.  Maybe just wearing their favorite color will feel special.  With my boys, I’ve had lots of fun over the years getting them unique music-themed bow ties or regular neckties, having them wear Fedoras, suspenders, etc.
  4. Think of something special you could present to your performer afterward.  Maybe a sibling or family member could give them a handmade card – saying how they love the music they make.  Or maybe it’s a traditional bouquet of flowers.  Or maybe you surprise them with their favorite candy.  Or a special outing to their favorite restaurant.  Whatever the case – marking the day with a little something out of the norm helps to create a lasting memory of their accomplishment.
  5. Soak up the memory.  Each of my kids’ recitals is always better than the one before.  I treasure their growth.  Record it on your phone – horizontally so you can have the best set-up for posting it on YouTube.  Keep recording a few seconds after they finish playing so you can include the applause.  Remember, just the fact that your child is being asked to play in this recital is a huge accomplishment and it should be celebrated.  Share that video with everyone.  These kids are the next generation of amazing people – and the talent they possess is a marvel to behold.