Christmas time is upon us and it is important that we Survive the Season.
December is always quite a full on month, but it can be really fun and enjoyable! At this time of year music Departments are in demand and often have to provide music for numerous events. It is a great time of year for us to get out into the community and raise the profile of school music making.
Why is Christmas great for Music Education?
- We can quickly and easily raise the profile of music in our school through performances.
- Music is featured in School Carol service – a chance to point out to school leaders the value of music. “Imagine if we didn’t have music next year” kind of conversation!
- We can often raise money for our departments by getting out into the community and providing music.
- Students love to play and perform together. As a result we can build community in our departments through extra events and rehearsals.
- We can inject some life into our lessons through fun Christmas activities and lots of singing.
Hopefully by now you have got all the music you need for Christmas. If you haven’t then there is still time and I really do recommend a few places to get your music:
- Studio Music – www.studio-music.co.uk
- Out of The Ark – www.outoftheark.co.uk
- Sing Up – www.singup.org
It is fun to create your own arrangements as well, but don’t let that consume your time. There is plenty out there and I would be happy for you to get in touch if you are stuck for ideas!
Survival of the fittest
All this said though, it can be a full on few weeks and we need to be ready for it. Here are my top survival tips.
- Be prepared. Make sure you have repertoire chosen and start rehearsing – if not already. I started Christmas music as soon as we returned after half term.
- Book a meeting with your Head teacher to chat over plans. Ask them what they want and tell them what you already have planned. In other words, get them onside! Keep them involved in all your plans, and as a result they will support you much more throughout the year.
- If you do a school carol service then organise a whole school rehearsal. As a result the school will be ready and the actual event will be easier and more enjoyable.
- Photocopy – have enough copies of everything you need – obviously abiding by all copyright laws! Pay for the music you use because lots of composers out there are teachers!
- Stay healthy through healthy eating, lots of sleep and a bit of exercise. Having said that waving your arms around in a rehearsal can be quite a workout – I have tracked it on my Apple Watch!! Your wellbeing is very important at this time of year.
- Get all your music scanned in and then on an iPad. Paper can easily get lost and above all, having a copy can be really handy. I have be known to conduct using my iPhone when I have left a sheet at home!
- Keep your students going and on side! You need them!
- Keep parents on board through good communication and clear dates and times. As a result they will help you with dropping off students and instruments.
- Say no to things that don’t benefit the students or the school. You will get lots of requests and you can’t do everything. I have learnt this the hard way and as a result, I now say no a lot more.
- Enjoy it. You will survive the season if you enjoy it. See every performance as an opportunity to keep music alive in your school. It is the best marketing for music and your school. So enjoy it. Enjoy working with students and give them the best few weeks!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
In conclusion, I can’t wait for the next few weeks. However, I do know that I need to prepare for it otherwise I won’t survive. But after 16 years of Christmas events I feel like I have got it sorted ! And I never forget that I have to survive the season! But I try and survive with Christmas Joy in my heart!
Have a great Christmas and I hope that you do Survive The Season. Let’s hope it snows so I can build another Snow-Musician! And do get in touch if you need any ideas, advice or support!