Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Concerts

I first thought about writing this post last spring when I had the worst experience at a children's school concert.  I could not get over how rude some of the parents were!  This lady stood up right in front of me to get pictures of her little one on stage, when I asked if she could sit down so the rest of us could see she rolled her eyes at me and said "ppfff!"  Seriously!  I mean I know how precious it is to see your little one on stage, but the rest of us want to see our darlings and get a great picture too!
I've been on both sides of the school concert scene as a parent and as the school music teacher.  There are a few things to keep in mind when going to these events that can make the school concert experience enjoyable for all.
1.  Stay in your seats and keep the aisles clear.  Kids are ushered up and down those aisles to get on and off the stage, they need the space.  There's nothing to make a concert slow down than constantly having to move people out of the aisles.
2.  Stay seated and out of the way of others.  Yes, your little darling is precious, but so are the 20 other little darlings up there, their parents want a good view too.
3.  Plan to take the time off work for the whole concert.  All the kids in the school have worked hard for this performance.  There is nothing more distracting than parents coming in and out of the gym.  The worst I ever saw it was a packed house at one school I directed.   For the first 2 acts (the kindergarten and grade one students).  By the time the school choir was on to close the show there were only a handful of people left in the audience.  One of my students was in tears because there was no one there to hear them sing.  Most school concerts are under an hour.  I know you really want to hear your own kids, but you wouldn't go to a professional performance for the first act only would you?
4.  If you can't be there for your child, find someone who can.  I can't begin to tell you how many students have been so upset letting me know that no one will be watching them.  I always tell them that I will be there for them, but it isn't the same thing is it? 
5.  Invite the immediate family and keep it at that.  Most of us have camcorders (even built into our phones now) to show off later on.  Think about how big your school gym or auditorium is and how many kids are in the school.  Is is really fair to other parents looking for seats if you have both parents, siblings, grandparents from both sides, plus Aunt Gladys and your neighbor across the street who just adores little Johnny?  Yes, these people love your child.  Why not video instead and have a movie premier at your house the following weekend?
6.  Keep little siblings restrained.  You may think it's cute to have your 2 year old climb onto the stage, no one else does.  If you think your little one won't stay in their seat/in their stroller/on your lap here's a perfect time to cash in a babysitting favor. 
7.  Show good audience manners by not chatting once the performance in underway.  That includes in between acts when the MC's are announcing and during acts that are not your own children.
Reading this over, I know a lot of it sounds like ridiculous common sense.  This is just my insight to real parent behaviours I've seen over the years, repeatedly, really and truly.  I hope everyone enjoys their time at their school concerts this year.  The kids have worked hard and love having you there!

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