Monday, November 8, 2010

Becoming a Performer

My thinking about performance with respect to young children is this...

Encourage, encourage and encourage! 
Be positive!  Be happy!
Be respectful too.

Praise is different than encouragement.
Praise can lead to giving up while encouragement can lead to increased effort.

Praise can be given without even paying attention.  Encouragement requires us to pay attention to the child and what they are performing.  Encouragement implies we are expecting a positive outcome and looking for the good in the performance.

Before children become self-conscious (and there is no set age for this) everything they do seems to be a performance.  Life is a performance!

We enjoy watching babies learning to walk, fall down, walk...we encourage them.  We certainly don't criticize them while they are developing.   We don't point out what's wrong with their gait (because their legs are short and they are wearing diapers)...we express joy at their efforts or we just allow them to "be" without comment.

We enjoy the process.  We let that process happen.

Once children are older there are diffferent approaches to their efforts.  In music learning and performance there is sometimes an over-focus on "getting it right" because...well...getting it wrong just sounds bad.  Getting the notes wrong in music is kind of like the falling down part of learning to walk.  Eventually the notes will be right.  It just takes as long as it takes.

Just ask Grizelda the witch (aka Wanda) about getting those notes right.  It's a process!

Stage performance is another thing entirely...and I'll talk about that another time.

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