The giving musician.

‘Tis the season! Here we are, when families and friends get together, when people go to the places they love and meet new people or get to see the ones that are important to them. Is it always rosy? No. But there are ways to ease up the tension. Music would be one of them.

I advise my students to chose a moment in the celebration to set a little concert for the gathered ones. If you have the skills and you’ve got something to show, I encourage them to make a little concert during the holidays. It doesn’t have to be formal, although some of my pupils decide to dress for the occasion, a nice shirt, a pretty dress. The crowd is a safe one. They are willing to listen and aplaude your work. It is a nice way to make a moment special.

You don’t have to play the latest and most difficult piece you’ve got. As a matter of fact, it’s much better if you play something you really know well, a sure-fire tune you’re confident about. It’ll ease your nervousness and allow you to “perform” by having eye contact with the crowd, smile and move your body as the inspiration takes you. You can play your heart out and project those notes “sell them” as we say in show business.

Don’t make it too long and rambling. A little improvisation goes a long way, but no need to overdo it. However, and this goes for all of the Christmas songs, you have to make sure it’s not too short either. Jingle bells is not just one verse, for example, it has at least 2 verses that can be found on the internet. You can print some pages for people to sing along. If you don’t have a printer, no worries, just repeat the same verse 2 or even three times. Warn the crowd before you do that, though. Oh, and take it slow! Chances are, once you’ll be ready to play, you’ll be a little excited. Good! But what it means is that you won’t be able to tell if you go a bit too fast. So, right before you give the tempo, slow it down a touch, not a lot, but a tad more relaxed than your initial tempo. You probably will be right on the money.

Music is a lot of fun, and it is a performing art essentially. It’s perfect for family gathering. It brings a smile to people’s face and helps them to bond. Also, while someone is playing, there are less chance that they argue about anything: they’re listening, or singing. It can be the oil for a smooth and pleasant holiday.

Now, having said that, if your child doesn’t want to perform, no need to force the issue. There is always next year.