Teaching Kids How to Perform on Stage
I think that performing is like baring a vulnerable part of yourself on a stage and sharing that part of you with an audience. When kids perform it builds their confidence, teaches them how to be comfortable on a stage, how to use a microphone and this can be transferred later on in to public speaking skills. When I’m performing my original music I try to involve my kids as much as possible. Ashleya started performing when she was about four. She experienced performing on a stage whilst singing a nativity song at a Christmas carols event at a church, and dancing on a stage through a dance school.
You don’t need to be a singer or a dancer to provide your kids with opportunities to perform! You can encourage kids to perform in their school choir, a church choir, to sing a solo item at school, to put on Christmas carols performance for the family, get them to sing at a family parties, for grandparents, neighbours, etc. I have found kids get excited about performing when they do it with a group of kids, like their friends. It doesn’t have to cost anything! Leading up to a performance, encourage them to practice about once a day, but it doesn’t have to be for very long. If they make a mistake encourage them to keep going. Costumes can be found in the dress up box, borrowed from a friend or made using boxes, paper plates, etc. It’s not so much about what the costume looks like, it’s where it takes the child in their imagination that counts.
Some kids aren’t in to performing as much as others are and that is totally ok. Ashleya and Jewel love performing and are just wired that way. Kale has only just started to show an interest in performing recently. Kids should never be forced to perform if they don’t want to. If you have a child who is wired that way, provide them with as many opportunities as possible!
When your child starts performing, be their cheerleader! Don’t critique the performance, just praise them for doing it. After a while, your child will be confident on the stage. Once your child is confident in front of people, you can give them encouraging tips to improve. It’s not focusing on what they do wrong, it’s more instructing them on what to do e.g. keep your hands by your side when singing and sing close to the microphone. Be very encouraging.
Once you child has passed that stage, they might be doing something they are unaware of that needs to be corrected. I noticed Ash kept yawning, not because she was tired, it was just something she did when she opened her mouth! I’m a big fan of the affirmation sandwich e.g. “Wow you know all the words off by heart and that is great! I’ve noticed that you’re yawning a bit, are you tired? No? OK so maybe we can get any other yawns out now. Good! Let’s try and get through the song without yawning ok? You’re doing a great job this is going to be amazing!”
When kids perform it isn’t about perfection or pressure! It’s expressing themselves in a way they love, having fun and boosting their confidence! Teaching kids performing skills should be done with the child’s best interests at heart. Did you like performing as a kid?