Give your child the confidence so that that they can sparkle this year in the Nativity at school or the annual Christmas show?

The silly season is fast approaching and for many parents the diary contains the nativity at school, a Christmas Carol Service or a festive production. This is either the highlight of some children’s time at school or in the blink of an eye it becomes a dreaded event every year and permeates into adult life.

For the teachers in schools across the country they are tasked with the job of getting a minimum of 30 children to learn a script, learn song lyrics, perform with ‘A loud voice’ enter and exit the stage in an orderly fashion and give the school audience of parents, governors and fellow staff a show to remember. Teachers are fraught as of this needs to happen alongside ensuring that your child has completed the basics of literacy and numeracy each day. The individual confidence of each child and being able to embed the specific skills of helping that child to embrace the entire situation with confidence and learn skills for life from this event are likely to be a distance dream. Its impossible for school teachers to work with each child and help them to shine as an individual and ensure that it is a positive experience standing on that stage in front of all those people. Its an event in the school diary, it must happen, and it does but often with unknown and unintentional long lasting detrimental effects for the children involved.

The script comes home containing the lines that your child must learn or the character that they must play and before they know it they are on the stage in front of a hall full of faces eagerly watching them to perform.

This experience for a child can either be the moment that you realise they need to nurture their natural talents and hunt out a drama school or it can be the most terrifying event for a child ever and they dread it every year. If they trip up, end up saying something hilarious and the laughter erupts across the audience or they forget their line it can be so damaging to a child’s long-term confidence. This latter situation is all too common and makes my heart bleed. It can go on to affect any public speaking an adult does in later life, a job interview they attend, a presentation they must execute at college or a pressurised situation i.e. father of the bride speech, a eulogy.

As adults we all have to ‘perform’ and present in our lives often not through choice and it may not come naturally. This could be such a difference experience, a positive one, if as a child the foundations are laid. So many adults now talk about experiences in school choirs and in public performances that haunt them for the rest of their lives. It could all have been so different.

At an early age and throughout primary school children are forming their views on the world and their comfort zones. One awful experience on the nativity stage can have a lasting and damaging effect. However, a positive experience could set them up to shape their future.

Wouldn’t you prefer to give them the mechanisms and skills to handle public performances and presentations so that they have the foundations to cope with whatever happens in performance in front of lots of people. Would you like to be comfortable in the knowledge that your child has the skills for life to handle any moment that they are in spotlight!

Drama and singing training is fun but it is not just there to nurture the talents of those wishing to pursue a life on the stage. Some organisations are about the talented few and creating a triple threat (a dancing, acting and singing superstar) set to take the West End Stage by storm however Little Voices exists to give EVERY child the confidence to be the best that they can be. Yes we have taught West End success stories but this happens for a small minority of children/adults. Little Voices believes that every child has something special to share and that life skills such as confidence, good eye contact, excellent posture, creating a good first impression, handling  and self-belief are crucial to success in any walk of life; be it a solicitor, a shop assistant, a dentist or a doctor…the list is endless.

SO, give your child or a child that you know the chance to shine this Christmas and find a Little Voices lesson near to you!

Ellena

Your child excelling in their Christmas Production or nativity or struggling with the enormity of it all! – from a parent and a teacher’s perspective!

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It was during the Christmas period that my own voice was really spotted at my Junior School, Heathfield! We were performing the nativity “He’s Only a Baby” and I was chosen to be Mary. I sang solo for the very first time and my parents and grandparents were there to watch, stunned and amazed. All the other parents were apparently coming up to them afterwards saying “Oh my goodness her voice is outstanding where does she have singing lessons?” I didn’t have singing lessons, I didn’t really even know that I was that good a singer. But I was, it seemed, and from that performance on I was bitten by the singing bug and the love of performing. It gave me the confidence to pursue singing lessons and it gave my parents the foresight to channel my passion and something that I was good at. It is thanks to them that my talent for performing was nurtured from this point on! Little did they know that the cost would run into thousands and thousands years on and two degrees later!

It is always at this time of year that you are invited into school to see the Christmas Nativity or School Production as a parent or you are in the midst of frantically pulling a performance together as a teacher.

I believe that it is at this time of year that potential in children is spotted as parents and teachers alike see a child in a different light. They see them cope with the nerves, the pressure, the excitement and the challenge of performance. Those children that have been hiding their light under a bushel bubble to the surface! They achieve new things and every child pushes their comfort boundary and rises to the challenge.

I saw this only last night when I found myself in a dual role as teacher and parent. My own daughter was performing in her school Christmas nativity performance; however, as the teacher in charge of the choir I was very much a part of the production too.

As a parent I know firsthand how it feels to see your child standing on stage performing, you only have eyes for them. However, last night, in my teacher role, I accompanied and observed children of all ages excelling in their performances both sung, spoken and dramatically on stage in the most beautiful church. I was so proud and I could see pride in all of their parent’s faces too in the audience of several hundred. To be honest I couldn’t really see my own child from where I was positioned with the piano and so I couldn’t be parent last night, sadly!

Several children sang solo for the first time and they were absolutely stunning in their composure and vocal delivery. This may be the start of their singing bug……..it may be the first time that the parents think, “gosh we have to channel this talent and look for singing lessons and drama lessons for our child.”

Among a school performance the success is not just about the ‘stars of the show’ it runs so much deeper than that. There are many less confident children involved too and their success is often just in being able to stand in front of such a mass of people. For some, performing is a really daunting experience but I absolutely know that the benefits of learning how to perform and learning in a fun environment are immense.  The benefits for them in later life are immeasurable; we all have to communicate to strangers in our workplace, we all have to learn to project our voices and have the confidence to deal with interview (scary) situations. It is so important that children are given the skills to be able to deal with these life situations.

When I see a child on the stage struggling to cope with the attention and daunting situation or not clearly enunciating their words it is equally a child that I want to help and work with to develop the skills through drama and singing to perform. This is as important to me as wanting to help those with talent shining through.

If this rings true with you and anything I have said has touched you, or sounds like your child this December then I urge you to find something next year to help your child to grow. It is the perfect time for parents to look for an after school activity that can help them develop their confidence next year or develop their talent. You will witness the growth of their confidence in all areas of their life in the future.

My little 7 year old is a bundle of energy and excitement as the adrenalin kicks in and she is keen to get on stage and perform. This is no doubt because she has it in her blood, I suppose, but also because she has had it nurtured for so many years at Little Voices. Starting the company was the best thing that I ever did all those years ago, I have the best of all worlds and seeing children develop is the most rewarding of all!