Six Seasonal Songs to Share - New Design by Wendy Stevens available on ComposeCreate.com

Six Seasonal Songs to Share – New Design

I’m going to be gut honest with you. During the Christmas break, my child will not be practicing every day. As a matter of fact, there will quite a few days that my child will not be “practicing” at all. As a mom, I think it must be this way. 

But as a teacher, I think it’s perfectly okay as well. Here’s why:

Your students need a break. If they’ve worked hard this semester, they should be able to enjoy their holiday break without feeling pressure from their piano teacher to practice every day or even as much as they usually do (unless they want to, of course)! 

But here’s what I never realized…

Something has become much more evident to me now that my child is taking from another teacher. Now that I’m a parent only (and not the primary teacher for my child), I’ve realized something:  

Parents need a break too! 

I’m in the trenches these days with my kiddos. And sometimes it’s just agony to drag a reluctant child to the bench to practice. Sometimes, it’s torture to get your child to the bench after a long day at school and large amounts of homework. Sometimes, even when they do get to the bench, a child’s body language and sour face is excruciating for parents. Sometimes parents just need to not have a list of things they have to make their child do! Things like:  

  • Homework
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Cleaning their room (or at least “making a path”)
  • Taking a shower or both
  • Practicing (I would guess that many kiddos don’t waltz to the piano of their own free will)

Obviously, there are more things in the long list of things parents have to make their children do, but you get the point.

So as more of a parent than a teacher this semester, I would beg you to consider giving parents a break from the need to make their child practice every day during the holiday break. (If your students have an upcoming festival, keep reading and see “What if my student has a festival or competition?” below.)  

Here’s what you can do instead:

Obviously, we don’t want students to lose their nimble fingers, rhythm, or reading skills during the break! So why not just challenge them to play their holiday pieces for guests, friends, over Skype to someone they love, and more! Better yet, they can get their special card autographed by their friends and family and you can turn it into a contest!

Six Seasonal Songs to Share - New Design by Wendy Stevens available on ComposeCreate.com

I can’t believe it’s been six years since I first introduced the old Six Seasonal Songs to Share resource. Even in that blog post, I mentioned that I was short on time, so I used some rather clip-arty images which I didn’t altogether like.

So I thought it was high time that I designed a new Six Seasonal Songs to Share card that was much more beautiful and eye-catching!

How does the Six Seasonal Songs to Share idea work?

Here’s a way you can use the Six Seasonal Songs to Share to help keep students playing during the holiday break:

  • Students prepare and polish six songs with you during their lessons.
  • During the holiday break they have friends and family pick 2 of their 6 songs and the student then plays those pieces for them.
  • The people who hear their two songs autograph the back of the card.

Of course, there may be other ways to use the resource as well. Feel free to be creative!

Turn it into a sharing contest!

One year, I told the students that the person with the most signatures on the back would get a prize when they got back from Christmas break. Prizes like Frixion pens (that can help in their practice) have always been popular with students.

What if my student has a festival or competition?

Of course, if there is a festival or competition coming up, students will have to practice. But you can adapt your expectations to still give them a break from the usual amount of practice. Perhaps they just need to practice the competition piece. Perhaps you can chat with the parents about a practice plan that reasonably allows for holiday fun.

Just be sure to listen to the parents about their needs and the needs of their child when you suggest a practice plan.

Tips on printing the Six Seasonal Songs to Share:

Printing is easy and straightforward, but here are a few tips:

Once you have signed up for the resource, you’ll get an email. Click on the download link in the email and it will go to your downloads folder. Open it in Adobe Reader from there.

  • Open in Adobe Reader.
    Adobe Reader is the industry standard for viewing and printing PDFs. It is a safe download if your computer does not already have it.
  • Print at 100%. (Don’t scale.)
    When we design almost everything, we put a .3 inch margin so that even when you print at 100%, it won’t cut off anything.
  • Print in color.
    Color is just better and this design won’t use very much color ink. But if you want, there is almost always a way that you can print black and white. You’ll just have to adjust your printer settings.

More holiday ideas:

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11 Comments

  1. Alyssa December 11, 2018 at 10:23 am

    This is an amazing idea!! I just wish you had sent this 2 weeks ago so I could have been getting all students ready for it. Thanks for all your creativity, Wendy!

  2. Carla December 11, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Thank you for this! My Christmas recital is Saturday so this weeks lessons will be polishing songs for that. Next week during lessons we will play games, play songs using the digital setting of their choice & leave with no assignments. I am encouraging students to play daily, but no ‘practicing’ Students, parents and teachers need a break!

  3. Jill December 11, 2018 at 11:14 am

    I agree with Alyssa, above. If this idea would have been sent out earlier, I could plan better to be sure that students had six playable songs. This is a great holiday project though, I just don’t have enough students currently working on six holiday songs. But there is always next year.

  4. Wendy Stevens December 11, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Hi Jill and Alyssa,

    I’m sorry it didn’t get out any sooner. There’s always too much to share at Christmas time, so I can’t get everything out as fast as I would like…plus I don’t want to overrun teacher’s inboxes. But you can have students add what they have currently prepared (they don’t have to do 6) and maybe give them a few super easy songs that they could prepare on their own if they have time (telling them that there’s no pressure though). You can also keep it in mind for next year as you said! It will still be here and out in plenty of time for next year!

    I’m glad you like the idea!

  5. Dana December 11, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Excellent read, thank you Wendy! This is such a good reminder that students and parents need a balance, especially over a well-deserved break. I just downloaded the new ‘Six Seasonal Songs…’ and will get these printed stat. 🙂 I loved your old version of this resource (I have a special place in my heart for certain clip-arty images, apparently) and the newest form does not disappoint. The half-page size is perfect, and it’ll be a great, fun way to help my students spread Christmas and holiday cheer with their music over vacation. Thank you for showering us with creative, timely resources and brilliant inspiration year-round!

  6. Cheryl December 11, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    I tend to agree, it is good for students to have a change-up in their practice routine, especially when all their other schedules are likely changing over the Christmas break.
    It’s a great time to suggest, when they do get back into their practice routine, to re-commit to good posture, review their scales & technique, and truly listen to the sound they are producing.
    Sometimes a student can be very ill (at some other time) and they need to know how to handle having been away from the practice routine, how to get back “into” it!

  7. Kimberly December 11, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Wendy,
    No need to apologize to anyone. You are simply amazing, and I am very thankful for every resource, every song, and every tidbit of wisdom you take the time post.
    Thanks again for all you do to encourage and support the teachers in this profession.

  8. Linda Jackson December 17, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Thank you so much, Wendy. You are always so creative! You are also encouraging, giving, and loving.

    My students do not have six Christmas pieces but they sure do have several other pieces they have polished! Also, they need to keep up with national guild goals. I am very anxious to find out if this wonderful idea is also a fun activity for the students!

    Thank you for the reminder of Skype. So many of my students have family overseas. As a grandmother I too absolutely love seeing my “grands” play, sing, dance or whatever!

    Blessings for a loving family time at Christmas,
    Linda

  9. Wendy Stevens December 17, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Hi Linda,

    Oh yes, they don’t have to be Christmas piece come to think of it! Just sharing their music, blessing others, and keeping their fingers moving is the idea. I’m glad you are able to use it.

    Blessings to you and your family as well, Linda. Thank you so much for all your support!

    ~ Wendy

  10. Glenda Kernen December 17, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Wendy,
    I appreciate your comments and wonderful thoughts. However, I guess I am going to beg to differ a little about students not practicing during Christmas vacation. Perhaps your studio is a lot different from mine. Frankly neither my students nor many of their parents are straining themselves to see that practice is done sufficiently during a week. No matter what incentives, rewards, conferences, workshops, group lessons, pedagogical techniques or other things that I have offered, practice continues to diminish over the years. I’ve taught students through 3 generations and am as enthusiastic about teaching as ever. But I have noted that over the decades practice time has continually diminished among most of my students except for those who have “tiger parents”. Students have from six to eight hours a day more during vacation. Of course they need time to celebrate the holiday with travel, friends and family. But there are some “lazy, hazy days” of winter to make a concerted choice for music practice during vacation. Yes, music is a fun experience but it is also a discipline, one that needs to be continually refreshed. I will add that I hear many of my fellow teachers at the local, state and national levels stating some of these sentiments. These are simply my own observations and thoughts on the matter.

  11. Wendy Stevens December 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I’m so glad you shared your thoughts, Glenda. Yes, it might make a difference if you have students who don’t practice anyway! I have had students in the past that thought they’d get more practice during the Thanksgiving and Christmas break because they had more time since there weren’t school things going on. So that’s definitely something to consider. Maybe this is more relevant for parents and students who at least put some effort into practice! Regardless, it is nice though when there is a “vacation” from even the pressure of teachers asking students to do something, so it’s something to consider.

    I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and hope others will chime in as well. I’m not one to make a blanket statement that everyone should do ___. Make it work for you and get feedback from your own clients to see what they need or what might help them. Everyone is in a different situation!

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