My rambling thoughts after attending the school concert
My son asked, “Do I have to go to the concert?” We questioned, “Are there kids not going?” My son replied, “XXX is not going.” I argued, “If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to. But you may miss out the fun.” Above are the conversations we had with my son a few days ago. The night before the concert, he told us that he wanted to attend. By the way, our school’s concert is called “The Box”. "The Box" is a musical celebration of the boundless imagination found in every child-imagination that can turn a piece of brown cardboard into a world of possibilities.
There are five 2nd grade classes in our school. Each class worked on creating something out of the box based on the theme of a song. There were about 9 songs sung at the concert. My son’s class worked on creating a pirate ship for display on stage. As for the concert, my son’s class hopped, played the drum, and sang the song “Prehistoric Hop”. The 2nd grade students at his school were given choices on how they could participate in the 2nd grade concert. Among the choices were playing an instrument, singing solo or with five or six other kids at the front of the stage, or providing the narration about the next performance on stage. In addition, everyone got to sing in the background when it was not his or her class' turn to perform. The music concert lasted only about half an hour, which is about the right amount of time. I would doubt that parents can spare more time than that.
Why did I bring this up? It is to show you how you can foster creativity in kids and provide a nurturing environment where kids can have fun and where competition is not the focus of everything. There were kids who had no sense of rhythm and sang totally out of tune. They were kids with pronunciation so bad that you couldn’t figure out what they were mumbling about when they tried to introduce the next performers. Still, they were given the opportunity to enjoy themselves and to choose whatever they wanted to present. There was no pressure, only encouragement.
I don’t know if this situation will occur in Taiwan. I have been away from Taiwan for too long. What I remembered of Taiwan was an environment full of competition where everything was about winning and the teachers would hand-pick the best to perform. If you were not good at a certain thing, you would never get a chance to try it.
My son, being an extremely shy boy, prefers to stay out of the spotlight. He chose to play drum at the corner with some of his classmates. It is kind of hard to find him since he was sandwiched between two taller kids. After the concert, we asked if he was having fun and if he would want to play for the violin recital. He finally said yes but regretted the next day. We told him that it was too late to withdraw then since we had already sent out the letter with the names of the songs he stated that he would play. Oh well, we will see how that goes.
List of songs played in the concert:
Big Red Fire Truck
A Pirate Adventure
Anything Can Happen in a Fairytale
Take it from Your Teachers
Let's Go Reprise
Written by Elisa English
On April 29, 2011 in Minneapolis