This is it! The night that your child has been working towards since August. The lights, the stage, and the audience are all ready to go for the performance of the year. Your child will be a star! But do you know that you have a very important role in your child’s performance as well?

WAIT! Don’t get nervous. We have the guide for you to help prepare your child for the concert, etiquette for during the concert, and how to politely and properly end the evening. Ready? Get your paper and pencil ready… (or just screenshot it.. after all, it IS 2018..)

“The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.” – Cheryl Lavender

Before the Concert

1. Make sure your child is practicing. Whether it is a wind instrument, a percussive instrument, or their very own vocal chords, the instrument needs to be practiced prior to a concert. As a parent, make sure you are providing feedback to your child – regardless of whether or not you are a musician yourself!

2. Help to calm their nerves. As the day approaches, your child may become nervous and concerned about how they will perform. Your job as the parent is to help them understand that perfection isn’t the goal! However, remaining calm and confident in front of a large group of people is something that they can that will help them succeed the rest of their life!

3. What will they need to wear? For a concert, uniformity is typically the goal. This helps to distract from individual appearance and focuses on the beauty of the music performed by the group as a whole. Do not wait until the very last day to figure out what your child needs to wear – if he/she does not know, contact the director! They would much rather answer your phone call or e-mail rather than have Johnny dressed in red while everyone else is wearing black!

4. Decide what you will wear. Support your child by dressing nicely to his/her concert; it will help to encourage them and show appreciation for their hard work!

During the Concert

1. Make sure your child is on timeMost directors want the students at the concert venue at least 30 minutes before the performance. This is to ensure attendance, proper dress, and to allow everyone time to warm-up and maybe run through that tricky song just one last time…

2. Applaud – but at the right times. I know, I know.. it’s your baby, and he’s up there just making you so proud! But in music, there are appropriate times for applause and there are not-so appropriate times. Many pieces of music can have “movements”, where one piece is broken up into a few parts. Hold your applause back until the entire piece is finished to give that hearty clap for your child.

3. Help to eliminate distractions. This is a very important moment for everyone involved, and a lot of focus and attention is needed to ensure the concert plays out smoothly. Please do not call out your child’s name while they are on stage! This is very distracting for your child and for the director, who has worked tirelessly (as well) to put this concert together. Avoid flash photography during the performance, and try to be respectful of other people. Having a young child who wants to sing or… erm… cry during the music prohibits other parents from hearing their child, as well.

4. Coming in late. Hopefully, by making sure your child is on time, that means you are able to arrive on time as well! But sometimes there are hiccups we just can’t avoid (work, traffic.. the usual). If this causes you to be late to your child’s performance, it is absolutely okay to arrive a little behind schedule! Just make sure to enter the concert venue between songs, when applause is occuring. This helps to eliminate distractions for the performers and audience members (see tip #3 above).

After the Concert

1 . First and foremost – CONGRATULATE your child! Performances are rarely perfect, and chances are, your child put in the best effort possible. Make this moment one they will remember with pride.

2. Take lots of photos. This is a memory that both you and your child will want to reminisce on for years to come! Take solo photos, photos with friends, family, with the instrument (chorus students are obviously exempt from this!), without the instrument (that’s more like it), and so on. Whether or not braces were on or off. These are your child’s memories. So get to snappin’!

3. Congratulate the DIRECTORCan you imagine trying to get a room of 20, 30, 40, or more students to behave? Now put instruments in their hands – get you get them to play? To play in harmony TOGETHER? Yeah.. it’s exhausting. So make sure the director receives some gratitude and appreciation from you!

4. Don’t leave right away! You are tired, your child is tired, and believe me, the director is tired. But we know that “many hands make light work”, so grab a couple chairs and stands and ask what you can do to help. Not only are you doing the right thing, but you are using an opportunity to teach your child how to be a good person. Don’t let it go to waste!

And just like that, the concert is over.

Congratulations, your child is a star!

Thank you for encouraging your child’s music education. Without it, their world would not be quite as whole.

“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.” – Gerald Ford