Having grown up in an orchestra and being an active musician myself, I’ve paid top dollars to watch my fair share of world-class concerts and performances in major cities around the world. The depth of emotions and the breadth of human experiences one can glean from the Arts never cease to move and astound me.
It is with this that Angie and I have unanimously agreed to expose our daughter, Dana to the Arts from as young an age as possible. In fact , even before Dana could walk, I would carry her and swing her to the rhythm from Strauss. Now at 4, she has started attending formal piano and ballet lessons. As much as we believe in exposing Dana to Music and Arts, we are conscious not to pile unnecessary pressure on her. Then again , why learn something if you don’t strive to do well in it? Any artists worth their salt would attest to the need for discipline and sacrifice to hone their craft to perfection. In the realm of Arts, your skill is your currency to effective interpretation and expression.
This brought me back to the very first performance which Dana was involved when she was barely two. The curtain opens…she stood there with her friends but her eyes were sweeping to and fro across the audience. Finally, she spotted us and the biggest, widest smile flashed across her cherubic face.
|Dana at her 1st concert appearance in Nov 2010. Standing next to her is her buddy Dody.|
That was two years ago. Fast forward two years later to her Kindy Concert in BRMCK. She appeared on stage with a classmate, walked steadily towards a standing microphone, held the over-sized mike with her tiny hands and proceeded to recite a long bible verse as a prelude to her class’ dance item. Truth to be told, Angie was a tad worried that she might be nervous and forget part of the verse. But she delivered it beautifully, and with such conviction that it touched our hearts. It was as though God was directly speaking His promise to us, through our daughter. “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing…”
|Reciting Zephaniah 3:17 as an Concert Emcee in Aug 2012.|
|Performing a Flamenco Dance together with classmates from the N2 Joy Class…|
|Brightly coloured costumes to complement the Salsa rhythms…|
Last Saturday, she return to the stage once again, this time dressed in the loveliest shade of pink, singing and dancing with classmates from her music school. In all three concerts, like any other parents, our hearts swelled with pride as we watched our little girl step out of her own comfort zone to boldly conquer the stage. This time round, she was visibly beaming while she was performing and we could sense her joy being a part of the concert.
|Students from Sunshine 1 (MYC) performing a song ‘My Little Pony’…|
|Dancing and Singing with all her heart and might…|
I liken children to unpolished precious stones. Every concert preparation shapes their confidence, pushes them a little beyond their frontiers and helps them sparkle a little brighter than before. Granted, a lot of rigour, precision and determination are required to put together a good concert (not to mention the hours of rehearsal). We parents can support our children by approaching it with the right perspective – apart from the chance to showcase their technical skills and abilities, more importantly, it is another platform to create shared memories for your child to know that you are there to celebrate their successes and hardwork; that you are willing to be a part of their growing up years.
Most of the concert items are team-based. Apart from the time-constraint factor, I would like to think that it is deliberately lined up as such to promote the children’s social-emotional development. Their social skills become refined with more opportunities to interact, engage and apply teamwork – something the iPhone/Ipad generation kids these days get very little of from the solitary games they play. Let them rehearse…observe…share…argue…resolve and then acquire essential skills to put up a good performance. The applause and satisfaction they received at the end will be the affirmation that each of them played a part to contribute to the success and no one was above the rest.
|Waiting to take the curtain call…|
In conclusion, good healthy exposure to the Music and the Arts is important but as parents, we must be mindful to set age-appropriate expectations. Not forgetting that at this age, with their physical abilities still developing, we should focus more on helping them to enjoy the process of learning and acquiring life skills (such as the ability to interact and socialise with their peers and overcoming their personal fears, appreciating the Arts) rather than become fixated on the end product where we drill them for perfection and distinction. These will come eventually in other shapes and forms when our children are happy and have a balanced upbringing.
|Well done darling. Daddy and Mommy are proud of you.|
I’ve watched so many world-class performances before but none will ever be as memorable as the ones which my daughter put up for me.