Updated: Jul 5
By Christy | The Practicing Pro
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Each year, I always find it so surprising the first time I have to use the word “December”.
What? Is it nearing Christmas already? It can’t be possible.
The holiday season sneaks up on me every year and is closer than I think. Are you like this too?
There are so many fun festive events happening over the next weeks in preparation for Christmas day.
Those eager to spread cheer and joy are cozying up in their matching Christmas pjs, buying a new puzzle for the season or are the first on the block to put out their Christmas decorations. One of my favorite things to do to kick-off the season is to attend a tree lighting ceremony, perform in or watch outdoor concerts (in the cold of course) and start an advent calendar to begin the countdown!
Advent calendars are a popular and easy way to escalate the excitement as the big day gets closer. The idea is simple: countdown the days in December leading up to Christmas Eve.
Advent calendars come in all shapes and forms. I made one for my children that was a large tree that hung on the wall and it had 25 numbered pockets at the bottom, each representing one day. On each day, there was a different felt ornament that I had carefully designed, cut out of felt and glued together. Each day, the kids took turns choosing the place on the tree where the next ornament would go and sewing it in place. The tree would fill, the day would get closer and their excitement grew too!
This year I have a Sanat’s beard advent calendar for you!
You can either use it to count down the days until Christmas OR use it to practice “25 days” or “25 times”- whatever works best for you and your musician.
After each practice, affix a round ¾-1” white circle sticker label to the beard on the numbers. You can also cut out 25 pieces of white paper, or my favorite, use 25 cotton balls that you glue on.
One day or one practice equals one circle.
You will note the letter "C" on Santa’s beard. This is for a special concert they do for someone in person, via ZOOM or over Facetime, etc… to share music with someone special over this holiday season.
If Santa is not your thing, you can get an advent calendar with chocolate, lego, charm bracelets or harry potter and star wars themed. The options are endless! There are SO MANY!!! Whichever advent calendar you choose, just be sure that your musician knows that they get to open each day after they complete a practice. Assign a concert for friends or family for the last day on the calendar, as the advent gifts on Christmas Eve are usually a little bigger or more special.
Practicing 25 times before Christmas is easy and fun!
Extra help for teachers:
Here is a template that you can print which I use for my students. You can print the Santa's beard in colour on card stock, then on the back of the same sheet put the instructions in black and white. You can also do it on a separate piece of paper like I did.
I took the two pages plus a sheet of circle stickers and stapled them all together. Then I put each child's name on the top and gave them to each teacher to pass out during the last week of November and the first of December.
Here is the text from the template to cut and paste and change, if you would like:
Here is a fun Santa’s beard advent activity that you can use for your practicing leading up to Christmas, or to use over Christmas break.
After each practice, fill in a sticker on Santa's beard.
Do you see the circle that has a “C” on it? That’s a SPECIAL one for filling in after you do a concert for someone and make them feel happy during this season of giving!
Please send me a photo of your amazing completed Santa’s beard.
You can also find a few more Christmas practicing activities on the student portal page www.scotiasuzuki.org - click on BLOG and choose the parent's education option. They are all there and you can search the keyword “Christmas”. You can also sign up for the successful practice checklist and receive weekly emails with practicing tips and resources while you are there.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Check out my Free PDF download Checklist for a Successful Music Practice for teachers and practicing parents.
Your easy checklist for successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent or music teacher, this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.
INVITATION from Christy Hodder:
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