A sparkling performance is no mean feat
Whether it’s singing at the top of her lungs, regaling you with jokes, or putting on her own little play, children generally love to amuse and entertain. Performing in front of others gives children a real buzz and is also a great way to help boost confidence. But as we all know, pulling off a sparkling performance is no mean feat.
Many of us have a few painful memories from childhood when things didn’t quite go according to plan, be it forgotten lines during the school play or an attack of nerves during a piano exam. Magician Max Somerset, famous for presenting CBBC’s series The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, can remember things going awry only too well. Of the first magic show he ever performed, Somerset says: “None of my tricks worked and the whole thing was a disaster. Luckily, I was performing to my family who were a very sympathetic audience.”
So how can your child pull off the perfect performance?
“I learnt pretty soon that practice is the key to pulling off great tricks,” says Max. “It’s important to rehearse things in front of other people as much as possible, as it feels very different from when you’re in your own private space. The more you rehearse in front of an audience, the more used to it you get and the more confident you start to feel.” And once you get it right, there are handsome rewards to be reaped. “As a child, I loved being able to wow my friends with tricks,” says Max. “It was brilliant knowing secrets that they didn’t.”
Of course, not every child will want to become a star magician. But sooner or later they’re bound to find themselves in front of an audience, whether it’s telling their classmates about their holiday for show-and-tell or taking part in a school assembly. So, as your child prepares to wow the crowds, the best thing you can do is to offer yourself up as a willing audience for her rehearsal, encouraging her every step along the way. Avoid heckling – and she’ll be sure to shine.
Bring out your child’s inner performer and encourage a budding star with these creative ideas:
Put on a fashion show
The contents of a dressing up box should provide bags of inspiration for a true ‘fashionista’ style parade. Spotlights, a makeshift catwalk and even a few camera flashes will add to the sense of occasion for all concerned.
Set the scene
A favourite story, TV programme or cartoon character can provide the ideal catalyst for budding dramatists. Alternatively, try introducing your children to a famous painting and get them to re-enact the story that might lie behind it.
From chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins and Fat Sam’s speakeasy gangsters in Bugsy Malone to modern-day classics from High School Musical, there are so many song and dance routines waiting to be rehearsed and performed.
From a saucepan and wooden spoon drumkits to dry-pea shakers, you can improvise a range of instruments from the kitchen cupboards. Add a real instrument to the band such as a keyboard or guitar, and they can play the day away.
Move to the music
This could entail working out a sequence of steps to a favourite pop song or ‘interpreting’ a longer music piece such as Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf or Holsts The Planets.
Most children love nothing better than endless knock-knock and Doctor Doctor jokes – all that’s needed is a makeshift microphone and a captive audience to share the laughs.