Fresh Ideas to Motivate Kids to Practice

Need some new ways to motivate your child to practice their music? Here are some ideas to encourage your child to practice and learn to love playing music.

  1. Practice with Your Child
    Younger children are always looking for more mommy and daddy time. Why not sit down and go through their songs with them? They’ll be excited to show you what they know, and you can help them push through any difficult sections. Ask lots of questions, and let them be the expert! They’ll be excited to share what they know with you.
  2. Ask Your Teacher to Provide Specific Assignments
    Sometimes it’s easier if the practice instructions come from an outside authority.  A practice assignment with specifics on what to practice and for how long can help your child focus on what’s important.
  3. Find Additional Music That They Like to Play
    From Disney movies to Star Wars and pop songs, there are lots of music books available that could spark your child’s desire to learn. They’ll be excited when they begin to recognize the sound of the song as they’re practicing.
  4. Be Sure to Praise the Effort and Not the End Result
    Praise your child for the hard work they put into practicing, and not the success of their performance. There is a lot of research that suggests that praising the effort is more effective at encouraging them to practice than praising the result. It’s good to celebrate when they succeed, but too much focus on the end result can build anxiety, which will make them less likely to enjoy practicing.
  5. Post Positive Motivation Around the House
    There are lot of positive quotes and stories from both classical and popular musicians that can be found with a simple Google search. Why not post quotes on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror to encourage your child throughout the week? Knowing that accomplished musicians also need to practice could help to encourage your child when their practice time comes.

Here are Dance Pointe, we love positive, involved parents who want to help their children learn and succeed. Please don’t hesitate to check on your child’s progress, and ask what your teacher would recommend for their continued growth and learning.

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My Child Has the Flu – Should They Stay Home Today?

It’s winter once again, which means it gets dark at 5, you’ve got snow piling up outside, and it’s flu season. The flu virus causes upper respiratory infections, and can include symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. It is most often spread when a person with the flu sneezes, coughs or talks. It can be spread on surfaces, but this is less common.

If your child comes down with the flu, it’s best to keep them home from school and other activities for at least a few days. It’s recommended that you keep your child home for at least 24 hours after any fever has broken. This means that the fever has gone down on its own, and not with the aid of any medications. If they are still struggling with other symptoms, such as a persistent cough or runny/stuffy nose, they should also stay home until those symptoms clear up. 

It may seem harmless for a sick person to go back to their normal activities before they are completely well, but there are some for whom the flu could be quite dangerous. Children who are younger than five years of age, and those with asthma or other health disorders can become very ill if they contract the flu.   It can also be dangerous for pregnant women and the elderly. It’s important to remember who your child may come in contact with when deciding how soon they should resume their activities. 

We know that your children love their classes at Dance Pointe, and we love seeing them each week. However, if your child is sick please keep them home for a few days to get better. It’s important for them to get the rest that they need, and we’d like to keep our other students and teachers healthy. We’ll be excited to see them once again when they are well. Thank you!

Before we go, here’s a quick tip on how to properly wash your hands, which is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and to stay healthy.  Follow the steps below to wash your hands right every time.

    • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold)
    • Turn off the tap and apply soap
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel

 

Skills from the Stage

Our lives are all pretty busy these days. So, when it comes to finding activities for your children, you want something that makes the most out of the time that your family is investing. One activity that combines a fun experience for your child with important life skills is musical theater and drama. Check out our list of five skills learned on the stage to see how your child could grow from this experience.

  1. Self-Confidence
    Preparing a performance for the stage gives a child or young adult the opportunity to be in front of a crowd and speak in front of others. Through practice, they gain confidence in their ability to express themselves creatively, and to communicate with their peers and the audience. The trust that they develop in themselves will encourage them to attempt other new ventures, and they will find success when they are confident in their own abilities.
  2. Flexibility & Problem Solving
    We all know that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and kids who can learn to roll with the changes will experience less anxiety and adapt more quickly to those changes. Improvisational games and other drama teaching techniques help kids learn how to think on their feet, and how to work through mistakes. Learning to move past how things “were supposed to go,” and solve the problem in front of them is a great life skill to learn early on.
  3. Teamwork
    There is nothing quite like the feeling that comes from performing together on stage. The weeks of preparation and the rush of performing creates a bond between everyone involved. Students learn how to work together, solve problems and listen to one another. It also creates strong bonds and friendships that last well beyond the final bows.
  4. Language & Communication
    Learning new songs, memorizing a script and practicing their lines can help children and young adults to develop their vocabulary, project their voice so that others can hear them, and articulate words clearly so that they can be understood. In addition, they can also learn how to use facial expressions and body language to convey their character’s thoughts and feelings.
  5. Concentration
    It takes a lot of focus and concentration to learn lines, and to remember to stay “in character” throughout practice and a performance. Kids can learn how to stay in the moment while performing, and to block out various other distractions. This ability to center themselves and stay focused will be a huge asset to them in school and other areas of life.

If your child or young adult is ready to take the stage, please join us for Shrek the Musical, Jr. This show is a fun and twisted fairy tale that is adapted for young performers featuring a host of over-the-top roles for an expandable cast. With colorful sets and costumes, songs full of laughs and familiar characters, this show is a great choice for young performers.

Ready to take the stage? Join us at Dance Pointe Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, January 10th at 6:30 pm, or on Friday, January 12th at 6:00 pm to audition for Shrek the Musical, Jr. We can’t wait for you to join us!

Thank You and Happy Holidays

As we head into the heart of the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for making this year so special. This past Saturday we wrapped another successful performance of Clara’s Holiday Dream, and I want to thank all of you for your help in bringing it all together. I love watching our students’ excited smiles as they get ready backstage. Their joyous energy is contagious, and I love the anticipation as they prepare to perform. I know the hard work that each of my students puts into their performance. I have seen many of them grow from tiny tot dancers into accomplished young dancers, and it is my joy to see them shine on stage and reach their goals.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Clara’s Holiday Dream happen this year. I greatly appreciate all of your help in bringing this production together. Life rarely slows down, especially at this time of the year, and I am grateful for the time you devote to helping our students and our studio.

On behalf of myself and the entire staff here at Dance Pointe Performing Arts Center, I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. It’s my little one’s first Christmas, and I am so excited to watch him experience all of the magic and beauty of the holidays for the first time. May things slow down just a little for all of us, so that we can truly experience the joy of each other’s company and the love that we all have for one another.

Just a reminder that we will be on break from Sunday, December 24th through Monday, January 1st. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 2nd.

 

5 Steps to Battle the Butterflies

“But, Mom, I’m nervous!” This is something you  may hear as your child prepares for a dance performance or music recital. Even children and teenagers who have performed on stage before can struggle with nervousness before a performance. After dancing on stage for more than fifty years, Mikhail Baryshinkov has said that he still gets nervous before every performance.

However, even though being nervous before a performance is completely normal, it can still feel overwhelming and paralyzing for children. As a parent, how can you help your child to calm their nerves before a performance? Here are a few steps to help them take control of their butterflies.

  1. Breathe
    Deep breathing can have a tremendous calming effect on a racing mind and tense body. It lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and releases nitric oxide, which increases your senses, endurance and strength. When a feeling of calm returns, a child is better able to move past their nervous thoughts and focus on the stage and their steps. They can do this quietly on their own right before going on stage, which gives them a tool to calm any last minute jitters.

*Check out this helpful article on breathing techniques for children and teens from The Mayo Clinic.

2.  Visualize
Have your child close their eyes and visualize what their performance will be like. Talk with them about the stage, the audience, the music, the lights and other elements of the performance. Have them visualize where they will be standing on stage, and the other dancers that will be around them. This can help your child prepare for what it will be like to be on stage.

3. Shake it Off
Don’t ignore the wisdom of Taylor Swift when dealing with nervous energy. Stretching and shaking out muscles before a performance can help young performers get rid of some of the adrenaline building up in their system, which helps to lessen nerves and increase calm feelings and focus.

4. Have a History Lesson
If your child or teenager has performed before, talk with them about those performances. Were they nervous before they went on stage before that dance or piece of music? What did they do to work through their fears then? Remind them of their past successes to help them tackle their current fears. They may just need a reminder to help them reclaim their confidence.

5. Tackle the “What ifs?”
Talk with your child in the weeks leading up to the performance to identify any “what if” fears they may have. One of the biggest may be, “What if I make a mistake?” If left unchecked, this can grow into a big fear inside a child’s head. Instead, talk through what would happen if they did make a mistake, and what they would do to get back on track. If they know what they will do in the event that a mistake happens, then they will be less nervous about this “what if,” and more able to move on should they stumble on stage. Chances are, it’s an unfounded fear that they can put behind them, and instead move ahead with the excitement of performing.

As your child’s teachers, we’re here to help! Let us know if your child is struggling with stage fright. It’s likely that we’ve already discovered this, and we are working with your child to move past those fears. It can be difficult for parents to see their children in situations where they are nervous and fearful, but facing those fears brings them more confidence in their abilities and pride in their hard work. It’s one of the reasons we believe in the power of the arts in your child’ s life.

Don’t forget that our holiday performance of Clara’s Holiday Dream is coming up this Saturday, December 16th at 6:00 pm at JFK Middle School. Click here to purchase tickets.

ballerina

 

Holiday Gifts that Last

As a new parent, I am so excited for Christmas! Watching my little one experience his first Christmas with all of the lights, music and gifts from loved ones will be a lasting memory.  Speaking of gifts, now that I’m a parent, I’m finding out just how many questions parents have when it comes to choosing presents for their kids. Will my little one play with and learn from this toy, or will it be forgotten in the corner? Will this stand up to all of his baby energy, or is it going to be broken in a month? With all of the baby gear and other baby must-haves filling up my home, I’m starting to wonder how it’s all going to fit!

When they’re young, children need toys and games to stimulate their little minds. However, as they grow it’s also important for them to acquire experiences as well as tangible gifts. These experiences can include family vacations, trips to local museums, sporting events and lessons designed to teach a skill and inspire them creatively.

One great experience that you can give to your child is the opportunity to learn to play a music instrument, dance or play a part on stage. As a dance teacher and studio owner for many years, I know the positive impact that the performing arts can have in a child’s life. Kids who participate in the arts perform better in school, and develop creativity, responsibility, and diligence.  They also form strong bonds with their teachers who impart so much more than the steps in a dance or the notes on a page. As their teachers, we watch them grow over the years, and work hard to help them achieve their goals.   Students can also develop strong friendships with their fellow students that provide lots of laughs, encouragement and camaraderie as they grow.

I would love for your child to experience the arts at Dance Pointe Performing Arts Center.  We offer a variety of classes in dance, music and drama, and I’m sure that you’ll find one that your child will love.  We are so grateful to work with each child to pursue their goals and discover new skills.

We’re currently offering a discount on class Gift Certificates for the holiday season, which will fit nicely into a stocking or a box under the tree. You can purchase these at the studio, or via the link below. This is a great way to provide your child with an enriching experience that they will carry with them through their childhood and beyond.

CLICK HERE to purchase class gift certificates on the Dance Pointe Performing Arts Center website.

Pile of Presents