I've been teaching piano for over 15 years, but this week was my very FIRST Christmas Camp.
I know, I know. Don't scold me. I never should have waited so long to try it. Call me chicken, I guess.
Was it successful? Yes! The kids had a great time and I'm confident they would come again.
Was it perfect? No. I immediately saw things that I needed to do differently.
And that's what I want to share with you today. The good AND the bad. Perhaps it will help you whenever you host your next camp.
4 Things That Worked
1. Six students registered and that was perfect. Truthfully, I was hoping 8 would sign up, but that would have been too many.
2. Boomwackers. I thought my students might want something a little more "active" and this worked great. The kids had fun and it was a nice change-of-pace.
3. I had a helper. Honesly, I didn't think I'd need an assistant, but I decided to hire my son, Matthew. I thought it would be good for him and he wanted to earn some money.
Turned out that I really needed him! Things got a little crazy at one point and we ended up dividing into groups. I couldn't have done it without him.
4. Everyone made a simple craft that looked really pretty. This music Christmas tree was a huge success. It was quick to make and all the parents really seemed to appreciate taking home a nice ornament. (Click here to see the video tutorial)
2 Things That Didn't Work
1. Giving out candy prizes was a BIG mistake. Several kids won prizes before snack time and they started eating the candy. Then others wanted to eat, but it wasn't time to eat. Yep, it got kind of crazy for a few minutes.
What I'll do differently - Next time, I'll bypass the grocery aisle with all the Christmas candy on sale and get other fun prizes that have nothing to do with food!
2. Singing Christmas carols while I played the piano was a flop. The kids didn't respond to this at all and I think the reason was because they didn't know the words. Maybe? Whatever the reason, after 2 songs, I gave up and we moved on.
What I'll do differently - Next time, I'll turn this into a game. I play a song and the kids guess the title. I'll even give prizes. Non-candy prizes, of course!
Will I Ever Host Another Camp?
Honestly, I'm not sure why I never did it before. I guess Christmas is such a busy time of the year - and in the past, group lessons have never been my favorite.
(My introverted nature tends to prefer one-on-one lessons instead of large groups.)
But - groups can be fun, it's great for students, and of course, it's a wonderful way to earn some extra money.
If you've never tried it - I think you should give it a shot and I hope these tips help!
Hi there! I'm Tracy Selle. A Christian wife, mom, and author of 101 Piano Practice Tips. I'm also a piano teacher and founder of Upbeat Piano Teachers.