Whether you love it or not, the holidays are fast approaching and that means “All I Want for Christmas is You” played on repeat and depleting your body of the willingness to enjoy high-pitched power-carols and pumpkin pie. Fortunately, even with a growing distate for all things red and green, this is the time of year that you can make everything about you. Use this time to flex your music skills, fresh after marching band season, and hold a holiday recital for your friends and family.
1. Picking music.
This is the most obvious task for arranging your holiday recital, but also the most important and difficult. Like any recital, you want to make sure the pieces are varied in tempo and mood enough to keep your audience engaged. Another good recommendation: try to kick off your set with something upbeat. A slower song will take more effort for you to draw people in, whereas faster songs usually don't strain the ears so much. In terms of selecting songs, putting together a holiday recital gives you way more options that you would expect. You can go the religious route, with songs like “O Holy Night”, or even go a more secular path, “It’s the most Wonderful time of the year”. Alternatively, you can even forgo the whole “Christmas music” genre and just focus on songs that sound fitting for winter. We here at Chromatik love Sibelius’ “Finlandia”, which is probably the iciest song for wintertime.
2. A theme.
This will come easily once you choose your music. If you’re doing an all-Christian set, then you might want to choose a theme closer to that imagery; however, if you’re set isn’t as Christmas-focused, try something a little more winter-y. Use moods, seasons, textures to convey the idea you want to get across through the music you chose. A coherent theme in your music will make your set more enjoyable and exciting to an audience that might be unfamiliar to your tunes. Once you have decided on a theme, you can expand on it by putting up decorations that match your theme. If you want to be really fancy, dress accordingly with your theme. Depending on the mood you're trying to get across, you could dress in costume or just wear colors that compliment the mood.
In a more formal context, this is probably something you’d skip. (A sidenote: think about the size of your audience. This will change the way you interact and treat them). Bringing something to sate your audience's muchies shows that you appreciate that they have come to listen to you perform. Try to make some kind of snack food that your audience can enjoy as you perform (cookies or peppermint brownies are great holiday treats). Also, hot chocolate. Your friends and family will love you before you’ve even started playing.
4. Bring in other performers.
This is the time for giving and thanking, so make sure to share your platform. Have a sister that plays a piano? Bring her up and let her perform! Share a sentimental Kodak moment for your grandparents and even perform a duet together. Have a music teacher you really appreciate? Invite them along and ask them to perform a song. Mixing up the performers and bringing friends and family together for a jam session is a great way to liven up a performance. The more change-ups and characters involved in your holiday recital, the more exciting the show will be for the people watching.
Looking for good holiday recital ideas? Head over to Chromatik for free sheet music and tutorials.