The Ugly Christmas Sweater Train just won’t slow down. For years those red and green woolly monsters covered in scotty dogs and poinsettias were a source of sniggers. But now, all the cool kids are raiding granny’s closet and wearing them to parties.
In fact, companies have sprung up who actually make ugly Christmas sweaters for the 20 somethings who now find them cool. How many times have you been invited to an “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party… or have seen an entire staff sporting their gaudiest knitted garments? I’m guessing quite a bit lately.
It’s funny how quickly something can come back into favor and it’s interesting how perception is often all that needs to be shifted.
Slip On That Scratchy Wool and Hit The Piano Bench
Believe it or not, there is something that piano teachers can learn from ugly Christmas sweaters. In fact, there is lots we can learn about making something that was once distasteful into something fabulous. And what is that “something”? Piano practice. Check out our Top 5 Ways Ugly Christmas Sweaters Can Improve Piano Practice…
1. Christmas Sweaters Are Funny: Let’s face it… as you don your jingle-bell bedazzled cardigan you’re smiling at your ridiculous image in the mirror, and you know that some great guffaws are coming your way. Laughter is probably the only reason you’re participating in this tradition in the first place.
So When It Comes To Piano Practice:… make it funny… or at the very least, enjoyable! Practice doesn’t need to mean long hours spent in a room alone drilling the same measure for 45 minutes. In fact, practice can be unique, enjoyable and can involve the whole family. Adding humor and fun to piano practice will increase productivity greatly.
2. Christmas Sweaters Make You Feel Like One Of The Gang. You likely wouldn’t wear your ugly sweater out shopping alone, but to a group party… bring it on! Part of the success ugly Christmas sweaters are now enjoying is due to a “let’s all do it!” mentality.
So When It Comes To Piano Practice:… encourage camaraderie among your students. Create opportunities for your students to build relationships, foster a sense of community in your studio and provide plenty of collaborative pairings. Soon a “let’s all do it!” mentality will form for you too and your students will be practicing because their peers are practicing!
3. Christmas Sweaters Are Easy To Find. Dive deep into the closet of any grandma, auntie or neighbour and you’re almost guaranteed to find a gem. This means that when “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” invitations make the rounds… everyone is on board because it’s pretty effortless to do so.
So When It Comes To Piano Practice:… make practice “easy” on your students. Outline clear goals and criteria for home practice, provide your students with the materials they need for success at home and encourage parental participation and assistance.
4. Christmas Sweaters Are Unique. They’re creative and they’re so varied, that what was one just a simple ugly sweater has now become people sewing on stockings, slipping on battery-operated lights and creating garments from gift wrap and bows. Anything goes, and because of this, the ugly Christmas sweater fad never gets old.
So When It Comes To Piano Practice:… allow your students the opportunity to be creative. Practice shouldn’t mean only playing the music of others, but should also involve composing, improv and “free play” on the piano. Giving your students the tools to break free from only practicing what’s on the page is one of the greatest practice motivators you can find.
5. Christmas Sweaters Beg To Be Shared. Social media reins king these days… and #uglychristmas sweater is one hashtag that’s on fire. A huge chunk of the motivation most people feel to find the ugliest or most unique sweater comes from that perfect profile picture they know they’ll snap, or that hilarious tweet that will be retweeted a thousand times, or that Instagram photo that will receive 80 likes.
So When It Comes To Piano Practice:… provide motivating goals that involve the sharing of your students’ progress. Get parental permission and then share video and photos of your students as a motivating way to encourage goal setting. Piano practice can be solitary, but with thoughts of social media love from friends and family, that solitude becomes a whole lot more bearable.
Happy Holidays To All Of Our Readers!
Both Trevor and I would like to wish you a very happy holiday season. Each and every one of you are on our list of “thankful-for’s” this past year; those of you who write to us to say “thank you” in the most kind and heart-felt ways, those of you who share your triumphs and your struggles with us, those of you who brighten our days with your sense of humor and your quick wit, those of you who make us feel useful with your questions and desire for help, those of you who warm our hearts by sharing our creations with your piano students and those of you who have supported us from day one with boundless enthusiasm. We are so very blessed by this online community and we wish you all the best of the season. To family, health, happiness and music! Cheers.