Making a Jewish student welcome at a Christmas recital

Briana LeClaire said: Sep 21, 2016
 Cello
7 posts

Hi everyone,

I am the only cello teacher in a studio with seven other teachers of various instruments: violin, guitar, piano, voice, percussion. I’m new to this studio. I want to know how to make my 13-year-old beginner student, who is Jewish, feel welcome at the annual Christmas recital. It’s optional, but I’m told it’s the most popular recital of the year.

I’m pretty close with this family; my adult daughter and the dad used to do comedy together and I attended my student’s bat mitzvah. Should I suggest she learn a secular Christmas song? That’s going to take some doing because she’s a beginner, but I bet I can find an arrangement she can handle of “Have Yourself” or “The Christmas Song” or “White Christmas” or the like.

Ideas, please!

Thank you,

Briana

Anne Marie said: Sep 21, 2016
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Troy, NY
12 posts

Hi Briana,

Instead of offering to teach your student a Christmas song, why not offer to teach them a:

winter song (e.g., Jingle Bells, Let it Snow)
song about peace (e.g. Let There Be Peace on Earth, or Shalom) or
a Chanukah song!

Maybe this will be the first time your school hears the sound of Yiddish/Klezmer style, but it’s important for us to listen to the music of traditions outside of what we hear at home.

Itzhak Perlman has a great CD, In the Fiddlers House, if you’d like to add some Jewish music to your lending library. There are many other good choices and I can make further recommendations if there is interest.

Joanne Martin has beautiful Chanukah arrangements in her collections, Festive Strings and More Festive Strings. So why not have the kids play ensemble music? Your Jewish family may feel more included and be more willing to share in the Christmas music, if others are willing to share in the Chanukah music. Ask the family if they’d like to learn some holiday music, Chanukah included.

At our school, we have a winter jam every year. All family, friends, and instruments welcomed. We use the Joanne Martin books and call out the open strings and the key for the musicians who can’t read music yet. It’s one of our favorite events. Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, New Year, and Santa Lucia Day…. all included!

Good luck!
Anne Marie

Kay said: Sep 21, 2016
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
7 posts

When I taught violin in the schools, we kept our ‘holiday’ programs multicultural. It offers the opportunity for teaching great lessons about cultural diversity, and the kids become familiar with a lot of great music.

Kay Woods

Christiane said: Sep 22, 2016
Christiane Pors-Sadoff
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
New York, NY
47 posts

Briana,
You could teach the student and class Dreydl, Dreydl, Dreydl which is popular as part of the Chanukah season. There is a beginner version in Rhoda’s ABC’s for the Absolute Beginner Book 1. This makes the program much more multicultural.
Christiane

Christiane Pors
Violinist
Mikomi Violin Studio
Kaufman Music Center
NYU Steinhardt

Anne Marie said: Sep 22, 2016
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Troy, NY
12 posts

Briana,

One more thought:

If you and your co-teachers want to embrace a shift in thinking, you could start to refer to the recital as your

Winter Recital
Holiday Recital
December Recital

instead of your Christmas Recital.

Anne Marie

Briana LeClaire said: Sep 22, 2016
 Cello
7 posts

Thank you all for the suggestions. The song and book titles are particularly helpful. There is so much knowledge in this group—I learn something new every day!

~ Briana

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services