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The Elementary Christmas Musical: Managing Practices

written by: Laurie Patsalides • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 11/18/2012

This is another part in a series about producing a musical or play in the elementary classroom. In this article in the series, we will discuss the dreaded practice and how to make it manageable. Being prepared will help the children to respond to your direction at play rehearsals.

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    Some teachers are told that they have to create a play or musical production for the school, especially at Christmas time, and for some teachers this can be an overwhelming task. Hopefully from this series, the new teacher or even the veteran teacher will have some insight into how to make the classroom play a success.

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    Manage a Play or Musical Practice

    Managing play practice (or a musical practice) does not have to be overwhelming. With these guidelines, the teacher should be able to make managing play practice in the elementary classroom like a breeze.

    Sticking to these suggestions will get you on stage in no time:

    1.) Start early. It is never to early to begin play practice.

    2.) Coordinate schedules with the sound system personnel. Chances are he or she is also in charge of the lights. Discuss the music, the order of the music, microphone placement and lighting. Ask him or her to be present for the musical practices.

    3.) Have a plan before you take the students to the auditorium. Where will they stand and sit? What direction will they move on the stage? Place masking tape on the stage where each student or group of students should stand, keeping in mind where the scenery will be placed.

    4.) Bring a stopwatch. Time how long it takes for each section of the play. With more practice, you should see it decrease. You also want to know this information if you have a time limit. After many practices, you will be able to run through the production and all staging directions without a hitch.

    5.) Talk to the students about the importance of practicing for their classroom play. Discuss Broadway shows again and how much practice it takes to be in a major theater production. Discuss the determination, dedication and responsibility needed from each person in a musical production or play.

    6.) Have a management plan, similar to that in the classroom: How do students sit, give you their attention, and so on. Discuss the plan ahead of time with the students.

    7.) Elicit help from other teachers or parent volunteers whenever possible. Delegate and communicate their roles for practice, which will be the same at the actual musical.

    8.) Take photographs of the entire cast and each student. This will make a great keepsake memory for the students. Include pictures of them practicing in costume.

    For suggestions on managing a classroom play from an experienced music teacher, read more.