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Chinese New Year Performance Recap

01 Feb 2019

Are you still immersed in the Chinese New Year Performance that our pupils presented? So am I. In order to host the events successfully, pupils and staff were all well prepared both on the stage and behind the scenes. The following four sections describe the process of how we put this production together.  

 1Preparation Sarah and I were assigned the performance task at the beginning of autumn term. We both shared the belief that pupils should not perform for the sake of performing. We expect to provide the platform for pupils to show their most natural and innate abilities and feelings. Learning through songs has always been our principle in music lessons. Throughout the autumn, after exchanging thoughts and discussing options with our teaching team, Sarah and I finalised the performance plan and programme.


 We planned to make EY1 perform together with EY2, considering that their themes are both related to animals. The theme of the EY3 performance was inspired by communication with Flamingo classroom teacher Ms Zhang. She told me that pupils learned ancient poems depicting autumn and advised me to add Chinese poetry elements to our performance. It reminded me of our own music lessons incorporating traditional Chinese music. 


 We realised from the very beginning that it is important for children to appreciate and understand Chinese culture as well as the best of Western culture, and to develop their aesthetic appreciation. Therefore, the ‘Sing the Ancient Poems’ performance was added to EY3’s programme. Their theme was about the four seasons, with each class representing an individual season. Naturally, spring comes again when a year of four seasons passes. This is how we came up with our Spring Returns theme. We set a higher goal for EY4 pupils compared with the other years. Their first theme was Me and My World and Sarah and I believed that ‘my world’ should refer to a wider and farther world instead of ‘my immediate surroundings’. Finally, pupils presented ‘Singing about the Opera Face’, Tibetan dances, Xinjiang music and dances featuring national characteristics, a music story ‘I’m a Fine Musician’ and ‘Hello to All the Children of the World’ which featured international elements. Sarah and I hold the opinion that we should help pupils identify their own artistic performance strengths and choose the age-appropriate forms of performance accordingly.


 2Implementation Once we confirmed all the performance themes, we settled down to learning and practising the songs as a group. As I mentioned above, our aim is not to put pressure on any of our pupils or push them unnecessarily hard. Instead, what we want to see is them expressing their own unique feelings and showing their understanding of those emotions through various musical activities.


For example, when EY2 pupils learned to sing the song ‘Che Che Kule’, the last sentence of the lyric should be: ‘all disappeared’. However, a boy from the class said automatically: “Under the tree is a pond, in which the crocodile is waiting for the monkey to fall.” To which another girl added: “It is rainy, and all monkeys slide down the tree.” We were willing to hear and respect their imaginative interpretation of the song by allowing them to adapt a new, unique and meaningful version of their own. 


 Take another example of EY4 learning ‘I’m a Fine Musician’. During the process, they gradually added their bold and creative improvisation to the song by changing voice and body movements to represent what they saw, heard and felt. At Huili Nursery Shanghai, children’s artistic creativity is developed and cultivated through numerous games which we call ‘fun education’. We noticed that pupils became excited in all types of musical activities and gained much fun from their participation. They truly enjoyed the performance itself regardless of the result.  

 3On site I will save my words in this part because the pupils’ performances will speak for themselves and there are some pictures highlighting their most marvellous moments. 



 4Acknowledgment Sarah and I were lucky enough that both the non-academic and teaching teams gave us such support and assistance as we prepared for the Chinese New Year Performance. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of them.


I would happily tell you a lot more about the performances and all the wonderful work everyone put in to make it such a success, but it would make this article far too long! In conclusion, we wish you a very healthy and auspicious Year of the Pig and let us embark on the new spring term together after enjoying the Chinese New Year celebrations.