I just love this time of year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…. I LOVE Christmas music. It just has a way of lifting the spirits and I do not mind it one bit when I hear it in stores, restaurants or radio a little bit “early”. Matter of fact, I was having breakfast with my husband at one of our favorite places last weekend and my eyes totally lit up when I found myself singing along and realizing it was Christmas music!
I have been telling my students this week that Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away, can you believe it? And then it’s Christmas camp! They are so excited about Christmas camp especially my students who have been with me awhile and know exactly what that means.
What is Christmas Camp?
Christmas camp is a 4 hour (or more) music workshop with a Christmas/Holiday theme. My students look forward to Christmas camp because they know it’s the time to see their piano friends, share the Christmas music they have been learning and having a lot of fun learning about the holidays as it pertains to music, and doing a lot of fun holiday music-themed activities. Oh, and let’s not forget the goodies! Just a little tip… My students LOVE when I provide donuts and hot chocolate during camp. Oh, and cookie exchanges are a bit hit too!
Why Christmas Camp?
Many many years ago I was getting super frustrated at all the no-shows and cancellations during the month, lack of practice and overall unpreparedness. If you know me, then you know that whenever possible I try to come up with win-win solutions. Christmas camp was one of those win-win solutions that have worked so well for me that I will never go back to the “regular” way of doing things in December.
December is no longer a month of frustration. Instead, it’s a month that we all look forward to and parents LOVE it because they can spend more time doing holiday family activities once camp is over. (Not to mention they have a 2-hour break to get some shopping done during camp)
Lastly, holding camps throughout the year create not only fun and learning but friendship. I have witnessed best friends being created during camp and group lessons that would have not otherwise been made.
How to Schedule Christmas Camp?
I’ve played around with a couple scheduling options over the years and found the one that has worked the best for my families. I hold Christmas camp the first two weeks of December. Families sign up on which day works best for them and then attend camp for 2 hours each week on that day. (For example, if they signed up for Tuesdays, they attend the first 2 Tuesdays for 2 hours). After the first two weeks in December, we have a Christmas break for the rest of the month and resume regular lessons in January.
What to Charge?
Well, this is up to you of course. Christmas camp is part of my yearly calendar and tuition. Parents continue to pay their regular monthly tuition in December. Something to keep in mind. If students normally get a 30 min. private lesson which would be 2 hours of private lessons in December (and maybe even less) and Christmas camp is 4 or more hours, then tuition really should reflect accordingly.
What to Do?
There are a ton of Christmas activities and games you can do! I have a bunch in my store but I like camp to be more than games and activities. I want them to learn something that is in relation to the holidays. So I like to put lesson plans together so they are learning something new in relation to the holidays PLUS having fun with games and activities.
To give you an example… This year I am doing my Nutcracker camp for the 3rd time. The last time I did it I think was 10 years ago so it’s definitely time to bring it back. It’s one of my favorites and I recently gave it another makeover! Students learn all about the Nutcracker ballet and we tie in some fun activities along with it. I try to have my Christmas camp tie in with whatever our yearly theme is. This year our yearly theme is “You’re A Star!” so I thought The Nutcracker camp fit perfectly since it is a professional ballet.
Two years ago we did Christmas Around the World and learned and experienced many different holiday traditions around the world. I love learning about holiday traditions around the world. You should have seen me constantly sharing different facts with my husband when I was preparing for that camp. Matter of fact, I even shared one of the powerpoints I made at Christmas Eve dinner with my extended family. It was definitely a hit all around. In the future, I plan to do another one with different countries. You can never learn enough!
By the way, I’ve been updating a lot of my Christmas stuff so if you own any, be sure to re-download. For example I added 12 new questions to the Nutcracker Trivia and 5 new boards for Nutcracker Bingo. Both of these are also included in the Group Made Fun Nutcracker which has also been updated. So go to “My TpT” at the top right-hand corner, click on “My Purchases” and under “Paid Purchases/Free Downloads” click the “Sort By” scroll to where it says “Recently Revised” and all the products that have been revised will show up! Then you just re-download the update for free. Pretty cool, huh?
Do I Need to Call it Christmas Camp?
I’ve never had a problem calling it Christmas camp but you can call it whatever you want. Holiday Camp, Winter Camp… Party, Group, Workshop… The possibilities are endless. Do what feels comfortable for you and go for it!
If you don’t want to do a full camp, a group lesson in December is another great way to bring in that holiday spirit and also create a win-win during this time!
If you have any questions in regards to Christmas camp, please let me know! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
If you are brand new to camps, you may be interested in my video course, Make More Teach Less; A Comprehensive Guide to Running a Music Camp or Workshop.
Looking for some Christmas camp lessons plans or games? Check out the store!
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This is a great idea. I do two weeks of lessons then the 3rd week is usually a group class. It all just depends on how the calendar works out but I do like having group class the week before break as it’s the perfect time for them to perform their Christmas pieces.
That’s awesome Amy! It is definitely the perfect time to play their Christmas pieces! Sometimes we even do a “name that tune” when they perform them for each other. They love it! 🙂