Valery Lloyd-Watts begins by establishing rapport with children. Using music and experiences relevant to them. She promotes involvement by asking questions designed so that every response is acceptable. Eliciting reactions from the children is an important aspect of holding their attention. Both by asking questions and by sharing ideas of what the children might hear in the music, Ms. Lloyd-Watts is able to guide them to listen actively and attentively.
The program draws on some of the best examples of music from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras to movie themes, popular songs and rags. There is music to appeal to everyone.
Using the experience in the classroom: Before the performance, teachers enjoy helping children understand what “concert etiquette” is. They may explain that listening attentively, clapping enthusiastically but not whistling or calling out, and sitting in their seats, is all part of making the performer feel welcome.
Sometimes teachers have a student introduce Ms. Lloyd-Watts. This provides excellent training in learning how to present themselves in front of an audience, and how to prepare appropriate things to say. Some information about the pianist helps the student audience feel that they connect with her as a person and as a pianist. A few words of welcome also helps Ms. Lloyd-Watts to feel comfortable and happy to be there.
At the end of the performance, a different student may be asked to thank her for her presentation. This gives students an opportunity to express their appreciation and demonstrates courtesy on the part of the entire school.
After the performance
In the classroom a discussion of the concert could follow: What piece did you like the best? Did the stories about the music help you to enjoy the music more? How did the music make you feel? Did you react differently to various pieces? According to Ms. Lloyd-Watts, music is emotion in sound. Do you agree with this?
Sometimes teachers have students write notes individually or collectively, telling Ms. Lloyd-Watts what they liked best about the performance. Receiving these notes is one of the most pleasurable parts of the concert for Ms. Lloyd-Watts.
Sometimes the children draw pictures of their favourite piece or of Ms. Lloyd-Watts sitting at the piano.
Valery Lloyd-Watts wears glamourous clothes. The class could discuss how clothing has an effect on the audience’s response. Should the students dress their best for important events? Dressing up is one way the performer shows respect for the audience. Everything Valery Lloyd-Watts does is designed to create a powerful experience for the children on as many levels as possible.