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Why travel with your performing ensemble?

One of the greatest gifts you can give to your students is to showcase them locally, regionally, and nationally as well as internationally by performing in experiential and educational travel settings outside the classroom rehearsals and routine school & community performances. To work towards accomplishing an incredible performance in a new venue, new city or destination for a new audience all while experiencing educational travel is one of the most rewarding experiences you can give your student ensemble. Whether that be your marching band, high school and middle school band, choir, or orchestra, your dance team, your percussion ensemble, your show choir, modern band, winterguard, flex ensemble and other student youth groups – a memorable lifetime experience of travel with their group will perhaps be one of the single most memorable and motivational educational experiences of their life!

All too often we see stories of programs who are exemplary with long histories of success and inspiration. We also see programs dwindling and becoming smaller and removed from the school course offerings. What makes one school have a perceived great program and one not? Many will tell you, it all has to do with the person on the podium. If we look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “if I was a student, why would I want to be in this band (orchestra/choir/team, etc..)?,” what would the answer be? All too often that student is asking themselves that and taking a look at the school program, it’s history, success, YOU, and what’s coming up they should be a part of and more in addition to the intrinsic value of learning an instrument or being part of your ensemble.

How do you motivate and excite the students, community, and administration while recruiting, growing your program/ensemble and building something rewarding and remarkable as a music director? Having a multi-year, sequential plan and road map that includes experiential and educational performance travel is one area that will absolutely motivate and inspire your students, keep them engaged long term, give them opportunities and desire to practice, work towards individual and team goals for culminating performances and help grow and maintain your program. Group educational performance travel is necessary and essential to the building blocks of a continued, successful music program.

What is your WHY? Why do you do what you do? What inspired you to become a better musician in school and choose music as your career? What is your students WHY? Yes, always teach and adhere to sequential building blocks of music education, state/local/national standards, performance rubrics, your state music performance assessment, music pedagogy, and mastery of performance fundamentals. Also, give the students and community the WHY as to what your program is doing short and long term. WHY should everyone go on the tour and WHY should your community support your student youth travel plans?

5 Ways to Start Your Performance Travel Plans

  1. DREAM and choose a reason to GO (the destination, the event, the educational merit, the experience, the special feature).
  2. PLAN ahead and involve an experienced travel planner/tour operator that can help you from the planning stages, to money collection, itinerary planning, event booking, transportation needs, all the way to the execution of the tour and being on hand with you every step of the way.
  3. KNOW the approval and administrative process and timelines at your school and local level.
  4. BUDGET and FUNDRAISE. Become an EXPERT in this area. Travel cost with a group is an area that requires long term planning to include OTR bus reservations, airfare/local transport, venue and destination fees, accommodation reservations and deadlines, meals, tickets, timing, blackout dates, affordability, payment deadlines, venue/hotel/resort coordination and more. Work with your travel planner every step!
  5. MOTIVATE. Once all plans are in place, develop strategies to motivate and encourage every step of the way as you work towards the departure date and event performances. Talk often about your upcoming group travel, remind the students prior to milestones, communicate early and often with all stakeholders and administration, and PROMOTE the travel plans and itineraries. Keep it burning on the forefront of everyone’s minds and ensure your entire ensemble makes the trip! EVERYONE in your ensemble needs to go.

Perhaps, student youth travel is the key to bringing it all together! Give them a dream, a reason, a plan, something to be excited about, work hard for and encourage others to join the journey they are on personally. One of the best ways to build and keep an exemplary program is that each student LOVES the program!

We wish you the best in all of your travel planning with your performance group! We can’t wait to see the incredible impact you will have on your students through experiential and educational performance travel!

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