When you start a new music teaching job, you might get very little direction about what to do about your concerts, except what the dates are. Here are some things to consider:

1. First things first.

  1. Check if date has been planned.
  2. Check if an evening concert will include a stipend.

2. Choose theme/songs.

  1. What has been done in the past?
  2. Expectations of teachers/parents?
  3. Philosophy of building (Do they want a simple program only involving the music teacher; do they expect a grand production with other teachers/parents helping?)
  4. What songs are available? appropriate? educational? (Is there a budget to order music?)
  5. Check if classroom teachers do programs/ themes.
  6. Add extras: movement (motions, hand jives, sign language, dances), instruments, narration, costumes
  7. Assign parts and send note home to parents. Find a time to rehearse with those students and/or ask parents/teachers to help.
  8. Balanced program: folk songs, songs the audience will recognize, and newer composed songs.
    1. 3rd, 4th, 5th grade programs
    2. 1st & 2nd grade programs
    3. Chorus ideas

3. Reserve risers

  1. How many and from where?
  2. Need them to rehearse a few days prior?
  3. 3 or 4-step risers? With shell? With guard rail?
  4. Fill out a work order?

 4. Reserve space

  1. What set up do you need?
  2. Equipment? (instruments, mike, podium, music stand, stage)
  3. Fill out a work order?
  4. Scenery – work with parents or art teacher

5. Find accompanist. Pay? (Ask school or PTA.)

6. Communicate!

  1. Let principal, teachers and secretaries know well in advance what you are planning, especially if there are any schedule changes.
  2. Give parents plenty of notice through newsletters and notes home. I usually send two notes home: one several weeks in advance that announces the date and time, and one about a week in advance that gives details. Even give them a gentle reminder of what the audience etiquette is.
  3. Put it on the website!

7. Dress rehearsal

  1. Special schedule during the day? Let teachers know in advance!
  2. Before/ after school rehearsal: permission slip to go home.
  3. Mandatory chorus rehearsals before a concert; remind parents.

8. Programs

  1. Cover: buy, art teacher or student design, computer-designed.
  2. Inside: Who will type? Write names of any volunteers, accompanist, instrument players, chorus students. Also include composers/arrangers.
  3. Who will photocopy? fold?

9. Discuss with students

  1. Arrival time and place to meet
  2. Performance behavior
  3. What order to line up in
  4. How to get on/off risers