Creating (and maintaining!) an awesome culture for your music program
We think student performers are the coolest – they learn together, wow crowds together and create relationships that often last a lifetime. But we know that none of that happens by accident. Thoughtful directors create meaningful environments for students to grow as both people and performers. But how? Today we’re going to focus on ways to build community within your program that engage new students while supporting your existing performers.
Have shared experiences
Nothing bonds people together like a shared experience. Of course, we think traveling together is a great way to share memories together but there are endless ways to create those shared moments. Band camp, car washes, competitions, concerts – every moment your students work together towards a common goal, they’re growing closer. Promote those opportunities, talk them up to your students – or better yet, have your older students talk them up to the newer kids. When everyone’s together, something magic happens.
That togetherness leads us to our next suggestion – make sure you find ways to include everyone. This is especially important when it comes to student travel. While action packed and full of memories to be made, performance trips can be expensive. But we’ve found there’s always a way to raise the money, involve companion travelers or community members, or dream up new ideas to make travel affordable. Trips should never be for affluent students only – find a way to include everyone, every time. Because, when everyone’s together, something magic happens.
Get parents on board
Parents are so much more than your group’s biggest fans. They’re the best organizers, fundraisers and boosters. And their support is critical to the success of your program. Get these rockstars involved before the school year even starts and watch them make every one of your group’s activities more fun. Again, when everyone’s together, something magic happens.
We’ll leave you with a fun example of how one moment turned into a memory that turned into part of one group’s culture:
“We saw Aladdin on Broadway and the next morning we did a workshop with a cast member. We learned a portion of Arabian Nights from the show; even the parents and chaperones joined in and learned the song and dance. Later that night we went on a dinner dance cruise on the Hudson and one of the chaperones secretly asked if the DJ would play Arabian Nights – the kids didn’t know. It’s only us and another choir on the second level of the boat. The DJ played the song and all my kids did the dance they learned that morning – my non-competitive, show choir kids dancing!”
– Holly Pemberton
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