Big thinking: Taking your performance group to the next level

Nov 16, 2017

Travel Notes

We’ve had the opportunity to work with most of our clients year after year, watching many of their performance groups evolve into nationally recognized programs. Our clients that succeed in the world of competitive performance seem to have several qualities in common. As many of you are directors with newer programs, we wanted to share those qualities we’ve noticed if you’d like to grow your program towards competition. Here’s what we’ve observed:

Attitude is everything

Research has proven that positivity is a game changer in life, regardless of what you’re pursuing. While we’re not collecting hard data on what makes a performance group competitively successful, we have seen that the attitude of the director affects everything. Students are keen observers – they don’t miss ANYTHING. Everything about the way a director presents himself or herself is communicated to the students. If you’re excited about a performance, they will be too. If you’re negative, nervous or even ambivalent about an upcoming competition, they will be too. Your attitude forms how your students will perform – both in the classroom and on the road.

Fundraise forward

The most successful groups may have an army of boosters behind them now, after years of program building, but very few started out that way. Our clients with the most robust programs have to fundraise too, but they’ve learned that fundraising is an ongoing activity. Fundraising campaigns for trips or competitions are necessary (and help build camaraderie and culture!), but once those funds are raised, successful programs keep on raising. This builds a nest egg for future activities and helps make changes to the program possible. Additionally, directors with successful programs are in tune with the financial climate of their communities and what’s realistically possible for their families. They understand the financial situation and plan, fundraise and communicate accordingly.

Confidence is a practice before it’s a reality

When your program is new and you’re feeling pressured to succeed, confidence isn’t always your first instinct. But students can sniff out insecurity just like they notice a bad attitude. For example, if your students notice that you’re nervous about securing enough travelers for your first performance tour, they’ll be nervous as well. For new programs or programs that are working towards a goal, the old adages of “fake it till you make it” and “never let them see you sweat” certainly apply. Show your students that you’re confident in them, in the performance tour or competition you’ve planned and in your program in general – even if your feelings of confidence haven’t caught up just yet. Google “stand like a superhero” if you need some convincing.

It’s such an honor for us to work with our clients in every stage of their program. Whether you’re brand new, rebuilding an existing program or a seasoned veteran, we’d love to partner with you on your next performance tour.

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