Channel your inner Shakespeare when planning your next band trip. As Shakespeare once wrote, “all the world’s a stage.” For performance groups, that idiom can become literal!
For many band directors, the decision to perform while traveling is not an easy one; it can incur additional expenses and logistics, and make an otherwise laidback trip a little more rigid. It all leads back to one question – “is it worth it?”
In most cases, that answer is a resounding yes! Students participating in group travel have the opportunity to perform at treasured landmarks, making memories that will last a lifetime. Add in the possibility of collaborating with prestigious groups, like opening for local jazz legends in New Orleans, and playing at iconic venues, like the National Mall, and the wow factor intensifies.
Many of the challenges of adding a performance can be mitigated ahead of time by you, your tour operator, and the venue. Here are my 3 pieces of advice to make your performance trips a Much Ado About Nothing.
Traveling with Instruments
There’s nothing like hauling an upright bass through the rainy sidewalks of New York City to get you questioning a few life choices. Plan for your performance by taking precautions to make the experience easier. Travel with a company that is familiar with porterage on large instruments; it may even make sense to rent a few in your destination city and have them delivered to the venue. When scheduling your performance days, be sure to include rest periods to take the instruments back to the hotel so they can stay in a controlled climate, and you can stop worrying about them.
Timing the Audience
One of the most difficult parts about choosing a performance venue is finding one that has constant exposure to an audience. Because you’re putting in extra effort to make this performance happen, you want your students to be heard and admired. Reach out to your tour operator or venue and ask them what their foot traffic is like at certain times of the day and week. For the easiest guaranteed audience, choose a festival, a stage in a crowded venue (such as Disney Springs), or a venue with a built-in audience, such as a church holding a planned service.
Adapting to (and preparing for) less than ideal conditions
When performing on the road, groups must adapt to different playing conditions. If you’re inside, the acoustics may be off, or the music stands the venue provided may look like they’re a hundred years old. If you’re outside, it may be so windy the sheet music doesn’t stand a chance at staying still (looking at you, deck of the USS Intrepid ;)!). The bottom line is, nothing is going to feel the same as practicing or performing at home, and that’s okay! Focus on the excitement and opportunity of this new performing experience and speak with your tour operator about how to anticipate these conditions and prepare for them. In the example of the USS Intrepid, that would involve clothes pins. Lots of clothes pins.
In the end, the challenges of performing on tour cannot compete with the memories and valuable experience your students will gain. So, what are you waiting for? Embrace your inner Shakespeare and partner with an experienced performing tour operator for your next band trip.
It’s not too late to plan a trip for 2023! Consider these three or a multitude of other destinations to excite and enrich your performance groups in the upcoming year. Either way, Green Light loves to see groups traveling, performing, and reaching their goals, and we’re happy to assist in that process however possible.
Green Light Group Tours is providing this FREE download of tried-and-true tips and suggestions for creating the best travel experience ever! Instant download available HERE. Ready to request a quote for your next band trip? You can do that HERE.
Special thanks to our business partners Green Light Group Tours and Jennie Gulley for this article. Green Light specializes in exciting and educational travel experiences for your students.
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