As the teacher and concert coordinator, however, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make it work. This was my fifth year organizing a winter concert, and I think I've finally ironed out most of the details so that I'm a little less stressed in its preparation:
Tips for Creating a Concert:
- Sing with the students in mind - Use their voices, their skills, and their interests to choose the repertoire so that they will want to learn it and sing it on their own. What worked for one class one year may not work the same class the next year, so be flexible with your song choices and assignments
- Start early, sing often - For a concert in mid-December and seeing the students once a week, students should be introduced to their concert music in the last two weeks of October. But of course...
- There will be missed classes - Classes go on trips, there are always random days off of school, and unscheduled school assemblies happen, so you will almost never have as much time to work with the students as you thought. Know it, embrace it, and plan accordingly.
- Know your lyrics and have extras - In addition to having copies of the lyrics for each student so they can take it home and practice (or, more likely, lose it immediately), have extra hard and electronic copies of the lyrics for yourself.
- Give the teachers agency - They may not use it, but some teachers will want to help their students prepare or use the concert music in their classroom. Make sure teachers and students alike have access to recordings and lyrics through websites, email, and hard copies.
- Give yourself a timeline - Teaching the music is perhaps the easiest part. Don't forget about all the other details that make it a successful concert, and plan a timeline to get it all done. As a guide, you can use the one below.
- Choreograph everything - Not just for the songs, which might be an important part of your concert, but for how students will enter and exit the stage, where they will go before and after they perform, and what teachers need to do. I learned this year that while everything in the auditorium looked great there was chaos in the lobby where classes were preparing to enter, other classes were leaving, still others were waiting, and parents were milling about. Teachers and other staff members can help you come up with a plan if you're feeling stuck!