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Imagine your music students dressed in their finest concert wear, carrying instruments and sheet music, marching into a concert to perform with the best musicians around the country. The picture can seem both invigorating and intimidating. Yet all over, school choirs, bands, and orchestras travel around to perform at parades, competitions, and events far from their home schools. The whirlwind of excitement and the exhilaration on children’s faces after a successful trip prove time after time that traveling with music students is worth every step of planning.
Here are the top five reasons why travel with music students is so important:
Educators know students put forth their best efforts when working toward a specific goal. For many students, a faraway competition or music tour can motivate them to practice and push beyond their limits. It also increases students’ willingness to work together as teammates.
Providing students with a real-world end goal helps to increase morale and work ethic as students see their hard work paying off in the form of travel.
Students and band directors notice the effects of travel. In one study of Michigan high school bands, 83% of students stated that their schools’ band trips helped to recruit more band members. Band directors also mentioned that travel opportunities not only helped recruit new band members, but also helped them to retain band members throughout high school.
Students come from varied backgrounds. For many, traveling as a part of a music program might be the only opportunity they get to see certain parts of the world.
Students who have been on music trips report that what they do outside of practice and performance is just as important as the time they spend on-stage or in a parade. Taking the time to show students museums and historical locations enriches their understanding or how music has changed over time and where music can take the in the future.
A carefully-planned trip can include stops at guitar factories, symphonies, famous venues, and even clinics with top musicians!
Feedback helps students get better. There can never be too much feedback. When students go on musical trips, they reach two types of feedback that cannot be provided in the classroom.
First, students get to hear expert feedback from professional judges that can help them to improve as individuals and as a team! Second, students listen to other student groups. As they listen, they learn. Evaluating other teams and incorporating new ideas helps students to grow far beyond the length of a trip.
A musical trip would not be doable without the help of parents. In fact, no band, choir, or orchestra events could happen without their help! Just like their students, parents’ motivation skyrockets when they have a trip to look forward to.
Announcing planned trips over the summer or at the beginning of the school year will lure parents in and give you a great excuse to meet with them and talk about what your students will need to be successful throughout the year. You may even end up with some brand new volunteers excited for the year ahead!