As the year is winding down, here are some things to think about as we bring another year to a close. I know that the kids are already thinking about the summer and what adventures await them. This may be the time you break out the golf clubs (if you’re in the Midwest or North) or begin cookouts with friends to relax. Feel free to add any comments at the end of good ideas you may have of wrapping up the year. And now the list:
1. Finalize Your Show for Next Year
By now you should have a good idea about what your show for the fall will be. If not, you have at least two or three finalists. I wrote earlier about what to think about when choosing a show. With the final choices in place, make your decision. I know of groups that have the kids help to choose a show. I would suggest if you have the kids influence your selection, make sure you have a couple of shows that meet your criteria.
Once you have chosen your show, purchase the music and have it delivered before the end of the year. If you are having custom music written or arranged, you should have started months ago to obtain the necessary clearances.
2. Make Sure Your Design Team is in Place
Now is the time to solidify the design team for your show. Make sure that everyone knows their responsibility and that they have each other’s contact information. You can have a design team meeting and go over the show ideas or conference call. I prefer to have an actual meeting when distance isn’t an issue.
Have your staff sign agreements that give you the reassurance that they will complete their part of the production on time. I would suggest having your drill writer, drum writers, arrangers, and guard choreographer under some timeline agreement. This will spell out to each designer the expectations for completion and offer you some recourse if they don’t deliver.
3. Line up Your Staff for Band Camp
Good camp instructors are in high demand. Make sure you contact instructors early to get their best availability. If you’re camp schedule is flexible, you may be able to get some good instructors who will be able to work multiple camps. When I was in college, I would work mornings at one school and afternoons and evenings at another. This was good for me and the schools I worked for.
Make sure you have enough sectional coaches, visual techs, and your choreographers for the correct rehearsal blocks. Scheduling them now will pay off later. Ultimately, you want the right people there at the right time, so take the time to figure this out now.
4. Establish Communication with Incoming Students
Do you have an introductory night with incoming students? Have you made contact with them to let them know what will be happening over the summer? Do they know the camp dates and summer rehearsal expectations? Many of the issues you will have with incoming students can be solved if you communicate early enough. Will all the students change vacation plans? No… But they will know what they missed and will have a better chance of catching up.
The school I went to would hold a short camp the week after school ended. This camp was a 4 day, 4 hour camp. We had a two-hour marching block and a 2 hour music block. This served two purposes. 1. It gave the incoming students a taste of things to come and introduced them to the student leadership. 2. It got instruments and music into their hands to work on over the summer. I’m not saying this is what you should be doing, but merely an example of what one school has done in the past. Other schools I have worked with had summer rehearsals for the guard and percussion throughout the summer.
5. Celebrate the Success of Your Current Students
I feel that this is just as important as thinking for the future. Celebrate those kids who have made an impact on your program. Most programs do a banquet or celebration. I would suggest that if you currently do not have something like this, that you consider it. While we must look forward to what is coming, we must not forget where we have been and the people who have been on that road with us. I can remember many things about banquets I have attended over the years. Each one is special and to be remembered. This is a great way to show your students how much you care about them and in return, they will show you how much you are appreciated.
I hope that I have given you some things to think about as this year is coming to a close. The Matching Warehouse would like to congratulate you on another successful year. We look forward to hearing about your continued success. If there is anything we can provide to you, please let us know. We are growing and exciting things are happening. We would love for your marching band to come with us on this ride. If there is a need you have, please fill out the contact form on the right hand side. We’d love to help you out!