Every year, audiences all around the world sit in school halls to watch the annual winter concert. Yet very few people understand the massive commitment and workload that goes into presenting and creating school concerts.
If you are a music teacher then you will know the ridiculous amount of pressure that you face at this time of the year. You will be teaching a full timetable, rehearsing every spare minute and then trying to project manage a large-scale concert – generally by yourself. Oh, and don’t forget all those reports you need to write, parents evenings and last minute meetings that you have to attend!
So how do we avoid burn-out and reduce the stress of event planning large scale concerts at this time of the year?
Tip 1 – Create a master plan
Every concert or event has a significant amount of tasks that need completing – from creating the programme, tickets, communicating with parents, booking the accompanist, etc. So first create a spreadsheet or word document with every task. Then create sub-headings such as:
Marketing – Tickets
- Ticket design
- Ticket printing
- letter home / to community
- Decide where tickets can be collected
- Sell tickets
- Deposit money to finance dept.
Try to include all the tasks that need completing before the event, on the day and after the event. After the event review the list and add any missing tasks.
Tip 2 – Plan for when each task need completing
Once you have created your master list then start putting the tasks in to a chronological order. Remember to plan backwards from the concert date. What tasks can only be completed on the day of the concert and what needs to be completed in advanced? For those tasks that can be completed in advanced decide how much time you need so it can be completed without adding stress to your workload. I normally like to communicate with the school community a month in advance – this means the tickets and posters need to be designed and printed. I also will have created social media content at the same time.
Tip 3 – Sharing the workload
Once you have your completed event management itinerary and assigned time lengths to each task then you will realise that you can not complete all these tasks by yourself! It’s important that you do assign as much to others – whether they are colleagues, admin, support staff, parents or students. You may also have to consider including time in the plan to teach people how to do a specific role. For instance, if you use your 6th Form music students to stage manage you will need to meet with them and train them in how to do the role. However, next time it will take less time to teach them and then these students can train up your future teams. Remember, you still have the creative elements of the concert to manage and you are the best person for that part of the event – so delegate!
Tip 4 – Communicate and Educate
As much as we would love our colleagues, parents and students to be super supportive and read the first email we send we know in reality that this is not always the case. However, don’t undervalue the importance of communicating regularly and clearly. You understand what you do as a music teacher but very few others will and do you know what; that is okay. We have to accept we don’t understand what the business department staff do on a daily basis so why should they understand what we do? Try to see all communication as an opportunity to build links, educate and celebrate what your students and you are doing. It’s amazing what a difference this can make in reducing your stress, particularly on the day of the concert.
If you want to know more – why not check out my latest video on Youtube.
I also have a useful resource up for sale on TPT for concert planning.
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