Have you ever struggled with how to fund a trip for your students? Not sure where to take them? Maybe you’re wrestling with the scope of the trip. Here are a few ideas to help you start planning now for a trip with your ensemble.
Planning Ahead for Your Music Group
For a major trip be sure to start planning at least a year in advance, depending on the size of the ensemble, duration of the trip, or location of the destination. You’ll need to have hotels, performance spots, transportation, and itineraries complete at least three months before your trip.
But most importantly, you need funds.
Explore your options: Work with your administrators to see what your school or district can offer you. Support from music parents and having a strong music booster group can be extremely beneficial in planning, and can also be a great resource in capacity for fundraising events.
- Classic Fundraising Events—Such as bingo-game nights, car washes, and baked goods, citrus, or mattress sales
- Raffles/Silent Auctions—Hold raffles for gift baskets or tickets to community events; look for local sponsors or parents to help facilitate acquiring items for these!
- Proceeds Nights—Work with a restaurant or a prominent establishment in your town to work a proceeds-benefit night where a percentage of the sales benefits a portion of your trip, such as transportation or lodging. Proceeds nights are not only a great opportunity to raise funds, but also gain exposure in your community.
- Tag Days—Band students go door-to-door in your community collecting contributions, while also giving each contributor a tag featuring upcoming program and concert information.
- Be sure to have students sport clothing from the music program or their uniform (marching band season) during these visits!
- Student Accounts—Each student has an account that may last through their duration with the music program; funds raised by the individual at tag day and other events go directly into their student account to benefit towards the cost of the student’s yearly trip. A music parent volunteer or treasurer of the parents’ association may manage the accounts.
- Note: Band booster organizations that are 501(c)3 charitable organizations may not use individual fundraising accounts, as they risk losing their non-profit status if they do so. Visit ParentBoosterUSA for more information.
- Selling Merchandise—Requires some investment, but selling branded merchandise at your concerts and events can be incredibly beneficial.
- Music/Sports Boosters—Work with school booster groups to help run snack bars at school and sporting events.
- Hosting Festivals or Competitions—Work with your MEA or any adjudication organization to host an event at your school. You may be able to sell merchandise, food, etc. at these events.
- Business sponsorship/ad placement—Reach out to local small businesses or larger corporations for sponsorship funds and/or ad placement in music programs given to the audiences, encouraging them to thank the businesses for their support by offering their patronage.
Music Ensemble Tour Groups
NAfME has many experienced corporate partners that can assist you in your trip planning!
Encore Tours, which will also be at the NAfME National In-Service Conference this October, have a multitude of options available, from choral to instrumental, and even festivals.
Some examples of Encore’s tours include:
- Oh, Canada!: Six days in Montreal and Quebec with three performance opportunities
- Celtic Celebrations: Ten days in the British Isles and Ireland with four performances
- American Music Tour: Six days in Nashville and Memphis with two performance opportunities
- Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin: Bands explore Dublin and Belfast March 13-18, 2017, and perform in the Limerick International Band Festival.
- Land of the Free: Twelve days in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, and New York with four performances
Another sponsor organization is Good News Tour & Travel, devoted to providing student music performance groups with an unforgettable world class experience.
What to Include in Your Trip Itinerary
The more details you include in itineraries for your students and their parents, the better. Here’s a starting checklist from which you can work and tailor to your ensemble and trip:
- Day-by-day schedule with locations, times, and what to bring
- Packing list for both personal and musical needs
- Weather expectations for time of year in the particular location
- Travel company/charter bus/airline that you’re using
- Hotel details: address, phone number, website
- Trip fee: overall amount, and how it breaks down to pay each portion of the trip
- List of key contacts with the names, email addresses, and mobile numbers
- Expected menu/meals with requests for dietary needs
- Checklist of paperwork students and/or parents must complete
- Key Due Dates for requested information and payments
- Medication regulations from the school district, necessary forms for parents to sign
- Reminder to students about making up work in classes they miss, making arrangements with other teachers!
Please share your ensemble trip ideas and advice, do’s and don’ts, in the comments below.
Brendan McAloon, Marketing and Events Coordinator, June 4 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).
Ronny Lau, Special Assistant, Center for Advocacy and Constituency Engagement, June 4, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).