Supercharge the School Musical

Supercharge the School Musical

Strategies and Best Practices for Building Student and Community Support


By NAfME Member Paul K. Fox,
PMEA Chair of the Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention


Are you “in charge” of the annual staged performing arts production in your school?

My NAfME Academy webinar “Supercharge the School Musical” examines strategies and best practices for building student and community support for the school musical or play and improving general appreciation of theater as an art form. The webinar is for anyone who teaches music classes—indeed, you can sponsor a musical performance or short play as an after-school activity, summer camp, or a project within regularly scheduled choral ensemble(s), drama/dance courses, and/or general music class settings.

musical | ferrantraite


There are 52 tips for adding pizzazz to your music program offered as “food for thought,” hopefully to provide a few “ah-ha” ideas to stimulate further inspiration, build excitement, and foster greater creativity, participation, and public relations in the planning of your next production.

Non-linear problem solving will be examined—there are no “right” or “wrong” suggestions, just a host of approaches and activities to consider for satisfying the following targets:

  1. Encouragement of larger numbers of student participants
  2. Student leadership and enrichment activities
  3. Involvement of the parents and community
  4. Professionalism and quality productions
  5. Real promotion of the show

The video encourages a focus on your school setting’s needs and priorities, challenges you to “throw out the rule book” and take “baby steps” in exploring and implementing at least one or two innovations every year. The goals of the presentation are:

  • Brainstorm “tried and true” techniques that build support for the school musical
  • Share enhancements to marketing your show
  • Show sample photos, programs, posters, and promotions
  • Collaborate on new concepts—everything from student recruitment to ticket sales
school play | Highwaystarz-Photography


Samples in this webinar are based on my experience as a music teacher and director/producer of more than 29 fall plays and 30 spring musicals performed in the Upper St. Clair High School of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I refer to these as a few “tricks-of-the-trade” that have generated more than 25% student-body participation in the school drama programs. This is an adaptation of a 1992 article published in PMEA News, the state journal of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (reprinted with permission). An outline of all 52 tips was originally posted my website.

Please peruse the entire catalog of NAfME Academy online professional development. (For “Supercharge the School Musical,” scroll down to “Performing Ensembles.”) Access to all 80-plus hours of previously recorded NAfME Academy webinar content (a $600+ value) is available for an annual subscription of $20 to NAfME members (and $100 to non-members).

About the author:

NAfME Member Paul K. Fox is currently the State Retired Members’ Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), Chair of the PMEA Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention, Founding Director of the South Hills Junior Orchestra, Steering Committee/School District Representative of the UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY magazine, staff announcer for “The Pride of Upper St. Clair” USCHS Marching Band, Trustee for the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair, and volunteer escort for the St. Clair Memorial Hospital.

Retired June 2013 from 33 years at the Upper St. Clair School District and 2 years at the Edgewood School District (now Woodland Hills School District), Paul K. Fox primarily taught Orchestra/Strings (Grades 5-12) at Boyce Middle School, Fort Couch Middle School and the Upper St. Clair High School (USCHS), along with positions in EL/MS/HS choral and general music, elementary band, and HS music theory. He also served as Upper St. Clair School District Performing Arts Curriculum Leader (7 years), Executive Producer of USCHS Fall Plays (29 productions) and Spring Musicals (30 shows), Editor/Writer/Photographer for Upper St. Clair School District publications/communications (26 years), Assistant Sponsor and Business Manager of the USCHS St. Clairion Yearbook (4 years), and Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District One (21 years).

Did this blog spur new ideas for your music program? Share them on Amplify! Interested in reprinting this article? Please review the reprint guidelines.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Catherina Hurlburt, Marketing Communications Manager. June 27, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (