One way to get the positive attention of parents, students and relatives is to make sure that any performance is presentedin the best way possible. This means paying attention to all the performance details along with having a professional printed program. Here are some tips that might give you additional ideas.
On the one hand, they may seem like common sense. On the other, sometimes we get so used to doing things a certain way that rethinking what we are doing can result in positive changes. These ideas are based on approaches used by a number of successful studios.
Publicity before the event is critical. Post the event on your web site, distribute programs in advance, send copies home with students. Make up posters with key information (in large type size).
Print on good quality paper, avoiding “cheesy colors.” Since most printers can produce a good quality master copy, there’s no excuse for having an unprofessional look. Limit yourself to 2 fonts (one for headings, the other for “body copy”) to maintain a clean design. Use no more than 2 sizes of your body copy font, limiting use of bold, italics and underlining as well. Clean & simple!
- Include your logo, the studio name, the performance date and location
- Make sure your logo is clear, not grainy
- Include space between entries so it isn’t crowded
- List each piece (if music) and/or group title (Yellow Belt Group 2)
- On the same line, list the composer, choreographer or other creative contributor.
- It’s common to use what’s called a “leader” between the title and the other information (those dotted lines linking left and right sides).
- Alternatively, indent all information below the title and put the title in all capital letters.
- If this is a single performer, list them as well on a second line. If it is a group, group members should be listed on the back of the program if it’s a long list. Otherwise, group members can be included as a short list beneath the title.
- List the teacher by name.
- If the performance is grouped by teacher (rather than sequencing beginner through advanced), it’s fine to list “Students of Mr. Albert Aaron.
Back of program:
- Provide a list of performance group members if they aren’t listed in the program body
- Include a note of thanks to parents and families for their support
- Provide a list of the teachers
- If certifications are appropriate, include them (being sensitive to the impact on teachers without certifications… how will their students’ parents feel?)
- Include a short description of the studio, plus studio contact information
The program is more than a listing for that day. Since printing costs are more focused on setup or making the master copy, consider printing some extra program copies and keeping them on file. You can, of course, track attendance at performances and adjust the number printed over time.
Extra program copies can be:
- Shared with family members (encourage the attendees to take extras to send to grandparents and other family members)
- Put on display (framed for the wall of the studio)
- Sent as “marketing material” to area contacts (band directors if music; art teachers; phys ed teachers… whatever matches your target sources for new student recruits)
- Shared with potential students and their parents (“We have 3 performances a year and all students have the opportunity to participate and show their new skills”)
- Scanned and put on your web site (probably as PDF files)
If you have the opportunity and it makes sense, audio/videotape performances and make copies available to parents. These materials can also be sources for brief excerpts (30 seconds) to post on your web site. Bear in mind that those excluded may ask “why not my child?” It’s sometimes good to use an entire group/class to sidestep that issue.
- Start any performance with a few brief (prepared!) remarks. This should include a welcome as well as introducing each teacher. That way, the teachers get recognized and linked with the performers. It’s part of showing your studio as a “team” rather than an “entity.”
- It is sometimes advantageous to proceed from beginner to advanced (there are often multiple family members) and to include a “y’all come” final piece where everyone participates. This keeps parents from skipping out and diminishing the audience size.
- Before the last piece is performed, be sure to thank the parents, the teachers, “and most of all, the students for their hard work. We’re very proud of each of them.”
- If you are working for the “warm fuzzy” by following the performance with a cookies & punch reception, don’t forget to include the reception in “closing comments” at the performance.
- If the performance is longer than an hour, consider adding an intermission. This applies particularly if the students are young or if there is a costume or uniform change needed.
- Try to hold any performance to less than 90 minutes, including an intermission.
- Time everything accurately before assembling the program. Yes, the professional recording of that trombone solo takes 5 minutes… but the middle school performer might just have a much slower tempo in mind!
- Add in time for performers to go on and off stage (this is a common oversight… did you ever sit through a 2+ hour performance?)
Be sure the performance space is appropriate to the performance itself. A huge stage with a crowd of 50 works against you. So would fitting 150 audience members in a small room where the performers stand on the floor and can’t be seen.
Perhaps a good way to summarize all this is for you to recall performances you enjoyed (whether your own children, students or others). That is a perfect place to gather the “subtle details” you can apply to your own studio performances.
A bit of thoughtful planning will help any performance represent your studio in the best possible light. Doing it right builds that indefinable quality known as “goodwill” and can operate as a positive publicity tool for the studio.