Monday, August 5, 2013

Performing Groups: Getting Started Each Year

Getting my after school performing groups started for the year can be a big task.  For the past four years I have had two after school groups; Chorus and Orff.  Like everything else, planning for these groups starts right at the beginning of the year.  It's a bit crazy but once I'm past the first month of school (recorder sales are done, chorus and orff registration are complete) I can settle into a more normal routine.

Below are some of the things I do to get my groups started:

1.  Create Interest
Post flyers, hand out reminder cards, talk it up with your kids.  I send out an email to the full staff at my school so that they have all of the details regarding my groups.  If you have a morning/afternoon news crew, create a blurb for them to include in the announcements leading up to the interest or first meeting.

I've added both of these documents to the Freebies section.

2.  Interest Meeting
I always host interest meetings for performing groups about a week before I want to have our first rehearsal.  There are a few reasons for this.
    A:  While I do promote these groups during my first rotation, I don't want to take up all of my class       time and not make any music during those lessons. Plus not everyone needs all of the details!

    B:  I want to go over our contract in person so that I can answer any and all questions about how           to make sure you get to be a part of the group.

    C:  Most importantly, I want to give the kids more information about what it means to be a part of           these groups and my expectations for them.

3.  Contracts
My kiddos have to fill out a contract in order to participate in my groups.  This contract ensures that they and their parents understand the importance of attending rehearsals and concerts.  This year I'm trying out something new.

My groups have become so large that I can no longer just accept everyone who is interested.  This year I will accept on a first come, first serve basis.  The first 50 students to sign up for chorus will be my initial group.  However, if a student does not fulfill the requirements (too many absences/tardies, behavior concerns), they will be replaced with an alternate.  I don't believe in auditioning to be in these after school groups but that is always another option if you are having trouble with large numbers.

These are just some the things I do to get my groups started.  More on Chorus/Orff later.  What are some of the things you do to get your groups going every year?

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