10 reasons why your beginner orchestra should perform regularly [PDF]

Download the entire list of 10 reasons as a PDF!

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We've been seeing lots of wonderful posts about orchestras performing concerts again! It's been a long road back from pandemic lockdowns for many groups. And, some are still just finding their feet again.

So, we thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the potential return to concerts, by exploring the importance of having your group perform regularly.

We've also heard some beginner orchestra teachers baulk at the idea of having their ensemble perform 'too early'.

"They're not ready", "they need more practise", "they don't have enough pieces to play", or "I'm not ready to conduct them", seem to be the common reasons. Maybe you've heard of some others you'd like to share?

We're here to tell you that it's time to change these thoughts. Your beginner orchestra should be performing ASAP! 

And, here are 10 reasons why:

  1. 1
    All music should be 'enjoyed' - the music performed by beginner ensembles can be just as enjoyable as the polished senior or professional ensembles. Of course, listening to music is based in subjectivity, so some people might not necessarily 'like' the music performed by beginners, but that does not mean the performance can't be simply enjoyed in and of itself. Watching the concentration, connection and unity of a beginner ensemble is amazing!
  2. 2
    The 'pressure' - scheduling a concert helps students to work towards a goal. As soon as students know they have a concert, we find rehearsals improve. The 'pressure' (we use this word with positive connotations) helps to create a clear focus.  Even better, announcing your entire concert schedule for the year helps provide milestones to work towards. Get in touch with your school admin early to get your concert calendar set in stone.
  3. 3
    Consolidating routines - the idea of establishing rehearsal routines sets you up for wonderful concerts (see our post here for some ideas). The concert gives you a chance to see your routines in action. Concerts show students that seating arrangements, working on beginnings/endings of pieces, posture, and set up/pack down routines all have a purpose.
  4. 4
    Smiles - it's hard not to connect with the joy of students as they proudly finish their first performances. Seeing the smiles, head nods and excited chatter is wonderful! Seeing the smiles is enough of a reason to have your beginners perform.
  5. 5
    Concert flow - from our perspective, concerts represent beautiful moments in time for the performers and audience. The 'running order' or 'concert program' should be established to create a sense of flow for everyone involved. The order of pieces, the way each piece is introduced, the movement of performers around the space, the environment (lighting, sound & seating), and the length of the concert all contribute to creating flow. By involving your beginners in concerts, they begin to learn how concert flow can create beautiful moments in time.
  6. 6
    Learning about 'set up' - we think beginners should be involved in concert set up! It can be awesome to have beginners help set up chairs and stands (if time permits) and also to make sure their cases and bags are stored safely and out-of-the-way. As the director, you can also spend a bit of time explaining things like seating, sound and lights to your orchestra to help them understand the importance of such elements in a concert.
  7. 7
    Understanding the role of audience - help your beginners to understand the role of the audience and make sure you give clear instructions on how you'd like them to interact with the audience - this will depend on how formal or informal your concert is i.e. do you want the students to be moving around the audience prior to the concert, or to be in their seats as the audience enters? Equally, make sure you encourage your audience to listen and watch for specific elements of a piece/performance, such as the dynamic changes, the unified bowing, or a tempo change. This can help them engage with your beginners in a special way.
  8. 8
    Listening to other ensembles perform - some of our favourite concerts are those where both beginner groups and more experienced ensembles perform. This can be a vital learning experience for your beginners, as they watch the more experienced players go through routines and perform their pieces. Your beginners will be inspired and excited!
  9. 9
    Advocating for your orchestra program - having your beginners perform gives you the chance to show off their work! It allows you to show a range of school stakeholders how your program is going. Make sure you have some photos taken during the concert to share with the school community after the concert.
  10. 10
     Recruiting new musicians - performances provide opportunities to recruit new players. It is common to have aspiring players come up after a concert to ask how they can be involved. What better way to show them what your orchestra is all about than having them watch a performance?

Download the entire list of 10 reasons as a PDF!

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