Posted: 21 November 2016
Are you thinking about running a school music tour and are not sure where to start?
Helen Davies Director of Music and Performing Arts at St. Christopher’s CE High School, Accrington, Lancashire shared some top touring tips with us.
Q: What were the timescales for introducing, planning and going on your music tour?
“We usually work on a year in advance. Any longer and we get kids dropping out as they find something else they would rather do. Families book holidays and circumstances change. We do, however, talk about it for a little longer than that, involve all the kids in the bands and the choirs about possible places to visit and concert venues for both choirs and bands.
“We chat together about it then whet their appetite with some exciting venues! So - by the time the paperwork and booking form comes out they are really excited. It is also important on the booking letter that we send out to give the parents as much information as possible - even if the itinerary changes - that can make or break the numbers that sign up for the tour.
“A good brochure for the tour - lots of pictures, exciting venues, touristy things and shopping built in all help sell it to the members of the choir and band.
“Then the timescales that follow would be -
Application to county and school for the trip - seek permission from the Headteacher and the Governing Body.
Small amounts of monthly payments - no more than £50. Many of our kids live on that borderline between FSM and just over the border, so money is tight! We use our PP budget to pay part of the cost for those who fit into that category as we don’t want them not to be able to go!
“I researched on the Internet, liked the look of Club Europe Concert Tours and what they offered - value for money seemed good and the website was professional with good information on it. I made an initial phone call - Lynn at the time and she arranged my first tour - that first phone call was essential for my first tour as a young teacher!
“She was professional, knowledgeable and assured me we could do a tour - that first call was ESSENTIAL!! I would have gone elsewhere otherwise! I am now on my 19th tour?? May be even more!!”
“We wanted a destination nearer to home than the year before which was Croatia and also I knew several possible venues out there from being a member of staff on a previous tour.
“The Jazz Festival in Ghent was a massive pull and although dependent on the CD and application it was worth it. It was also important to do the Menin Gate since our school had a link to the Accrington Pals Regiment and the battle of the Somme.”
Next time: Helen talks us through how she planned and ran her music tour to Belgium and what the highlights were.
If you’d like to discuss a tour for your ensemble, do get in touch with our friendly music tour team on Freephone 0800 496 4996. Or click on the links to see all our school music tour destinations and for more on all our school music tours.
We can help. Click here to read our comprehensive step-by-step Guide to planning a school music tour, plus some top tips on how to create your first tour from an experienced music leader.
Anthony Chew, Head of Music, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Lancashire.
Jane Werry, Head of Music, Hayes School, Kent.
James Williams, Llandovery College, Carmarthenshire.