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Posted: 28 November 2016

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Getting your tour off the ground - part 2

Getting your tour off the ground - part 2

In the second of her blogs, Helen Davies, Director of Music and Performing Arts at St. Christopher’s CE High School, Accrington, Lancashire tells us how she went about organising her most recent music tour to Belgium and offers some top tips to other music leaders on how to plan a tour.

Q: What were your initial steps in planning your most recent tour?

“My steps were as follows:

1. Head teacher / SMT and Governing Body approval
2. Send the brochure out to kids
3. Get the money and payment schedule sorted
4. Sort out venues and itinerary 
5. Do a pre tour visit - essential.

Q: What were the main challenges/difficulties you faced?

“This was a smaller tour than normal - Belgium was not as popular as other trips as we also run Battlefield trips to Belgium so we needed to make sure the trip would still balance financially.”

Q: In hindsight would you do anything differently?

“No, it was a good tour and kids loved it!”

Q: What tips would you offer other music leaders also trying to get a music tour off the ground?

“You MUST use a school music tour company - without it the whole weight is on your shoulders and in an emergency you need the back-up of a tour company who have a strong and thorough safety management system. You also need good venues that tailor to your students/bands/choirs. If you’ve led 20 tours then fine - organise your own - but not as a first tour!

“Have the courage to promote a tour with your students - it can bind a group together, give them a solid identity, help them aspire to giving excellent musical performances - and it also builds relationships between staff and students.

“You have older students who teach the younger ones the ropes of touring and there is a wonderful camaraderie. Think about the cost - although a coach journey can be long - flight prices can make it too expensive for some pupils. The coach often builds team spirit too!”

Q: What were the highlights of your Belgium tour and why are you a fan of music touring?

“Great tour - fabulous venues, moving ceremony at Menin Gate but the highlight was the Ghent Jazz Festival - they felt like a pro-band on that stage! And they upped their level of performance to match!

“Touring is so beneficial to the kids - they LOVE being together and making music together. It’s a big holiday with their favourite hobby or being a muso thrown in. They love the social side - the touristy bits - for many of our pupils it will be the first time they have ever been abroad!

“They will never forget the tour - but they will forget your music lessons!”

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 link for more on all our school music tours.

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