Administrations will almost always look for the educational value as a means to justify the tour to their constituents—parents, other teachers, school board and the community in general. They have to be able to demonstrate (and defend) the cost in time and finances to support the tour experience.

  • This can be accomplished by selecting experiences that relate to music education only (good) or by adding educational experiences other than music (even better).
  • Cultural experiences can fulfill the entire purpose of your tour or become part of the additional educational component. It is possible to add to the overall cultural experience of your tour by including musicals, plays, concerts, museums, tours, seminars, and many other activities.
  • Selecting educational activities that relate to other disciplines (cross-curricular education) can also add to the overall acceptance of your trip by other faculty.



  • Performances can range from service performances at local hospitals and senior citizen residences to public performances in designated areas.
  • There are several places where public performances can be held such as churches, cathedrals and public areas (malls, plazas, parks, historical monuments, etc).
  • Audience size, acoustics, type of repertoire, setting (indoors or outdoors) and many other factors contribute to the selection of a performance site.
  • It is important to have a "vision" of the experience you intend for the group. Knowing the type of performance situation you are looking for is important to the selection of the appropriate venue.


Clinics and Workshops

  • Clinics and workshops can be arranged at any time in any destination. Clinics can be with university faculty or professional musicians local to your destination.
  • A personal meeting with a professional performer, or a joint session with a college director (or group) can be arranged.
  • Your creativity can create the "special" situation that can meet all of your needs.


Music Festivals

These are events which attract multiple ensembles to one location on a given date or set of dates, usually for critique by a panel of adjudicators.

  • Most offer your choice of comments, rating, and ranking or a combination. Trophies and/or plaques are awarded within categories determined by each festival, with some offering "Grand Champion" awards for the specific weekend and/or overall for the season.
  • Some offer short adjudicator clinics (5 to 15 minutes in length); more extensive or multi-day festivals may offer workshops and or master classes.
  • Most include an awards ceremony event that takes place at a special location such as a theme park or dinner event.

There are numerous festival companies and music festivals throughout the year, offered in over multiple destinations.

  • Festivals may be operated by a nationally recognized festival operator or may be organized as part of a local event.
  • Each music festival has its own positive and/or negative qualities. Define what about a music festival is important in achieving your educational goals (adjudicators, performance site, number of groups participating, cost).
  • You should know what to expect from the music festival experience you choose.


Special Invitations and Events

These represent a wide range of options with a minimal or highly selective process— usually some type of application process is required. They generally fall into two categories:

Event Specific (determined by an established event on a set date)

  • Parade events: Macy*s, Tournament of Roses, National Cherry Blossom, etc.
  • Music centered events: Essentially Ellington, Music For All, etc.
  • Bowl game events: Outback Bowl, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, etc.
  • Special Events: Masters of Music and Voices on Broadway

Location Specific (determined by a location with multiple date options)

  • Theme park performances: Disney Performing Arts, Disney's Candlelight Processional, Universal STARS, etc.
  • Mass ensemble event performances in renowned locations: Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, famous Cathedrals, etc. Because of the nature of the venues and the tendency of the sponsoring organization to have exclusive requirements related to hotel, activities and travel, these can be quite expensive options. It is important to ask the question "does the end justify the means?"
  • Performance of the National Anthem at a professional sporting event

It is important to remember that receiving a "formal invitation" to an event may simply be a marketing tool to fill that event (and generate revenue). It is important to investigate any such invitation for legitimacy. If you are thinking about a tour involving an auditioned activity, have the following in your files in advance to save time later on:

  • A current video of the group in performance showing them at their best
  • A current recording of the group in performance showing them at their best
  • A recent color photograph in uniform or performance wear
  • A "resume" listing the accomplishments of the group

These are common items usually requested for an auditioned performance, and having these on hand will save valuable time and prevent having to wait until the next performance of the group to submit applications.

Visiting Other Music Programs

Visitations and/or exchanges can take many forms.

  • Visitations can include performing for each other, performing together, sharing experiences, eating lunch together, visiting other classes, or putting on a joint program.
  • This can also be combined with a clinic setting.
  • Knowing the program you are visiting and setting up the session together with the other educator are essential to the success of the visit.
  • The ultimate goal here is for both programs to gain something from the experience.


Bonding and Having Fun Together

If this is not your sole purpose for traveling, it is certainly a part of every trip. Creating a tour that combines the perfect blend of musical and educational experiences, with additional activities that students perceive as "fun", leads to a well-balanced tour that enhances your program and creates memories of a lifetime for the participants.

Varying the pace and intensity and incorporating situations that create "togetherness" — developed into a logistically sound itinerary—can result in meeting all of your goals and objectives