Take Your Music Further
Posted on 29th September 2015 at 16:00
Here at the Music Workshop Company, we are passionate about creating opportunities for young people to explore music. We make sure that each of our workshops involves a performance element so participants can enjoy the experience of playing to an audience.
Leading educational travel company, NST, specialises in running concert tours, primarily for school children but also catering for adults. NST knows that the buzz musicians get from performing is unlike any other feeling, and the chance to perform in exciting international venues is even more of a thrill.
In this month’s guest blog, we catch up with Sheena Orchin, Music Product Executive at NST, as she tells us about world travel, fantastic venues and what makes a great concert tour…
“NST takes talented musicians, bands, orchestras and choirs away to new places, enabling them to share their talents around the globe. After all, music is a universal language that translates and is appreciated worldwide.
We’ve arranged thousands of concert tours for musicians of all ages. Through our services they’ve shared their love of music in Paris, on the Rhine, in Belgium, New York, Tuscany, the Black Forest, Barcelona, Prague, Lake Garda, indoors, outdoors, in quaint churches and grand cathedrals, on bustling market squares and picturesque bandstands, in community schools, retirement homes, and even at Disneyland® Paris. The list of experiences is endless!
One thing common to every experience is that groups who have booked one of our concert tours find they have a shared focus to work towards, further igniting their passion for music. But I find that many groups shy away from organising a tour just because it seems like an overwhelming task.
My first piece of advice is:
Share your talent with the world – there’s so much to gain!
Andrew Millinchip, music teacher at the Grange School, took his students on an NST concert tour to Belgium. He wrote to say:
"The trip provided a focus for rehearsal during the previous term. Spending time together as a group greatly enhanced the bonding of choir members, and time away from school allowed my group to concentrate 100% on making music."
There is a wealth of evidence supporting the idea of learning outside the classroom. A 2004 paper by researchers at Kings College London concluded that there was:
"Substantial evidence that outdoor learning can impact positively on children and young people’s attitudes, beliefs and self-perceptions – independence, confidence, self-esteem, personal effectiveness, coping strategies."
It also found that there was:
"Significant evidence of the effect of outdoor learning on social development and greater community involvement""*
Our groups have enjoyed unforgettable, magical musical experiences around the globe, and have shared these comments with us:
"Since returning from our trip, my choristers have been so inspired. Not only have they gained confidence in their musical abilities, they gelled together as a group and are brimming with enthusiasm for music. We just can’t wait for our next tour, so expertly arranged by NST" – Susan Francis, Princethorpe College
"This trip has been incredible and one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life so far. It has been so interesting to learn about the German culture. It was wonderful"– Shani, aged 14
So I’d like to bust some myths about the difficulties of touring and share our essential tips for creating a concert tour that is memorable for all the right reasons…
Three main concert tour myths:
It’s too much like hard work:
Organising a tour is as easy or hard as you want to make it. By choosing to partner with a tour operator like NST, you will immediately smooth out some of the planning bumps. We’ve done it all before and can hold your hand every step of the way. We tailor-make every tour from scratch, and deal with all the planning, timings and booking every aspect of every trip, from transport and accommodation, to concerts, concert promotion, meals and excursions.
I’ll get tangled up in all the red tape:
It is possible to organise a trip independently, but you then take on responsibility for all the health and safety aspects of the trip. By using a tour operator such as NST you’re covered from the moment you book right up until your safe return, both for health, safety and insurance matters and for your financial protection. And because we’ve done it all before, the work you have to do will be kept to a minimum.
Once I’ve booked with a tour operator, I’ll be on my own:
Every music group that travels with NST is partnered with their own Concert Consultant and Music Tour Travel Advisor in the planning stages. They can also choose to be paired with a Tour Manager who will accompany them on their tour from beginning to end. Tour Assistants and Concert Assistants are available in many destinations too, and the promotion of your concerts in resort will be done for you. And if you come across any issues whilst you’re away (that your Tour Manager can’t solve there and then), we operate 24 hour emergency support too.
Top tips for organising a successful concert tour:
1. Plan in advance:
Make sure you give yourself, pupils and parents as much time as possible. Most groups will book their trip 18 months ahead of travel. Planning well in advance gives parents more time to budget, save their money and pay in smaller instalments. Take a look at our quick reference timeline (below) for guidance.
2. Tap into tour operator knowledge:
Tour operators provide access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. Not only will they be able to answer your questions, they might even suggest options you hadn’t already thought of. They’ll be able to tell you what other group leaders have chosen to do on tour and give you an insight into the feedback they’ve given too. At NST, we have a range of tried and tested itineraries to use as a starting point, which can be adapted personally for you.
3. Get more from your budget in three easy steps:
Be flexible with your travel dates, transport options, departure points and your accommodation location. Remember, the longer the trip is, the more expensive it will be. Fill your tour with free visits to help keep the cost down. Consider joining up with another group; another subject group, year group or even another school. The more travellers there are, the lower the price per person will be.
4. Promote and launch your trip with free resources:
We can help you to do this with our range of A3 posters, destination specific Power Point presentation templates and pre-printed parents’ leaflets. We recommend that you use all of NST’s promotional resources to organise a launch evening as this will help increase interest and confirm numbers. We also recommend that you organise a parents’ evening to go through the full itinerary of your trip closer to your departure date, using our dedicated free PowerPoint template.
5. Take a contingency fund and pocket money:
Don’t get caught short. Believe us, it happens! Group leaders should carry a small float and credit card to cover any unforeseen events, and group members should take pocket money in local currency for soft drinks, snacks and souvenirs. Using a banking system will also allow students to budget their money and prevent them from spending it all during the first day or two.”
You can find out more about NST on the website www.nstgroup.co.uk, where you can also try the exclusive online itinerary planning tool, or call them on 0845 293 7951 (calls will cost you 3p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).
*(Rickinson M, Dillon J, Teaney K, Morris M, Cho M Y, Sanders D, and Benefield P, ‘A Review of Research on Outdoor Learning’, FSC, Shrewsbury, NFER/Kings College London, 2004).
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