Img: Roger Reuver
Inhale. Count to five. Exhale. Repeat. It’s performance time! Organizing an ensemble performance will require skills beyond your garden variety instructional/class management skills. You’ll need to prepare your students, your venue and your audience. But follow these do’s and don’ts, with some thought to your particular circumstances, and you’re at least halfway there.

Do: Properly Advertise
4129427489_ced71d2653_zAll the practice and excitement in the world won’t amount to much if you don’t properly advertise your performance. And nothing is as demoralizing to students as an empty concert venue! Get the word out early and often with multiple, last-minute reminders, and mobilize all your resources: print, email, social, etc.

Don’t: Embarrassingly Costume your Students
Though you might think it’s cute to see your students in suits, ties, Troubadour ensembles… think about how comfortable they’ll be in front of their peers. If the ultimate goal is to showcase your students’ progress (and have fun), then you may want to give your class options.

Do: Choose the Right Venue
Your venue could literally make or break your ensemble performance. The right venue will – among other things – be highly accessible; have good acoustics and lighting; have comfortable, ample seating; have a well-ventilated playing space.

Don’t: Play the Weak Songs
Whether you’ve had attendance issues or just struggled to get the students up-to-snuff, you’ll want to shelve any songs on your program that aren’t performance-ready. Even if this results in a shorter-than-planned performance, you’ll have a much more confident ensemble, come the big day.

Do: Let Everyone Solo!
You will always have students who resist the solo – especially if they feel their skills are inferior at this stage. But pushing your students to solo during the performance will result in a nerve-wracking, exhilarating, unforgettable experience for all. It’s much easier to jump in the pool when everyone else is doing it!

Do: Ready your Instruments & Gear
Get ahead of any technical malfunctions that might arise. Make a performance day checklist and go over it three times. Give yourself a comfortable window to set up stands, tune instruments, place sheet music, and test any sound amplifiers.