One of the biggest secrets to retaining those students we have worked so diligently to get enrolled in our programs is to get them performing as soon as possible, and to keep them performing as often as possible—even in a year like this one with its numerous challenges! A successful nationwide program to get that first performance experience underway for our beginners is in its third year. However, this year we have an additional version for teachers, students and parents to experience.
On October 20th the Music Achievement Council launched the Virtual First Performance National Day of Celebration (FPNDOC). This special “virtual” edition is being provided as an opportunity for beginning students to experience a successful performance event in that very first concert early in the year even if attending school in a 100% virtual or hybrid environment.
The First Performance National Day of Celebration is scheduled annually for the 3rd Thursday of November and the materials for those able to provide a live concert event are available in the Toolkit posted online. The brand new virtual event, however, has been pre-recorded and is available for directors to preview on this site. It has also been loaded up to YouTube for easier access whenever directors feel that their students are ready—ideally, within the first 8 to 12 weeks of school. Hal Leonard has graciously agreed to provide select music from Essential Elements for Band, Book 1. Directors should download PDFs of the parts as well as the studio tracks to share with students. These posted resources can be used for individual/group practicing as they are also used in the Virtual FPNDOC concert itself.
This year, we’re introducing a high-energy trailer to promote and get students excited about this very special occasion. There is only one opportunity to have a quality first performance and this is it! View and share the Virtual FPNDOC trailer.
5 Steps to a Successful Virtual FPNDOC
1. Schedule a date and time for your Virtual First Performance National Day of Celebration Concert
2. Share the FPNDOC trailer with your students to inspire them to participate in this nationwide celebration along with other beginning level students from across the country
3. Download the parts and studio tracks to distribute to your students for practicing: www.nammfoundation.org/FPNDOC
4. On the date and time of your scheduled event, email your students the YouTube link to the Virtual First Performance National Day of Celebration Concert and have them play along karaoke-style
5. Distribute a Certificate of Advancement to participating students and share out photos taken by the families of the participating students. Download the modifiable certificate template. If permitted, share photos on social media with the hashtag #FPNDOC.
Most of you will recognize our concert presenters. Joe Lamond, President and CEO of NAMM, provides the opening remarks at the concert; Marcia Neel, Senior Director of Education at Yamaha Corporation, acts as emcee; and Dr. Charles Menghini, President Emeritus of VanderCook College of Music, serves as conductor. They have assembled an exciting event that goes a long way to replicate the live concert experience for the students.
According to a post on the SmartMusic Music Educator blog called “’I’m Quitting Band!’ Why Students Leave, and What You Can Do” by Wendy Barden, the number one reason students quit is that “I don’t like to play my instrument.” No matter how we do it, it’s important this year—more than any other—to celebrate our beginning students and provide them with experiences such as the First Performance National Day of Celebration to fall in love with their instrument as they discover the joy of music-making with others.