Part 3: It's Not Where....It's WHY. Performance Tour Philosophy.

In the first two installments, we've discussed setting the tone of your performance tour philosophy, as well as keeping the experience meaningful and well-paced for your ensemble. In this section, we'll address expectations as related to the performance experience itself.

Performance Prep

This isnt about musical preparation. This is about having a clear vision of the type of performance experiences you want for your musicians. There are three primary facets to this:


Setting. Consider the venue and how your group will sound and be able to present themselves. You and your musicians work hard to hone your craft and create beautiful performances with artistic merit. Dont sell yourselves short! For exampledoes having your string orchestra, wind ensemble or madrigal choir perform in a public space for whomever happens to walk by present you in your best light? Will ambient noise or weather conditions detract from the quality of your work? Does it make the kind of statement you desire to make about the importance of your programand music education in general?

Cost. This is the difficult reality, and it is a huge challenge in the performance travel industry. Most public performance venues--parks, plazas, or locations associated with an attraction--are free or inexpensive, and usually outdoors. They are also few and far between, and have the added challenge of on-site equipment needs. Concert venues of high quality are usually a higher cost. The adage you get what you pay for is more true here than in any other aspect of the performance tour experience.the possible exception being sharing an exchange concert or similar with a local ensemble who has access to a remarkable location. An awareness of this will help you prioritize this facet in your overall plan.

Artistic Merit. Is this a performance event designed and executed by musicians with musical integrity at the heart of the event, or created by an organization to generate travel revenue? Is this a selective special invitation performance opportunity? Do your homework. What is the nature and selectivity of the event? (Speaking for myself as an examplefor every ensemble I would contact to invite for Carnegie Hall performances, there were many, many more that I did not.) Im not saying one is necessarily better or worse than anotherthey are just different and your fit all depends on what is important to the growth and image of your program.

In speaking with travel planners at recent conferences, these items present some of the biggest challenges to meaningful performance touring right now. I anticipate that a solution to this will need to be achieved via a collaborative creative effort involving ensemble conductors, travel planners, festival organizers, tourism bureaus and arts organizations with access to quality concert venues.

In the final installment of this series, we'll discuss ways to keep the experience authentic for your musicians.

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