It’s Jennifer Hibbard here, coming to you from the Yellow Brick Road. We’ve made it through our first full week of March, and we all know what that means. Spring performance season is upon us! Seasoned music teachers know that preparations for any concert begins months before the actual performance. While some audience members may be ignorant of all the behind-the-scenes action, everyone here in The Music Crew is fully aware of your efforts. We know how much hard work, sweat, and sometimes tears go into every performance. So, we wanted to share some of our favorite tips to prepare for the upcoming spring performance season.


Combat Practice Fatigue

This idea comes from Melissa Stouffer of Mrs. Stouffer’s Music Room

When my kids know the words and song well, but might get verses confused, or small things out of order, we play a ball game. We sit on the floor, with a large spikey ball. I sing a part (or say it) and toss the ball to a kid. The kid who gets it has to sing it back and toss the ball back. It’s great because I can vocally assess, AND, we practice order of the words without a full rehearsal. It helps combat ‘practice fatigue’. 

You can grab a free checklist from Melissa by signing up for her mailing list HERE.

Another great idea comes from Chrissy Hutzel from Hutzel House of Music.

She combats practice fatigue with Enjoy the Show Cards.
They’re a perfect way for kids to take ownership of concert etiquette for the audience. They make little program stuffers and they are way more eye catching than a blurb in the program!


Band Concert Prep

This idea comes from Michelle Warshany of Music with Miss W

My fave way to change things up a little bit for band concert prep is to do a seat scramble. Here’s how that works: students choose a completely new seat when they set up. I let them sit anywhere as long as they follow these two rules:

  1. They can’t sit in a row they normally sit in(so no flutes in the front row)
  2. They can’t sit next to someone from their section

? benefits of this seat scramble are:
? kids hear new parts they might not have heard before and gain a new perspective on balance
? you may hear issues that were previously hidden by proximity (oh! Half of the trombones were          faking these 5 measures….?)
? students have to be confident in their part/playing because they are not sitting with their section
? it brings life and excitement to the time of concert prep that become monotonous

Don’t trust your kids to make responsible seating choices? Have a group of especially chatty friends? You can write out a quick seating chart yourself.



Planning Every Detail

These ideas come from Elizabeth of Organized Chaos Music

Elizabeth is no stranger to planning, and this permeates every aspect of her teaching, including concert prep. She plans every last detail including date, time, venue, repertoire, long-range teaching plans, logistics, and people to contact. You can read more details and see her performance planning sheets by visiting her blog HERE. Following Elizabeth’s advice, it’s unlikely you’ll experience a scenario like the one below….




Meaningful Learning

Some of my favorite ideas that Elizabeth discusses in her blog at Organized Chaos Music, is how to create meaningful learning while preparing for a performance. This is one of the many reasons I often chose to do informances rather than a traditional program. Elizabeth shares her ideas for incorporating lessons on expression, form, arranging, and music careers all during concert season. You can read more HERE.

After the Performance is Over

Michelle Warshany from Music with Miss W smartly advises:

Prep for what you are going to do after the concert because you are going to be SUPER tired and probs not gonna want to plan after your concert.

I agree wholeheartedly with Michelle! In this blog post, she details specific activities for students in elementary, middle school, and high school. If you’re looking for lesson plans for after the concert, this is the blog post to read!


Shelley Tomich from Pitch Publications has sage advice for teachers of all backgrounds:

I highly recommend taking some time off, even if just a half day after your concert. I know this is not always possible, but I find that I need this time after the mental and physical stress of prepping for the concert.

Shelley puts a spotlight on an important issue, which is that we often neglect our own mental and physical wellbeing in exchange for never taking a day off. As I’ve heard others (and myself) say, “Personal and sick days are there for a reason.” Our physical health should not be the only indicator of whether or not we need some time off. If we want our students to be advocates for their own mental and emotional health, then we should be eager to set a good example.


However you choose to prepare for concert season, we wish you all the best. We’d also love to continue the conversation over on Facebook at The Music Crew Collaborative. It’s a closed group where music teachers can ask questions, share ideas, and learn from each other in a non-judgmental space. Click HERE to join us. We’d love to have you!


Jennifer Hibbard

Jennifer Hibbard is the teacher-author and blogger of The Yellow Brick Road, where she creates fun education resources for serious music literacy. Her work has been featured in NAfME's Teaching Music Magazine and Music in a Minuet Blog. You can learn more about her through her website: