Tag Archives: classroom music

Playfulness Is an Attitude: A Practice That Revitalizes Teaching and Learning

Peggy D. BennettBy Peggy D. Bennett
Professor of Music Education,
Oberlin Conservatory of Music

With so many restrictions, constrictions, and curricular demands made of educators, your classes and lessons can seem not your own. It can feel as if your aliveness in your classroom has been systematically eroded. And, if you feel depleted of vitality, your students may feel that also. Reviving the passion and enjoyment in teaching and learning is key to offering your best teaching to your students. And, I believe that imaginative playfulness is an extraordinarily effective way to revitalize your energy, your passion, and your enJOYment for teaching.

Playfulness is an attitude. It is a twinkle in the eye and an open, encouraging (sometimes smiling) face to accompany open-ended questions: “I wonder what would happen if…” “Describe what you see…” It is a loosening of rules in order to welcome spontaneity and surprise. Playfulness is the tapping of imaginations as students contribute images and ideas for a rhyme, song, or instrumental recording. It is inventing ways to elicit imaginations and verbalizations as we lead children to study and perform music. It is demonstrating the inflected speech, conversational curiosity, and spontaneous delight that we would like to see in our students as well as ourselves. In short, playfulness can make music come alive for both children and teachers.

To play with nursery rhymes, consider asking these kinds of questions: “Why did that mouse run all the way up to the top of the grandfather clock?” “When the mouse looked down from the top of the clock, what did it see?” Questions such as these help prepare children to create a scene from their own imaginations as they explore the nursery rhyme “Hickory Dickory Dock.” Children can also be “plopped” into the story by giving them a first person voice as the scene unfolds: “Brandon, you little mouse. What caused you to run all the way up to the top of that clock?” “Katie mouse, when you looked down to the floor and spotted that cat, were you worried? Why not? How did you know that cat?”

Imaginative play with music masterworks helps children embrace them as beloved treasures and pave the way for listening again and again. Floating down the Moldau river with their friends on a beautiful boat and stopping along the way to describe what they see on the riverbanks can keep children engaged in “performing” the piece. “Oh, my goodness. Look at that crowd of people over there near the Moldau River. What do you think they are doing?” As Americans in Paris and the teacher as the Tour Guide, children stop when the music pauses and the guide tells them about a famous Paris bakery that makes delicious food. “What will you buy when we go into that bakery? Oh, what kind of cake is your favorite?” The Americans in Paris can also encounter the wild Paris traffic as they try to cross a busy street with very fast drivers, drivers who are also amazingly safe and skillful because they rarely cause a collision.

Tapping into children’s imaginations through playful questions and story-making creates a unique experience with a song, rhyme, or masterwork. Stories give songs, rhymes, and instrumental works meaningful context, especially when the story is created or partially created by the children. The images and stories your students create are uniquely theirs for that song. Singing “Skip to My Lou” with “little red wagon painted blue,” one class may decide that the red wagon was painted blue, because they didn’t have any more red paint. Another class may decide they painted the red wagon, because blue is their favorite color. In answer to “Joshua, where are you taking your newly painted wagon?” Joshua may answer “to the store to get some candy.” Kaeli may answer “to my friend’s house so we can take our dolls for a ride.”

Follow-up questions and comments are especially important for energizing imaginative play. [For “little red wagon painted blue”] “What is your favorite candy? . . . Oh, I like those, too!” “Do you plan to share it with anyone when you get home? . . . Is it your sister’s favorite candy, too?” “How much do you think it will cost? . . . That seems like a bargain to me!” “What is the name of your doll?
. . . What an interesting name!” Where did you get your doll?” . . . Wasn’t that a nice birthday surprise!” “Where will you take your dolls in your wagon? . . . Be sure to be safe and watch for traffic as you take a trip around your neighborhood.” Frequently interspersing story-making with repeating the song, rhyme, or recording is critical to these questions energizing rather than bogging down the pace of the lesson.

Playfulness does not necessarily involve playing a “game.” But, when playfulness sets the tone for the plans we make, the questions we ask, the inviting facial expressions we display, the trust we show in venturing into a new way of interacting, and the spontaneous decisions we make based on students’ verbal, physical, and musical responses, teachers and students can regain vitality, their sense of liveliness for learning and teaching. And, when we infuse a song with context of meaning by giving it an imaginative story, we sing the song with meaning, we sing it more musically.

You may be wondering how you will find the time to be playful with music activities, given your schedule demands. My experience with infusing imaginative play into songs, rhymes, and classics has convinced me that a brief investment of story-making can transform our experience with the evolving study of the music. I most often hear an energized expressiveness in singing, speaking, and moving as a consequence of childrens’ creative responses to my open-ended questions. And, when I hear expressive, fluent singing and speaking of songs and rhymes, and see energized, sensitive movement to recordings, I know that we are making music musically.

Activities cited here are published by Alfred Music and may be found in:

Bennett, P.D. (2012). Playing with the Classics: Music Masterworks for Children, Volume 2.

Bennett, P.D. (2011). Playing with the Classics: Music Masterworks for Children, Volume 1.

Bennett, P.D. (2010). RhymePlay: Playing with Children and Mother Goose.

Activities may also be seen at SongWorks for Children: A Video Library of Children Making Music


Rehearsing and Performing a Partner Song

Sally K. AlbrechtBy Sally K. Albrecht
Composer/Arranger, Clinician, and Choreographer

“Two or more independent melodies are combined or juxtaposed, creating the ultimate mastery of counterpoint.”

Back in the fifteenth century, this combination of melodies was known as a “quodlibet” (Latin for “what pleases”). The popular TV show Glee recently renamed it as a “mash-up.” But I personally prefer this simple yet descriptive title: “partner song.”

There’s nothing more fun than a partner song, plus there’s no better way to develop independent two-part singing or to introduce harmony and polyphonic texture to your young and developing performers.

Traditionally, we hear one melody in its entirety followed by another melody. Then the two melodies are performed simultaneously, creating a challenge for singers and testing the ears of the listener to identify each melody, yet hear new harmonies as they unfold.

As the arranger of several collections of partner songs, the joy is in finding appropriate melodies to which a strong counterline or countermelody can be written. Then, the challenge is to create a text that will overlap well, even sharing the same vowels or syllables on long-held notes. I try to weave the two melodies in and around each other so that no collisions occur, but rather they play nicely with each other!

Teachers may chose to have all singers learn both parts, then divide the ensemble in two to sing together the final time through. Other directors may chose to teach half of the students Part I only and the other half Part II only. I’ve seen occasions where one entire grade/classroom learns Part I and another entire grade/classroom learns Part II—and they sing together for the first time just before the performance!

The other great plus to these publications lies in the fact that all offer reproducible student vocal pages, either in the publication or as PDF files on an enhanced CD. These books give you a way to “bridge the gap” between unison singing and dealing with 2-part choral octavos. Consider highlighting Part I in yellow and Part II in green. Your students can start learning how to read vocal lines!

Further challenge your singers by pairing them up in couples or smaller groups as they sing together, or organizing them in two circles. Your students will enjoy finding new partners and making new friends as they sing!

Partner Song Collections by Sally K. Albrecht
Broadway Partners!
Grab a Partner!
Grab Another Partner!
Holiday Partners
Pop Partners

Developing Improvisational Skills on Recorder

JIm SolomonBy Jim Solomon

Teaching elementary school music full time for over 30 years and working with middle/high school students every summer has allowed me to experiment with and develop ideas that work with students. Through the years I have become convinced that we need to begin improvisation (and composition) immediately with our beginning recorder players. Click HERE for an excerpt from pages 4-5 of my newest Alfred Music  publication, Hot Jams for Recorder with Guitar and Drum. The focus is how to develop improvisational skills with students in a practical way. I hope it works for you!

*A simple definition of improvisation: “Make your own to fit the music.”

*Improvisational sections are included in five pieces in this collection. For improvisation (improv), all five pieces use the notes of the G pentatonic scale (G-A-B-D-E) centering either on the “la” tonal center (E) or “do” tonal center (G). On the soprano recorder these notes line up in descending order as B-A-G-E-D. Upper octave notes D2-E2-G2-A2-B2 are also available for improv with advanced students. The tonal center is E in all of these five pieces except for “Samba in the BAG,” in which the improv begins over the Em chord, but resolves to G.

*Start working on improv early in the learning process.

*In the beginning practice stages, have students improvise as a group. This will give them the opportunity to experiment and make mistakes without being put on the spot.

*In the later practice stages and for performances, use solo improvisers. Give any interested students the opportunity to solo improvise during the later practice stages.

*When beginning improv practice, start with only one note: B. Teacher plays the guitar part, and students play their ideas that fit with the rhythm and the feeling of the song using only B.

*Then, “Add the note A. Start on B, but add the note A sometimes.” Teacher plays guitar, students experiment with two notes.

*Then, “Add the note G. Start on B, but add A and G sometimes.” Teacher plays guitar, students practice improvising with three notes.

*Then, “Add the note E. Start on B or on E, and add in the others when it feels good to you.” Teacher plays guitar, students practice with four notes.

*Then, “Add the note D. Start on B or E, and add in the others when you wish.” Teacher plays guitar, students practice with the full pentatonic scale.

*For your very capable players, add in any upper octave notes they can comfortably play: D2-E2-G2-A2-B2.

*I’ve found it to be extremely helpful to limit the number of notes they can use in the beginning. Many students, when given a full scale to use at the outset, will randomly play all over the recorder. Starting with one note will focus them on playing within the feeling of the music. Adding one note at a time will gradually increase their options.

*Include vocal improvisation in your practice time. It is excellent for developing improv skills. Echo speak or sing rhythms and melodic patterns that fit the feel of the music.

*Set up improvisation sections according to the abilities of your group. Individuals can:
(Note: In the beginning of Question/Answer practice, Teacher plays the Question and Student plays the Answer. As they develop ideas, change this to Student/Student.)

>Perform their own question and answer.

>Improvise for the length of a section.

>Improvise over the song, or add in “fills” the last time through the song.

Click here to find out more about Hot Jams for Recorder, Book & CD.

Other publications by Jim Solomon:

Conga Town (00-BMR08002)

D.R.U.M. (00-BMR08009)

Hands On (00-25898)

Do you have any improvisation or composition success stories you’ d like to share? We would love to hear  from you!

Exploring Holiday Songs, Carols, and Customs

By Sally K. Albrecht, Composer/Conductor/Clinician

Sally K. AlbrechtThe holidays are the perfect time to explore, study, and celebrate the music from other lands. Through music we can learn so much about people and traditions around the world. Alfred’s new publication A World of Christmas was put together with that in mind—to teach young singers about the cultures, customs, languages, and music of other countries.

Use A World of Christmas as a songbook (approximately 30 minutes) or add the optional script to create a full-fledged global musical (approximately 50 minutes). The publication contains an opening/closing theme, plus songs from 15 countries around the globe. Feel free to add other holiday songs from other countries, or select only your favorites for a shorter program. The optional script includes lines for 10 narrators, who introduce the customs of the featured country before each song. Use the same 10 speakers throughout the program, or change before each song—it’s up to you.

If you teach many different classes, consider having all your children perform the opening and closing theme, with different individual classes performing one or more songs alone. A World of Christmas may be performed simply on risers, with narrators coming forward before each selection.

You can easily turn this program into a full-school project, inviting fellow teachers or people from your community to join in on the fun. Consider using the study of this material to develop further interdisciplinary study:

  • Invite a geography teacher to talk about the different countries that are featured: the locations, hemispheres, longitudes and latitudes, major cities, topography, imports and exports, major crops, etc.
  • Invite a language specialist to teach a few important words in each country’s native language: yes, no, hello, goodbye, bathroom, numerals from 1-10, please, thank you, etc.
  • Invite an art teacher to help students draw a map of the country, the flag, or even children wearing typical costumes of the country. Plan an art project or exhibit based on the particular art styles of the country or specific region.
  • Invite a history teacher to talk about past and recent developments in the country’s politics, borders, rulers, etc.
  • Invite a chef to talk about foods and perhaps cook a typical dish from a few of the countries.
  • Invite a banker to show your students currency from each country.
  • Invite an ethnomusicologist to demonstrate musical instruments or play examples of folk music from each country.
  • Invite a music specialist to talk about and play examples of the music of famous composers from each country.
  • Invite a zoologist to talk about each country’s native animals and what they eat.
  • Invite a meteorologist to talk about each country’s climate and typical weather patterns.
  • Invite a travel agent to talk about the highlights of each country, things to see and do, and how to get there. Collect some travel posters for your hallways and classrooms.
  • Invite a costume designer to show examples of the typical dress of each country.
“We hope you enjoy introducing your students to The World of Christmas

Using Puzzles in the Music Classroom

By Sue Albrecht Johnson

I spent twenty-five years of my life as a middle school/junior high school mathematics teacher. I had always loved mathematics and wanted to give my students this enthusiasm as well. This led me to create lots of puzzles, games, and classroom activities for them to do, in an effort to help them learn and reinforce the skills they were learning in class. Depending on the circumstances, these puzzles were either completed in class, for extra credit, or sometimes on days with substitute teachers.

My lifelong love of singing prompted the idea to create puzzles based on musical topics. I was very pleased with the teacher response to my first book, Music Fun 101. Teachers especially seemed to like the Crossword and Complete the Story sections, in which students are asked to identify notes on the treble and/or bass clef. Those notes are then translated into words. The new collection, called Music Puzzler, incorporates three stories and six crosswords. For an additional activity or extra credit, students may also enjoy clapping, chanting, or tapping the rhythms in these puzzles for the instructor. Keyboard classes may enjoy playing through the musical clues.

In addition, there are a variety of other crosswords focusing on musical elements, history, and vocabulary in the Kriss Kross, Word Search, and Musical Sudoku sections. With every puzzle, the goal is to reinforce concepts that are being learned about in class. If you are studying musical theater, assign the Contemporary Broadway Crossword puzzle as an extra credit assignment. If you are studying the instrument families, pull out the Musical Instruments Kriss Kross to complete at the end of class as a concluding activity or assessment.

Music Puzzler is entirely reproducible and a data CD with PDF files is also included. My hope is that this book will be something that both students and teachers will enjoy!

The Power of Song

Beth JacobyBy Beth Jacoby
Actor, Teacher, and Writer/Lyricist

On May 15th in Chicago’s Millennium Park, 3,500 members of the Chicago Children’s Choir came together to perform a song about standing up to bullying, exclusion, and discrimination. The song was entitled “The Power of One” and I, along with composer Larry King, wrote it.

Certainly, we couldn’t help but be affected by the sheer scope of the performance. (The fact that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had requested the song be performed right after his speech didn’t hurt either!) But what was more affecting was the impact that the song had on the children who sang it, and the audience who heard it.

“It starts with one voice, that opens the gate…”

Before we actually wrote “The Power of One,” we asked ourselves a few simple questions: “What if we could create a song that could inspire kids to be ‘up-standers’ and not by-standers when encountering issues of discrimination, exclusion, or injustice?” And, “What if that song had multiple solo opportunities, so kids could see and hear how ONE voice really can make a difference?” So that’s what we set out to do.

What happened next was sort of our own version of “If you build it, they will come.” An ASL teacher created some beautiful sign language to accompany the song’s chorus. A group of students in the Chicago Children’s Choir agreed to make a “test market” recording for us. Studio musicians and engineers generously donated their time and talents. And somehow, it all came together.

While we knew we were on to something, I’m not sure any of us could have predicted the response we have received, and not only from kids, but from parents, too. Quite literally, it has “struck a chord.” In recent weeks, I’ve travelled to numerous school choirs in the Chicago area to teach the sign language that goes with the song. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve asked the following question: “How many of you have ever been bullied?” At least a third of the group always raised their hands. We talked about how it made them feel, and what we all could do to help each other. We could have spent each entire class talking!

If we just make the choice, we can end all the hate…”

Though it may be painful at times, this is exactly what needs to happen! It’s only through dialogues like these, in our classrooms and homes, that we’ll be able put an end to a problem that is hurting all of us. The fact that our song has been able to play a role in this process is a testimony to the power that music has in our lives to be a catalyst for change. We extend our sincere thanks to all the kids, choir directors, and parents for their support and hard work. We are extremely grateful.

Click here to listen to and view sample pages for “The Power of One,” which is available in SATB, SAB, and 2-part voicings.

Planning for the Unexpected

Sally K. AlbrechtBy Sally K. Albrecht, Editor

Are you a teacher who plans every class period down to the minute? Or do you go in with a general plan for the day and see how the chips fall? Or perhaps you have definite long-range goals for each class, that may take 3, 4, 5, or more classes to accomplish, leaving yourself some flexibility?

Do you remember the popular phrase “Different strokes for different folks?” What are YOU comfortable with as a teacher, as an educator? I’m sure you’ve watched others at their craft, chosen a mentor, or perhaps became one yourself.

Happily, each of us has our own directive, own pace, own goals, and own way of getting there. But then, of course, there’s that unexpected snow day, or a late bus, or field trip, or pep rally, or guest speaker that just puts a major crimp in our our plans for the day.

Each educator needs to be ready to implement an alternate plan. Can we come up with a quicker solution or different route to the finish line? Think “The Tortoise and the Hare!” Slow and steady might just win the race, if we choose the right path.

No matter how much we plan ahead, or think we know the correct route, we must always be ready for the inevitable to happen . . . but the trick is NOT to let the students know you’ve missed a beat. Don’t blame it on them. Don’t make them think that they’ve missed anything in your teaching strategy. Keep up your enthusiastic pace, and make sure that every child in your room gets a smile, a positive word or look, or an encouraging pat on the back each and every day.

I recently conducted a choral festival where just about everything that could go wrong DID go wrong, mostly within the first hour of rehearsal. I’ve never seen a better, more positive, “quick-on-the-draw” group of elementary teachers (and custodians) jump in to help and solve the problems. I had limited rehearsal time and lost nearly an hour of it, but took a deep breath and jumped in as energetically as possible, encouraging the singers to concentrate to their fullest extent, taking turns taking breaks, and calling on the teachers to help with all of the extras.

Kids, like teachers, are resilient. They love to sing, to perform, and to succeed. They enjoy supporting and encouraging each other, applauding each other’s performances. Stay positive with them. Don’t let them know when you’re sweating out a scary moment or an unexpected turn of events. Be the teacher that draws the best out of them . . . “where never is heard a discouraging word!”

Teach Me to Sing!

By Sally K. Albrecht and Andy Beck, Alfred Choral & Classroom Editors

At several recent conventions, Andy Beck and I have enjoyed presenting a session titled “Teach Me To Sing! A Guide to Training Young Singers.” We have had so many positive comments about the presentation and the approach that we’ve taken to developing children’s singing skills. Here are the six simple steps we recommend.

STEP 1 – Develop basic singing and listening skills with ECHO SONGS.
Echo songs are the very best way to start primary singers. When you demonstrate proper vocal tone and technique, then your singers will echo it back correctly. This is a wonderful way to develop ear training, pitch awareness, rhythmic accuracy, and good vocal habits in young singers.

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STEP 2 – Now that we’ve got the basics, let’s sing in UNISON.
Start young voices on simple age-appropriate melodies set in comfortable vocal ranges. Then gradually introduce challenges as musical objectives are met. Remember, students will learn so much through lyrics, so choose songs that inspire and educate as well as entertain!

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STEP 3 – Develop vocal independence by singing ROUNDS AND CANONS.
There’s no better way to introduce part-singing than by performing rounds and canons. Be sure to thoroughly learn the melody in unison first, then divide students into sections. Take turns leading or following. Or YOU be the leader, and let students follow!

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STEP 4 – Pair two complimentary melodies singing PARTNER SONGS.
These highly effective teaching songs ensure vocal independence as two tunes are overlapped. Repeat each song three times; sing the familiar melody first, the new melodic partner second, and then combine them for each-to-achieve counterpoint harmony!

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STEP 5 – Integrate RHYTHM AND MUSIC READING ACTIVITIES into your curriculum.
We know that learning styles vary, so it’s important to teach and reinforce musical concepts in a variety of ways each time you are with your students. For rhythmic reading, try clapping, tapping, chanting, walking, and playing classroom instruments. For music reading, incorporate regular practice and drill to develop musicianship.

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STEP 6 – After all of your hard work, now you are ready to sing BEGINNING 2-PART SONGS.
Now you’re ready to experience the beauty and fun of choral singing, introducing beginning 2-part songs with independent counterlines, echoing phrases, or musical lines that move in opposite directions. Select repertoire that is designed for success.

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After all your excellent preparation and fun work, now you should be ready to introduce your developing 2-part singers to choral octavos!

Teach Me to Sing>Click here to view a PDF booklet of sample pages introducing these 6 simple steps.

The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You!

Sally K. AlbrechtBy Sally K. Albrecht

It is so important that we work with our students on their rhythmic reading skills. That’s why we’re excited to present the new publication Rhythm Workshop, featuring 575 rhythmic reading exercises. You may chose to clap, tap a pencil, pat your thigh, stomp, walk, patty-cake with a friend, speak, play, and/or sing these rhythmic exercises.

How did you learn to read rhythms? Perhaps you used “Too” or “Doo” on long-held whole or half notes, “Ta” or “Da” on quarter notes, “Ti-ka” or “Da-ba” on eighth notes, “Ti-ka-ta-ka” or “Do-be-do-be” on sixteenth notes. Or perhaps you use a combination of different approaches to keep your reading fresh and fun!

I enjoyed presenting Rhythm Workshop at several teacher sessions over the summer. We started by reciting an exercise on a common syllable. Then I added the challenge of using participants’ names on different rhythms (Sue = half note, Joyce = quarter note, Michael = two eighth notes). On page six of the publication, I suggested many other words to use, including fruits/veggies, flowers/trees, and cities. Use your imagination! Try using musical terms such as tie, staff, beam, rest, bar line, coda, etc. Or, in the fall, how about using football terms? (Click HERE to see example.) Or ask your students to suggest other appropriate words to match a season or upcoming event.

Add a handclap on each rest, or say “shh” or “rest” in order to make sure your students are keeping a steady beat.

Ask your students to write down the rhythm of their own name, street, city, favorite food, TV show, or movie, etc. Use some of those words the next time you read a new rhythmic exercise.

Choose a chord (Bass on do, Alto on mi, Tenor on sol, Soprano on high do) and perform the next exercise on a simple “ta.” Afterwords, invite your students to make up a rhyming lyric and/or create a simple singable melody, testing and expanding their compositional skills!

Most of the examples are eight measures long, so try singing “do” on the rhythm in the 1st measure, “re” on measure 2, “mi” on measure 3, and so on moving up the scale. Or start on high “do” and move down the scale. Then split your group in half with one group moving up the scale and the other moving down on another exercise, creating a 2-part texture.

Rhythm Workshop also features several 2-part examples. Split your students in half to read these rhythms. Double the fun by having Group A read Part I followed by Part II and Group B read Part II followed by Part I. For a challenge, “play” both rhythms using two hands (right hand taps top line, left hand taps bottom line), or tap one part while speaking the other.

Also featured are 11 “Missing Bar Lines” examples, where the students are asked to fill in the missing bar lines in different time signatures (answer keys provided). The final section of the book features six pages with mixed meter examples.

An enclosed Enhanced CD includes reproducible PDF files of each page, plus 36 musical tracks in a variety of tempos and musical styles. This encourages your students to get “in the groove” and not to rush as they read the rhythms. One of my teacher groups last month in Kansas City read an entire page of 3/4 examples to a lilting waltz track, with the added challenge of walking around the room (without running into anyone else) and landing back at their seat by the time the page was completed.

Enjoy using this new reproducible publication with your students!

Rhythm Workshop:  Reproducible Book & Enhanced CD (00-38270)……$34.99

Click for more information and to view free sample exercise pages #10 and #95

Magical Travel Tips: Traveling Efficiently

By Elizabeth Geli
Posted June 2011
Courtesy of Marching.com

Traveling with hundreds of marching band students can sometimes be a headache, but with proper preparation and communication, your trip can go smoothly and without hold-ups. Band Director Matt Lovell from the Burlington (Mass.) High School “Red Devil” Marching Band shared some of his tips for efficient and speedy travel.

Evaluate Your Students For smooth travel, a good ratio is to have one adult chaperone for every six to 10 students.

Before he even starts to pick a trip location, Lovell carefully evaluates that year’s band — including the students’ level of maturity, behavioral history and the strength of the student leaders.

“That’s the key to it: the first thing is you have to make sure that the band you go with is a band that can take the responsibility of a trip,” Lovell says. “I know them at their best, and I know them at their worst. The question is not how they are at their best but how will they be at their worst. If I know that they will fulfill their responsibilities even when they’re not ‘on,’ that’s a group that can go.”

Find a Travel Planner

Once Lovell has decided to go ahead and take a trip, he looks for a good travel planner or student tour operator related to the trip location, in this case, one with personal contacts at Walt Disney World and Boston Logan Airport.

“Travel has gotten a lot more complex since 2001,” Lovell says. “We used to be able to be pretty happy with putting the trip together ourselves, but now we go with a travel planner who works specifically with bands, and it was much more successful.”

To read the full article, please visit Marching.com.