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We can all remember the excitement of our first performance—dressing uniformly being the center of attention yet within the security of a group setting, and especially hearing the rousing applause of an excited and supportive audience! Developed by the Music Achievement Council, a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, the First Performance National Day of Celebration (FPNDoC) is a turnkey demonstration concert designed to recognize and celebrate beginning band and orchestra students for their achievements.

The FPNDoC program allows our youngest musicians to showcase their newly-acquired musical skills for the very first time in a public setting within the first six to seven weeks of school. It is a scripted event that provides parents with the opportunity to hear their child’s progress in a fun and entertaining program that requires little or no extra work for the teacher, while also providing school administrators with an opportunity to view first-hand the joy and pride that our students, as well as their parents, experience in these early weeks.

The objectives of the First Performance National Day of Celebration are:

• To reduce beginner dropout rate

• To provide short-range incentive goals

• To encourage communication with parents

• To further strengthen administrative support

• To celebrate the musical accomplishments of the students

The First Performance National Day of Celebration kit contains all of the concert support you will need including:

• A sample letter/invitation to parents

• A sample letter/invitation to the principal/administration

• A fillable PDF Certificate of Advancement

• A complete 20-minute concert with scripted narration to be delivered by the school principal/

designee with optional introduction delivered by the local music dealer

• Ideas to enhance the program by involving students from the high school programs

All you will need to supply is:

• Appropriate performance material to play during the performance, likely either from your beginning band method book or from Music Achievement Council’s own “First Performance–A Demonstration Concert” publication

• A representative from your school administration, parent organization or the high school director to serve as the narrator

• Advance publicity across the school and community including posters and school-wide announcements (You may want to have a contest to design an appropriate cover.)

• Light refreshments to be provided following the performance

• Printed certificates for each student musician celebrating this major advancement from beginning instrumental music student to member of the band/orchestra/string/guitar/mariachi program

The event can be enhanced even further by involving the high school instrumental students and their parents. Just capitalize on the modeling that successful high school students can provide to beginning students and parents by having them available (in uniform or dressed uniformly) to distribute programs, answer questions, serve refreshments, or assist in tuning students prior to the performance.

The students will want to emulate their older peers and the parents will see the long-view of participating in a music program while the high school students will bolster their sense of ownership through this leadership experience. (Certificates for high school students are also available.)

It is recommended that directors announce the date of the First Performance National Day of Celebration at the first parent meeting to ensure that it is recorded in the parents’ calendars. It will be held annually on the third Thursday of November. A simple statement such as,

“On _____________(date and time), we will be back together to hear the progress of this year’s group of young musicians, so mark your calendars for our First Performance National Day of Celebration. You won’t want to miss it.”

An informational session was provided at the 2017 Midwest Clinic with inspiring response from the parents who were asked two questions:

• What one word would you use to describe your reaction to today’s performance?

• Now that you have seen your child perform, are you more likely to encourage your child to stick with band?

Remember, the First Performance National Day of Celebration has been designed as a demonstration of progress. It can be held at anytime during those first several weeks of school then celebrated along with beginners from across the country on the designated day each year—November 15, 2018, in this inaugural year. The ultimate goal is to reduce beginner dropouts, encourage positive communication with parents, strengthen administrative support for the program and create a memorable experience for the students.

The sound of applause early in a musician’s life is infectious and can encourage continued growth leading to a lifetime of music-making. The resulting memories will last for a lifetime. With beginners, there will never be a more enthusiastic group of performers and audience members than these young musicians and their families and friends. The First Performance National Day of Celebration is designed to provide a singular opportunity for students, parents, administrators, student peers and the community at-large to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of beginning instrumental students. It will also help to ensure a strong program overall. The complimentary materials provided to facilitate the performance include those referenced above which are available as a complimentary download at musicachievementcouncil.org. This August, a FPNDoC Toolkit referencing all of these complimentary materials will also be available on the same website.

You can read more about the FPNDoC session, which was demonstrated LIVE at the 2017 Midwest Clinic, at: https://tinyurl.com/ybxerxr4



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