First Performance National Day of Celebration

Mike Lawson • MAC Corner • August 2, 2019

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Have you seen or heard #MSFQ and wondered what it means? It stands for More to Start and Fewer to Quit, and that’s what the First Performance National Day of Celebration is all about!

In November 2018, the Music Achievement Council, a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization, launched the inaugural First Performance National Day of Celebration (FPNDoC) with over 750 downloads by instrumental directors enjoining their students with thousands of others to share in this memorable transition from “beginner” to “performer.”

The First Performance National Day of Celebration has been designed as a short, 25-30 minute demonstration of progress. It provides a singular opportunity for students, parents, administrators, student peers, and the community at large to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of beginning instrumental 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. There will never be a more enthusiastic group of performers and audience members than these young musicians and their families and friends and the resulting memories will last for a lifetime.

The objectives of the FPNDOC 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 students

The First Performance National Day of Celebration materials are available as a free download at The packet contains all of the 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

• A complete FPNDOC Toolkit including specific strategies for implementation

All you need to supply is:

Appropriate performance material – Likely a few selections from your beginning band method book or the Music

Achievement Council’s First Performance – A Demonstration Concert developed specifically for this program and published by Hal Leonard.

A concert narrator – Preferably a school administrator, band parent organization leader or perhaps the high school band director.

Advance promotion and publicity appropriate for your community

Countless optional features designed to enrich the event are described in detail in the download packet. Now is the time to start planning for the 2019 First Performance National Day of Celebration. The national date is November 21, however your celebration should be scheduled in conjunction with your school calendar approximately seven to eight weeks after the beginning of instruction.

Personally, in my 35 years as a middle school band director, I have done countless “first performance concerts” with positive results and enhanced student retention. This toolkit is perfect for the young band/orchestra director as well as anyone who want to up their game with their beginners.

Thank you to the Music Achievement Council for your vision in creating this amazing resource for all beginning level music educators.

Cheryl Floyd is recognized for her exemplary middle school band program at Hill Country Middle School in Austin, Texas, where she is as a champion of new works for concert band. She is a member of the American Bandmasters’ Association, and in 2016, was named a Yamaha Master Educator who serves as conductor, clinician and presenter throughout the country.

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