Give beginning band and orchestra students a boost in confidence by providing an opportunity for them to showcase their newly acquired music skills in front of family and friends in a public setting. That's the mission of the First Performance National Day of Celebration (FPNDoC).
Developed by the Music Achievement Council (MAC), FPNDoC is a turnkey demonstration concert that takes place early in the school year and recognizes the achievements of beginning instrumental music students.
MAC has identified the third Thursday in November as the official FPNDoC, however, music educators can pick any day within first six to eight weeks of the school year.
In addition to applauding the musical accomplishments of beginners, the primary goals of the program are to reduce dropout rates among beginning music students, create short-range incentives for students, encourage communication with parents, and strengthen administrative support of the music program.
To help music educators plan and implement a First Performance concert, MAC has created a free FPNDoC toolkit that includes:
- Template letter/invitation to parents. It's recommended that the music director announce the date and time for the First Performance at the first parent meeting.
- Template letter/invitation to principal/administration
- Customizable and printable PDF certificate of advancement. Make sure to have certificates printed for each student to celebrate this major advancement from beginning instrumental music student to member of the band/orchestra.
- Script template. You will need to find an emcee for the First Performance. Consider asking a representative from the school administration, a member of the parent organization or the high school band director to serve in this role.
- Press release template. You will need to publicize the event across the school and community. So in addition to a press release, you will need posters and school-wide announcements.
Download the materials here.
You need to select what to perform.Select pieces from a beginning band method book or check out MAC's "First Performance – A Demonstration Concert," which is available through Hal Leonard.
Make sure light refreshments are provided following the performance.
You may want to consider involving high school music students to pass out programs, answer questions, serve refreshments or assist in tuning students before the performance. The beginners will look up to their older peers and parents will see the long view of participating in a music program.
Share Your FPNDoC Videos
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation is encouraging music educators to share short, informal FPNDoC videos using its app, NAMM VOICES. Instructions on creating a video can be found here.
Tape highlights of your rehearsals as you prepare for your First Performance concert. Interview students and their parents about the First Performance. Or tape yourself giving an overview of the FPNDoC experience. And, of course, don't forget to capture clips of the performance.
Videos will be posted on The NAMM Foundation website and shared via its social media channels.
FPNDoC Test Run
At the 2017 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, attendees were treated to the First Performance of two local schools' beginning music students. (Read about the FPNDoC performances at Midwest here.) Parents were asked two questions after the concert:
- Now that you have seen your child perform, are you more likely to encourage your child to stick with band?The response was unanimous – 100%.
- What one word would you use to describe your reaction to today's performance? Here are the responses.
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. FPNDoC is designed to provide a singular opportunity for students, parents, administrators, student peers and the community to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of beginning instrumental students. It will also help to ensure a strong program overall.