The Unexpected Bonds of Student Music Group TravelGreg Moore
So your school band/choir/orchestra/theater/dance group has decided to take a trip — how exciting! Maybe you are traveling to New York City, for a performance at Carnegie Hall, or your marching band is headed to Walt Disney World to entertain the crowd in a parade down Main Street, USA. Your directors may have added a clinic or workshop with a respected educator or conductor, at a university or backstage with Disney Performing Arts. Those performances and workshops are, and should be, the main focus of your trip. These invaluable performance and learning opportunities can raise the level of your ensemble’s abilities, and you can represent your school and community with pride! But student travel has many benefits beyond the performances. Let’s look at some of the ways a group trip can build life skills, expand your world view, and strengthen the relationships within your group. The unexpected bonds of student music group travel can last a lifetime.
Student musicians and performers participate in their school’s fine arts programs for many reasons. Some just love music, or dance, or theater, and welcome the opportunity to get better and perform. Others have friends who participate, so they join in to be able to share the activity with them (and many of those serendipitously discover their own talents and motivation in the process). Still, others hope to pursue performance and teaching beyond high school. But all who stick with it demonstrate a level of dedication and perseverance beyond that of many of their peers. The time and effort that student musicians dedicate to their craft are inspirational. One reward for that admirable dedication is the opportunity to travel with your fellow performers.
For many students, a group trip is their first opportunity to travel without family, often to a destination they have never previously visited. The experience can be overwhelming at times, but with the guidance of staff members, chaperones, and your Music Travel Consultants Tour Director, it can be an amazing opportunity to create lifelong memories.
There is the chance to build simple but important life skills such as negotiating sharing a hotel room with several other students (Whose turn is it to take a shower? What time do we have to wake up? Who is sleeping where? What do we need to bring with us tomorrow?). Depending on the destination and itinerary, there is often free time built into the schedule. Choosing with your friends what you want to do, within the guidelines permitted by your chaperones, can foster independence and allow you to experience new things. Being responsible for your own personal items, including instruments, uniforms with all necessary parts, passport, wallet, phone, and anything else you choose to bring requires thoughtful consideration and continued vigilance throughout the trip.
Being on a trip to an exciting destination forces you to expand your world view beyond your classroom, home, and town. Embrace the experience! Read up about where you are going before the trip, and be open and engaged while on the trip. Ask questions to any tour guides you have, and interact with people to learn about the place you are visiting firsthand. As St. Augustine wrote, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Many consider the primary reward of participating in a group trip to be the bonding experience they have with their fellow students. Being away from your everyday comfort zone, experiencing new things, and negotiating the stressful aspects of travel forces you to work together and to listen to each other. In the end, the shared memories will connect you in often unexpected ways. Whether it is line dancing on a dinner cruise, exploring a Disney park together, sharing a meal at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, watching a sunset on a Hawaiian beach after a luau, renting bikes in Central Park, singing an impromptu tune in an Austrian cathedral — all of which our groups have done, and more! — or any other shared experience you have on a trip, your group will arrive home with rich memories and renewed connections.