School Music Tours for Bands, Choirs & Orchestras
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Planning your first school music tour can seem a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you’ve chosen a specialist school music tour operator that will support you every step of the way, like Halsbury. 

To help you get started, here are some of the key things you’ll want to consider at each step of the planning process. And don’t forget, if you ever feel overwhelmed or unsure about anything, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Planning

The very first thing to consider is what your group’s requirements are. What is it that you want them to get out of this tour? What age will your tourists be, and how does that affect things like transport, accommodation and food? And could there be any accessibility issues, either for passengers or instruments?

You’ll then need to consider the budget, as this will dictate the destination, accommodation, transport etc. 

You’ll need to think about how affordable your preferred tour is in reality for your students. If your department has run tours before, you could look to these to give you some guide as to what is an acceptable cost (although please take into account how long ago these tours were – if we’re talking decades, you can be certain that prices will be a little higher nowadays, unfortunately!). 

You could also have a chat with your department head, or even with any other teachers in the school that have run a school trip recently – they’ll be able to give you an idea of the reaction to the price of their tour. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways to make your tour more affordable. The first is booking well in advance, giving parents longer to pay for the tour. Booking early will also make the whole process much less stressful for you as a first time Group Leader, as you’ll have plenty of time to do everything, without any last-minute rushes. 

You may also like to consider getting your ensemble to do some fundraising – your pupils will relish the experience of the tour even more if they’ve had to work to get there. 

Another important element to consider is how many accompanying staff you’ll need. We offer one free place for every eight paying passengers for coach tours, and one free place for every ten paying passengers for air tours. If you need or want to take more accompanying staff than this ratio allows for, this will need to be factored for in your budget. 

 

Booking

The most important thing to say when it comes to the booking stage is make sure that you’re booking with a reputable school music tour operator!

You need a tour operator that, firstly, is fully accredited, so you can be sure that your tour is financially protected. 

But you should also look for a specialist music tour operator who understands the pressures on you and can support you every step of the way. 

These two things are especially important should something go wrong on tour. You need to make sure that you’re booking with a company that can help you deal with the unexpected and help ensure you all get home safely. 

You will also need to speak to your school’s finance department, ideally before asking students to make deposit payments. You need to know how they can pay (cash, cheque or through your school’s online payment portal?). 

And you also need to know who they should pay – can you collect their payments, or do they need to provide them directly to the finance department. 

It would also be a good idea to find out how long it will take for the payments to reach the school’s account – you may need to bring the payment deadline forward slightly if this could take a little while. 

Launching your tour

Promoting your tour effectively and early is key to ensuring that you get the numbers you need and that your key performers are able to attend. 

Whether you put posters around the school, post a notice in the school’s newsletter, or run an assembly, you need to sell the idea of the tour to the students first and foremost. 

We’ve created a guide to promoting your tour, with loads of downloadable resources to help you with this process. And even if you’ve not booked a tour to Tuscany, you may want to show them this video of Ackworth School’s music tour, to help them see just how great your tour is going to be. 

You’ll also need to get parents on board with your tour. Again, we’ve created a useful guide to help you do this. Don’t forget to explain all the great benefits your tour will offer their children. And make sure you give them all the information they’ll need to make a decision, including information on health and safety, as well as payment deadlines. 

Confirming your booking

When it comes to confirming your booking, this is actually a very simple step. All you need to do is forward the booking form and the initial deposits to us. If you’ve chosen to travel by air, then we will also need you to send us the air passengers list. And don’t forget – if you have any questions at all, please just let us know!

Before you go

So, you’ve got your students signed up and you’ve confirmed your booking. What else do you need to do before you go?

The most important thing to do is the risk assessment. Unfortunately, we can’t do this for you – it has to be completed by the Group Leader as they are always best placed to understand the exact requirements of this particular group. 

However, your job will be made much easier by the fact that in Halsbury you have chosen a school tour operator that is fully accredited. We have a strong Safety Management System in place, which can be used as a basis for your risk assessment. 

You must follow the procedure set out by your school or LEA. But it might be worth checking out our guide to risk assessments to give you a better idea of what’s involved and what you need to consider. 

The other thing you’ll need to think about is preparing for the tour itself. Whether that’s additional rehearsals for your ensemble, or finalising the repertoire, there’s certainly plenty to think about. But something that is easily forgotten, is the journey itself. 

Generally, this is less of an issue if you’re flying, although you may want to consider whether your students are old enough to take care of their passports and boarding cards, or whether these should be looked after by members of staff. But if you are travelling by coach, you could potentially be in for a long journey, depending on your destination. 

DVDs are always a good option, and many of our music groups enjoy a classic musical on the road. Certainly, if you’re headed for Salzburg, the Sound of Music is ideal! You could also plan a few coach games, to keep students occupied and break the journey up a bit. 

It may also be worth packing a few snacks and extra bottles of water. And bin bags are always useful, to keep the coach tidy! If you’re allowing students to bring electronic devices, they could load up TV shows, music and films for quieter times. And if you’re a choir, why not have a sing along, or even a mini rehearsal on the road?