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Reflections On Piloting An Event

Whew! One clinic down, one to go. (Well, as a host, at least.)


Now that I’ve successfully survived hosting a clinic, I know what worked, what didn’t work, and have a few ideas about what I might do differently next time.

I made my signage as obnoxious as possible in hopes that it would be impossible to miss!

Preparation and Planning

Prior to the clinic, I:

  • emailed  everyone this super fancy map I created on my phone after taking a quick screenshot of the satellite view on Google Maps. ( Hey, whatever works, amiright?)

  • Picked up snacks and water for the adults

  • Grabbed some name tags for students

  • emailed out a tentative itinerary, my contact information, and some info I thought might be helpful to the other schools and our clinician

The morning of, I:

  • Made posters to help guide schools in entering the grounds, find parking, and enter the fine arts wing of our school

  • Got my boys to help me set up the auditorium. We used four sections of risers, and then had three rows of chairs in front of that. That way, our clinician had different options throughout the day.

  • Had a couple of students stand by the door to alert me of arrivals, and politely welcome them as they came inside.

I let the guys make this poster. It's hard to see, but they all signed their names around the "WELCOME" part. They also put it up, which is why ALLL THE TAPE is used.

Here's our welcome committee. I made them rehearse what they were going to say before other people got here.

The Day Of:

We more or less followed the itinerary I originally sent out:

  • 9:30-11:30 Warm-up/Rehearsal Session I

  • 11:30-12:30 Lunch

  • 12:30-12:45 Team building Activity I: Cup Up

  • 12:45-1:45 Rehearsal Session II

  • 1:45-2:00 Team building Activity II: Rock, Opera, Disco

  • 2:00-3:00 Rehearsal Session III

  • 3:00-3:10 Team building Activity III: Human Knot

  • 3:10-4:00 Rehearsal Session IV

  • 4:00-4:05 Bathroom Break

  • 4:10-4:50 Final Rehearsal

  • 5:00-5:20 Performance


The clinician ran each rehearsal session, while I walked around, monitored, sang as needed, etc. To allow our clinician some time to take a break, I led the team building activities.

I told our clinician before the day ever started that he was free to change our set-up as he chose. They started off in seated rows, moved to standing on the risers, and later moved into a circle formation around the piano, before finally ending up on the risers again for our final rehearsal. I was really glad he chose to keep changing it up, because it kept things from getting monotonous.


We ended the day with a short concert. Honestly, I was worried that no one would come. (I even got my husband to come, just to make sure we had at least one person in the audience). But, I was super surprised that we had between 30 and 50 people attend! Most of the audience were family members of my own students, but it doesn’t really matter who they came for, what matters is that they were there!

This was taken during our second team building activity, cup-up. It was torture, because I FORCED everyone to work with people from different schools. I'm the worst, guys.

What Worked...

  • Kids seemed to enjoy the clinic

  • At first I was worried that the group was going to be too small, and feel awkward, but it turned out to be a really great size.

  • Breaks for activities seemed to work well. Directors said that they liked that because it mixed things up so that the kids weren’t just sitting in their chairs all day.

  • Clinician did a great job working with students

  • Bigger crowd for the ending concert than I thought there would be.

  • Adding a fourth piece for an all-day clinic was nice. Dr. Chris Hansen, our clinician, said he would have gone crazy if he only had three pieces to work on all day!

What I Might Do Differently Next Time...

  • I would love to add more time between the end of rehearsal, and the final concert. We opened doors for audience members roughly 10 minutes before the performance, and there wasn’t enough time for me to go through and clean the stage, and straighten everything up. Even though it was a casual performance, I think it would have been nice to get book bags away from the stage.

  • I’ve been thinking about sending emails to other directors in the area in the spring to make them aware of the clinic for next fall. That way, they have time to plan accordingly.

  • Consider adding a dinner break, and perform after dinner around 6:30. Many parents were unable to come to the performance at 5:00, because that’s when they get off of work. A later performance time would most likely be easier for a lot of parents.

  • Move the clinic to a Friday, when it is not as much of a problem to stay late, because it isn’t a school night.

  • Consider a “uniform” for the have everyone wear a white shirt, and jeans, etc. You know, to make it feel more special.

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