The big day has arrived. After at least a Terms practice it’s time for your (childs) first ever Concert! Whether you/they are excited, nervous or totally apathetic to the whole affair, it’s still a fairly big deal. You only have your first Concert once!
As they* say failure to prepare is preparing to fail. So, read on for the ultimate check list to ensure you’ve covered all eventualities.
In the beginning
Firstly, and most obviously, you need to bring the musician to the Concert. Secondly, and almost as essential, is the instrument. With these key components you are off to a flying start.
After that flying start
So you have the most essential of essentials packed in the car, ready to go. However, there are still one or two things that are worth bringing to make the whole experience run a little smoother…
1 | Water
It’s always a good idea to have a drink on hand for you, (or your little musical prodigy.) A room full of excitable children and slightly nervous adults can really heat up. While an ice cold can of Coke – other brands available – may be tempting, stay strong and stick with water. Drinking sugary syrup drinks, then playing a brass or woodwind instrument is a recipe for growing new life in the pipes of ones instrument. Water. Only.
It is also a good idea to consider the receptacle that your (childs) water is in. Without intent or malice some people (often children) are exceptionally gifted at making a mess. Why would a bottle of water at your (their) first concert be any different? As such, avoid removable lids and opt instead for pull tops to minimise the risk of spillage. Also, avoid single use plastic bottles. Not to be preachy but, think of the Turtles 🐢
2 | Emergency Maintenance
Imagine sitting on stage and your (childs) Reed cracks, or their valve gets stuck! #Catastrophic. However, these catastrophes can be easily remedied with the power of forward planning. (So long as your forward planning is to ensure you have all the spares you – or your child – could possibly need.)
Depending on your (childs) instrument you may need – Reeds – Strings – Oil – Slide Grease – Different Strings – Spare Sticks – Replacement Cable – etc. If it can easily break, malfunction, or get lost, you (or your child) need a spare.
3 | Layer up
When you think of a wind band playing under a gazebo at the village fate you envision blazing sunshine and a gentle breeze creating the perfect summer day. If this happens then its the exception that proves the following rule. When playing outside, assume you will either be in the Sahara or the Arctic. So be sure to bring a Sunhat and layer up. (Vests are a good investment!) You can always take off a layer, but you can’t put on a layer you don’t have. Just be sure said layers are in keeping with any band dress code. (More on this later.)
If you’ve still got room
So, you’ve covered the bare necessitates and still have a smidgen of space? We in that case, there are one or two more things that may come in handy.
4 | Some Pennies
While the best things in life are free you can be sure the Raffle in the interval will not be. However, we promise said Raffle will be worth the £1/ticket price tag. After all, where else can you win a box of Godiva Chocolates and a Bottle Herbal Essence – other brands available – Shampoo in the same place?
Everyone gets hungry from time to time. (Personally I do so at least three times a day.) This is why everyone loves a good snack. Something small, not too crumbly and easily washed down with water is always a good choice. Sometimes you just need a quick Glucose pick-me-up in the concert interval. Hopefully there is a cake stand but, if not, you’ll be glad of your own snack stash.
6 | A place to rest
On stage there can be notable periods of rest. These may be actual written rests. However, they may just be long breaks between pieces while the conduct retells an amusing story his mother-in-law told him about the summer of ’73 to the ‘enthralled’ audience.
During these periods it’s not advisable to leave your instrument strewn on the floor. Balancing it precariously on your knee is no better. This is where an instrument stand comes into its own. You can get stands for Guitars – Violins – Trumpets – Cornets – Trombones – Flutes – Alto Saxes – Tenor Saxes – Clarinets – even for your Drum Sticks!
For your inner Boy Scout
Some people like to be prepare for anything. If that’s your thing, good for you. We all know you’re the person the rest of us come crawling to when out lack of forward planning sneaks up on us and leaves us rather short.
As such, some final considerations for the epic trek into the realms of your (childs) first concert is:
7 | Any Sheet Music / Carrier
It should be pretty obvious that you need to bring your music. To a concert. Where you are playing said music. Ensure you (or the kiddo) never leaves the house without this all essential paper by investing in a bright – eye catching – music carrier. Although chances are most conductors are expecting someone to fail at this hurdle and have spare music with them.
8 | Wardrobe
If your band have a dress code, make sure you follow it. No one want to be the sore thumb sticking out. If you want to go full Boy Scout a mini steam iron will ensure you always look your sharpest and a mini sewing kit will save you from embarrassing moments. We estimate 1 in 3 gigging musicians have suffered a trouser split during a gig. Don’t let it be you (or your little one.) #BePrepared
9 | Tuner
Usually you’ll tune to another band member, (or not at all… how important is it really? Actually, very. See here.) However, having your own personal back up tuner can be a great way to ensure you are 100% on the money. Also, you’ll be very popular with the Violins.
10 | Music Stand / Lyre
Some bands have this covered. However, if they don’t and you need one… well you’ll be in a pickle. When outside its always a good shout to have a few pegs with you too. While music blowing across a field is amusing for spectators, it’s pretty annoying when you’re trying to play.
11 | Pencil
For writing. All musicians should have one on their person at all times. Always. Even when showering. You never know when you’ll need to put a million circles around a ppp marking.
So long as you (or your child) is there, on time, with an Instrument all will be well. Anything else is just a bonus.
*We honestly don't know who 'they' are. Genuinely do not have a clue. If anyone knows please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!