Developing Student Performers

Having student performers strengthens your group in a variety of ways. It gives you more flexibility with budget and scheduling, it broadens the ways that people can participate in the group, and it gives other students more incentive to come to events to see their friends play. Here are a few tips about how to get develop a group of student performers. 

  • Organize jam sessions; give more experienced student musicians the responsibility to teach tunes and styles
  • Organize calling discussions, repertoire swaps, guinea-pig dances, etc. where callers can practice and try out new material
  • Give students a chance to perform at your events.
  • Give students a chance to see professionals at work: sponsor trips to off-campus events or festivals; feature a mix of student performers and off campus performers in your schedule throughout the course of the year. When you have off-campus performers, ask them to come early and run a workshop for students, or stay afterwards and jam.
  • Schedule special workshops for callers or musicians to learn from an experienced teacher. Apply for grants from CDSS if your group budget can't support this.
  • There are a lot of great materials that can help beginning musicians or callers learn skills. Tune books, books about calling, books of dance repertoire, recordings, etc. College groups receive a 30% discount from the CDSS catalog; purchase a set of useful books as a reference for anyone in the club to use.
  • Set up a music-department recognized ensemble performing traditional music (such as Flying Fingers at Macalester College - does anyone else have a group like this?). Encourage music students to join you and learn a bit about traditional styles.
  • Encourage student performers to attend off-campus workshops/Camps. Send them to CDSS musicians and callers courses and summer camp weeks. CDSS has extensive scholarships available for young people to make camps very affordable.
  • Play in public places on campus. You never know how many musicians might appear out of the woodwork and ask to join in. This also gives your group more visibility, and can help you advertise events.

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