Designing Summer Workshops: The Daily Schedule
Now that you’ve learned how to plan a workshop, schedule it on the calendar, announce it to your studio, and how to create an incentive for registration, it’s time to get into really fun stuff: creating the daily schedule. This will be my third year of workshops and camps, and I’ve learned quite a few tricks along the way. Here are a few tips that you might find handy when it comes to designing your camp day-by-day:
Daily Schedule Tips:
1) Get Messy. Yes, I mean this literally. Sometimes the creative process needs a bit of a mess for you to make progress. If you’re planning a workshop or camp from scratch, this step can help you see “the big picture.”
Try this: Create a list of ALL the activities you’d like to include in the event, then cut them into strips and create “days” by grouping various activities together. As old school as this might sound, I like to create this “schedule mess” by spreading it over the floor or on a big desk. If that isn’t your style – try using color coded post-it notes on a pin board or… use a Pinterest board!
2) Mix it Up. Fill your schedule with different types of activities. Avoid doing too many similar activities back-to-back. It helps to categorize your activities. Here are a few category ideas: Ice Breakers, Quick Games, Composition Activities, Practice Time, Listening Exercises, and Free Time.
3) Time your Activities. If you’ve never used a game or activity before, you’ll need to have an estimate of how much time it takes to complete. Remember to include set-up and tear-down time in your trial runs.
If you have a lot of activities that require set-up, you might try setting them up the night before, or you might consider getting a helper for your workshop. (Older students or significant others are good candidates!) Keep in mind that you will need time to explain the rules and perhaps try a “test run” if the game or activity is complex.
4) Create Flexibility in Your Schedule. You can spend all the time in the world creating the “perfect” schedule for your event, but just remember that sometimes things look better on paper than they do in real life.
If you find that your day isn’t running smoothly, or if an activity has students stressed out, you’ll need to be able to think fast to regain composure and momentum. I like to keep a couple of “studio favorites” on hand just in case: the ice cream interval game was one of my favorites last year.
5) Don’t Always Reinvent the Wheel. If you’ve never run a workshop or camp before, don’t be afraid to use one that already has a schedule planned out. This was how I got started! It takes some of the planning stress away if you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
There are a lot of teachers (like me!) out there that have books or PDFs for sale that detail every activity that they use in their events.
Check out my Music Blast Camp plans. They include everything you need to get started.
A final note…
Every time I run a workshop or camp, I create a physical schedule for me to glance out throughout the day. I keep it in a binder with all the activities and materials that I need for that specific camp. After
two years over seven years of running camps and workshops, I’m starting to build a nice little library of folders!
You’ll thank yourself for saving those notes when your students beg you to run the same camp next year.
- Part 1: Basic Planning
- Part 2: Scheduling
- Part 3: Announcements!
- Part 4: Registration & T-Shirts
- Part 5: The Daily Schedule
Looking for more?
Work With Me: If you need 1:1 support to develop a summer camp program that will boost your income and establish your studio as the “go to” place for fun and creative piano lessons, book a Discovery Session with me today. We’ll chat about where you are — where you WANT to be — and what kind of a plan you’ll need to get there. Learn more about my private coaching offerings here.
Self-Paced Online Course: Check out Group Lessons 101. It’s a fast and organized way to get started!