Best Performance Tips for Music Students

This post was inspired by Yamaha Master Educator Richard Floyd

Every marching band, ensemble, or solo performer knows the drill. After months of rehearsal and hours of fine-tuning, they nervously prepare to take the field or stage. Frazzled directors hopping with adrenaline shout last-minute performance tips like

“Don’t forget about embouchure!”
“Use good technique!”
“Keep time!”

Wouldn’t it be great if they remembered to add just one more? “Have fun!” Yamaha Master Educator Richard Floyd thinks so. I recently had an opportunity to chat with Mr. Floyd about his distinguished career and his best performance tips for music students. It was an enlightening conversation!

A Little Bit About Richard Floyd

Richard Floyd recently retired as State Director of Music at the University of Texas at Austin and now holds the title of UIL State Director of Music Emeritus. He is the musical director and conductor of the Austin Symphonic Band. He started his 55-year career as a junior high and high school music educator and conductor before moving on to the collegiate level.

Mr. Floyd coordinated secondary school music competitions for some 3500 performing organizations throughout Texas for 29 years. He is a recognized authority on conducting and music advocacy, often sharing his expertise as a clinician, adjudicator, and evaluator.  His latest book, The Seven Deadly Sins of Music Making published by GIA Publications, was released to critical acclaim earlier this year.  Additionally, he is part of a select group of Yamaha Master Educators.

Clearly, Richard Floyd knows music performance and competition. As a well-respected expert in his field, I was anxious to get the insider scoop on things like competition dos and don’ts or his best performance tips for music students. Frankly, I was surprised by his candid responses!  There was not one word about the notes, rhythms, or playing in tune.

Best Performance Tips for Music Students


Best Performance Tips for Music Students

Richard summed up decades of competition and performance experience quite simply:

Have fun!

Competitions and shows can be nerve-wracking, stressful experiences for both students and directors. Remember to find the joy in sharing and making music (it’s what got you started down this path in the first place!)

Strive to be in the moment.

Don’t overthink what has happened or what is about to happen. Focus on the ‘here and now’ – it’s your moment to shine brightly!

Know going in that there is no such thing as a perfect performance.

You may play the wrong note, miss a step, or bobble a rhythm. It’s important how you react to your mistakes and recover from them.  Don’t allow them to derail your entire performance.

One of the most important take-aways from our conversation came while we chatted about my son’s deep, emotional connection to music. It feeds his soul and shapes him as a musician. While he embraces the technical skills that help him improve, he also plays for the joy it gives him.

A Tip to Remember

I could hear Richard smiling through the phone as he listened. He then responded “That’s because it’s possible to have craft without art but it is impossible to have art without craft. You must have both to make music!”  Wow! That’s a tip to remember!

As performance season gets underway (even if it’s virtual!), cut yourself a break. Accept that perfect performances don’t exist, enjoy your moment in the spotlight, and HAVE FUN! Bring joy and inspiration to those with whom and for whom you are playing…. Keeping time does help as well 😉

Helpful Resources

Richard Floyd Letter to Myself

Band Concert Evaluation from UIL

Vocal Concert Evaluation from UIL

Orchestra Concert Evaluation from UIL



Animado Events Welcomes Kirk Troen

Animado Events welcomes Kirk Troen as the new Director of Business Development.  Animado Events develops and executes real-world learning experiences and programs for students throughout the United States.

About Kirk Troen

Kirk brings a varied and extensive background to his new position. He developed music and art education programs for the White House Millennium Celebration and coordinated national children’s choir performances for the White House.  He served as a member of the Jazz @ Lincoln Center’s Advisory Council and produced the CD Sing America!

Additionally, Troen produced the 2008 Beijing Olympic Orchestra. He created and established music festivals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He also served as the National Director of Marine Corps Music and has been recognized by the Secretary of Education for his outstanding work as part of the America Goes Back to School initiative.

Kirk’s Professional Credits

Throughout his career, Kirk Troen has distinguished himself as a leader in the student travel industry. He was elected National President of the Student Youth Travel Association and Chair of the SYTA Youth Foundation. He has served on multiple boards and advisory councils and managed the business development and marketing for a student tour operator.

Animado Events COO Keith Snode is excited to have someone with Troen’s credentials leading the team. “Kirk brings a unique brand of energy and enthusiasm to Animado. He’s creative, competent and very experienced. We’re thrilled he is sharing his talents with us!”

Troen’s professional memberships include the National Band Association, National Association for Music Education, Marine Executive Association, Bushido JuJitsu Association, Military Officers Association of America, Student Youth Travel Association and American Bus Association. He has been a national and regional adjudicator, guest conductor and clinician for national conferences and festivals.

About Animado Events

Animado Events is based in Orlando, Florida and offers student-centered programs and events throughout the country. Innovative performing arts, S.T.E.A.M. and homeschool programs are the hallmarks of its work. Visit the Animado Events website to learn more.

2 Great Dance Workshops with All the Right Moves

My living room has become a stage of sorts. Since my daughter started dance lessons, the room that used to be for guests is now a nightly performance venue and I am a captive audience. Sigh. Fortunately, I’ve found an amazing opportunity for her to showcase and fine tune her dance skills- without breaking a lamp! If you’re looking for an exciting, comprehensive dance experience, Animado Events is hosting 2 great dance workshops with the all the right moves.

What is Rhythm and Moves?

Once recital season is over, pack up your dance shoes and head to one of the Rhythm & Moves Dance Intensives. Rhythm & Moves events are three days of dance workshops, classes and performances in either Pigeon Forge, TN or Branson, MO. Top performers in each destination share their skills and expertise in an encouraging, family-friendly environment. These are NOT competitive events – they’re designed for instruction and fun!

Rhythm & Moves Pigeon Forge

The stunning Smokies provide the perfect backdrop for an immersive dance experience. Rhythm & Moves Pigeon Forge will host energetic classes and workshops on tap, fosse, improv, clogging, technique, ballroom basics, musical theater and more will be taught by performance pros. Also included is a performer Q & A, audition prep and show tickets. In addition, you’ll have the exclusive opportunity to audition for a showcase performance at the Smoky Mountain Opry.

Rhythm & Moves Branson

Julie O’Connell (Orlando Ballet) is just one of the experts lending her talents to the Rhythm & Moves Branson event. Classes in hip hop, tap, Irish dancing, jazz and ballet are included as well as workshops for audition skills and choreography. There’s a “Life of a Professional Q & A” and tickets to two evening shows guaranteed to dazzle your dancer. It’s a star-powered dance event different from anything you’ve experienced before!

When are these 2 great dance workshops happening?

Rhythm & Moves Pigeon Forge takes place June 8-10, 2020 in the sensational Smoky Mountains. Rhythm & Moves Branson follows June 15-17, 2020 in the beautiful Ozarks. Dancers will be met by professional Animado staff in both destinations to help make the experience go smoothly.  All you need to do is focus on the fun!

Can we do more?

Each event is designed for dancers to make the most of their time in fabulous destinations. There’s so much to see and do! If you want to add to your itinerary, Animado Events will be happy to share the hidden gems in both Pigeon Forge and Branson to be sure you make the most of your time!

How do we register?

The Rhythm and Moves Dance Intensives are 2 great dance workshops developed to give the dancer in your life an incredible experience. They are a deep dive into the world of dance, without the stress and anxiety of competition. To find out more about Rhythm & Moves or to register, go to Animado Events. You can also call 844-335-7994 with any questions you may have. Animado staff is always courteous and helpful.  My living room ballerina will be in Pigeon Forge and (at least for a week), my furniture will be safe!

Best STEAM Programs for Middle and High School

STEAM is the buzz word… and Animado Events the hive of activity! As educators everywhere scramble for new and exciting ways to teach STEAM, Animado has planned two incredible events geared specifically for their needs. The Journey into STEAM programs in Virginia Beach and Orlando are packed with opportunities to learn, explore and get hands-on with STEAM. Why are these the best STEAM programs for middle and high school? Read on to find out!

Journey into STEAM Virginia Beach

What is it?

In April of 2020, middle and high school students will have a unique opportunity to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics with Journey into STEAM Virginia Beach. An aircraft hangar will be the backdrop for businesses, colleges, arts and more sharing information about emerging employment trends in the STEAM fields. Students will interact directly with the experts in creative ways and have a ton of fun while doing it. It’s something different than they’ve ever done before!

What’s included?

In addition to the STEAM Fair, your students can expect

• Admission to the Military Aviation Museum
• STEAM Exploration Tour with Historical Investigation
• Drone Ace Pilot Challenge
• Lunch at the museum
• Private flight demonstration viewed from the tarmac immediately outside of the hangar of three (3) war   birds from WWI and WWII
• A unique Journey Into STEAM lanyard

Can we do more?

A 2nd day of fun and learning can be added (Friday, April 24 or Sunday, April 26th) that may include

• Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
• Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
• Cape Henry Lighthouse
• Brock Environmental Education Program (Chesapeake Bay Foundation)

Journey into STEAM Orlando

What is it?

In early November 2020, Journey into Steam at Universal Studios™ Orlando will encourage middle and high school students to speak directly to professionals from STEAM-based companies, a maker community, government agencies and non-profits. They’ll participate in hands-on activities and discover future career opportunities in emerging industries. Best of all, it takes place on a Universal Orlando Resort™ soundstage (how cool is that?!)

What’s included?

In addition to the mind- blowing soundstage experience, students will

• Participate in one Universal Classroom in Motion: STEAM App Series. Using the know-how behind top attractions like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™, these programs demonstrate the roles of science, technology, engineering, arts and math in park rides and attractions
• Attend a keynote address and Q & A highlighting STEAM
• Take part in short mini sessions throughout the day. Topics may include 3D printing, robotics, forensics, engineering, horticulture, autonomous vehicles, visual arts and healthcare
• Receive a 3-day Universal Studios Orlando™ ticket (A-Mazing!)

These exclusive events really are the best STEAM programs for middle and high school students. They are real world experiences with real world applications. They’re designed to inspire, challenge and engage students as they explore a world of career possibilities.

To find out more about Journey into STEAM Virginia Beach or Journey into STEAM Orlando, go to Animado Events or call 844-335-7994.

Journey Into STEAM

Calling all makers, techies, gamers and more! THIS IS THE STEAM EVENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Journey into Steam at Universal Orlando Resort™ is an exclusive event for middle and high school students.  It’s power packed with opportunities to learn, explore and get hands-on with STEAM. The STEAM Fair takes place on a Universal Orlando soundstage and allows you to speak directly to the experts, participate in hands-on activities and discover future career opportunities in emerging industries.


Physics Anonymous will Blow Your Mind!

Get up close and personal with the YouTube personalities behind Physics Anonymous. Mike and Ryan Wilhelm will set the tone and get you pumped as they inspire, entertain and engage in crazy antics and applications.  You may even have a chance to stump the guys as they try to demo YOUR group’s creation!

Go One on One with STEAM-based Companies

Dig in and ask questions of the brilliant minds behind DeltaMakers 3D printing and Mobilize Rescue Systems– just two of the STEAM-based companies that will be represented.

Listen in to A Pro Podcaster

Hang with Podcaster Nick Georgoudiou whose podcast “To A Certain Degree” spotlights entrepreneurs, coders, musicians, community builders, improv artists and more. You may even get a chance to chat with Nick as part of his show!

It’s “Universally” Epic!

Go behind the scenes as part of Universal’s Your Classroom in Motion: A STEAM App Series. Find out how science, technology, engineering, arts and math are the foundations of amazing rides like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™ and other popular park rides and attractions. You’ll even get to meet and chat with the LEAD engineer of Skull Island: Reign of Kong™ – Anisha Vyas. She and Jason Lieffers (Universal horticulturist) have agreed to be part of the excitement while sharing insight and secrets to bringing these and other crowd pleasers to life!

Now We’re Just Flexing

Check out the electric powered go-cart racing team as they show off their science and skills! Connect with your inner theatre buff while the staff at Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts share the many unique career opportunities available in entertainment.

Oh – and did I mention the 3-day Universal Orlando Resort™ ticket?!?!

In addition to these amazing highlights, you’ll be able to explore careers in 3D printing, robotics, forensics, engineering, horticultureautonomous vehiclesvisual arts and healthcare by interacting with experts in the fields. There’s so much to do and so much to learn. These are REAL WORLD experiences with REAL WORLD applications. It’s a completely comprehensive and unique event designed to encourage your connections with the brightest and best of the STEAM movement.


November 6-8, 2020


Middle and high school public, private or homeschool students interested in science, technology, engineering, arts or math are encouraged to participate in Journey into Steam. Homeschool students also have an exclusive opportunity to meet and network at a private dinner at the Hard Rock Café on the first night.


This is an epic journey into the future of STEAM careers. Don’t be left behind! Register at Animado Events or call 844-335-7994 for more information. The helpful staff at Animado will walk you through the process and answer all your questions. See you in November!