Looking for a way to bring some innovative cheer to your holiday-themed musical lineup? Why not plan and choreograph a holiday flash mob?
This can be a fun change if you want to ditch the typical holiday concert series and a way to inspire new practice and performance styles for your students. Flash mobs are enjoyable for everyone who participate – as well as the audience – bringing a little of the extraordinary into the ordinary, day-to-day routine.
Flash Mob Planning 101
There’s another reason students get excited about flash mobs – they get to be indoors, out of the cold winter weather – and there’s no required concert dress. From the school’s standpoint, executing a successful and impressive flash mob is great for publicity, not to mention boosting awareness around your music program.
There are a handful of tried-and-true best practices for creating flash mobs, which include:
- Picking the right public space. The goal is to choose a place that always has a crowd, so the addition of teenagers in small groups, individuals, and pairs don’t appear obviously out of place. Malls are generally a good option, particularly on the weekends. Costco or Sam’s Club could be an atypical but effective choice as well. If “the weather outside is[n’t] frightful,” a popular town square or plaza is another choice flash mob venue. You can “dress rehearse” by flash mobbing the school quad or cafeteria at lunchtime to work out potential kinks.
- Getting approval from security/management. It would be nice to think your flash mob is welcome to bust a tune (and some moves) anywhere, anytime. However, erring on the safe side by getting permission ahead of time from management and/or security protects you from potentially embarrassing flash mob shutdowns or reprimands.
- Choose a fun, cheerful, and energetic song. Creating a welcome, surprising break from the norm and spreading a bit of cheer is the aim of any flash mob. However, if you can get people up and busting a dance move or two, that’s even better. If you opt for a weekday rush hour at a train or subway station, your appropriate song choice(s) will spread invaluable cheer.
- Make it a Surprise. This is probably the most difficult part of the flash mob concept, particularly if you’re working with younger- or middle school-aged students. The flash mob only works if you’re all able to keep it a secret, and look natural when coming into the location. Spend time explaining why nobody can know, or sense, something’s about to happen. A single, verbal “slip” can ruin the entire experience.
- Throw in some dance moves. While a musician-based flash mob doesn’t need elaborate choreography, throwing in a few turns or dance moves here and there is more inspiring for the crowd. If your school orchestra doesn’t have any dancers or natural entertainers in the group, pair up with the marching band or the school’s dance team and make it a combined effort.
- Make sure someone films the whole thing. While random video captures from the crowd (or parents) are fun, make sure to have a designated “videographer” who can capture the entire sequence from a well-appointed vantage point. Better yet, work with a group of parent or student videographers that can catch the mob from a variety of vantage points. Your techie students will love the opportunity to edit the combined footage into a continuous video once everyone’s submitted their videos. If you plan to post the final product online, visit Posting Performance Recordings Online Without Violating Copyright Laws to make sure you’re in compliance.
Getting inspired? How could you not? Read our post outlining more steps to creating a musical flash mob to continue planning.
Unseen Benefits of a Holiday Flash Mob
There are multiple, unseen benefits of a holiday flash mob, including:
- Inspiring students who find traditional playing formats “boring”
- Freeing up the body to move more as they play (something a seated concert doesn’t typically allow).
- Instilling performance confidence
- Getting students to work in a team format
- Experiencing the pride of a fun job, well-done
Are you planning to create a holiday flash mob in your community? The StringOvation team would love to see the fruits of your labors. Share your videos with our social media followers, so we can “like” them and share the joy.
Top image: First International Jazz Day, April 30th, 2012 - Flash mob of Cologne Jazz Musicians in front of the Cathedral of Cologne By Annamarie Ursula - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons