The Printed Program


Outstanding concerts reflect attention to not only the musical details but also careful attention to how the program is presented. The printed program is the concrete object-in-hand that speaks volumes for your artistic sense and your ability to care for the details. A hastily thrown-together, error-filled program creates a first impression that can override what follows on the stage.


Necessary information will include accurate listings of the music and composers, arrangers, soloists, participants, name of the school and group, time, date, and place of concert. Program notes can be included on the program or on a separate sheet, with first being preferred (separate sheets can create noise, a mess, or in the worse case scenario flying planes!

Word processing enables you to provide camera-ready copy which can considerably reduce expense. Proof all printed material carefully. It is wise to have as many eyes proofing the copy as possible.


Layout and Design

How the program looks overall will require some care as you begin preliminary planning. Experiment with different folds and layout with paper, using an easily erased pencil. Actual construction once you have an idea in mind can be facilitated with word processing and scanners. Be careful when using materials that may be copyrighted.

Clean and functional design has been in vogue for some time. Donít be afraid of open or white space. If there is an art teacher or a particularly talented student you can work with at your school you may wish to involve him or her in the process.

How you fold the program provides a variety of possibilities for design and use of colored inks. Additionally, your choice of paper is important. Weight (expressed in lbs.), finish (matte, gloss, textured), and color. You should be aware that paper has a grain and folds better depending on how that runs. Experiment with the folds before you print your program.

If you need a small quantity of programs (100 or less) and are going to print them using a laser or ink jet printer or copier, office supply stores provide a number of choices in paper. Another source to check for paper is a print shop which will many times have attractive remnants left over from printing jobs.

A cover stock in gloss finish works best if illustrations or photographs are used. Also, some cover stock, known as duplex, is available with differing finishes and/orcolors on either side. These can be used with good effect, but usually are only available in stock too heavy to run through a printer. A print shop usually has samples.



Check with your printer on price breaks for differing quantities. Usually there is a minimum quantity beyond which additional copies are almost free. Better to have a few extra programs than not enough.



Keep an idea file where you can place printed programs you have used previously or collected from concerts you have attended, and designs and cutouts from professional and other magazines. This can be located in a Working File kept at your desk. Click here for Working File suggestions.