Identifying your audience - the students who will receive the arts instruction - may seem like a simple idea, but your audience may be more complex than you realize. Though you may have defined the group you will serve in general terms there may be dynamics about the specific group you intend to serve that set them apart from others in the general category.
For example, consider a group of teenagers from an ethnic minority group. It's possible the students could also be considered as underserved, at-risk, financially challenged, or any combination of characteristics. It's also possible they might fit none of these sub-categories.
Perhaps your students are underserved, but not at-risk. Or perhaps they are at-risk and you need to consider the reason for this. Perhaps your students are at risk because they are homeless or because they are chronically absent from school. Maybe they don't perform well academically.
Identifying specific qualities of your target audience may be helpful in addressing the needs of your students. This understanding will be helpful in selecting an appropriate artist, designing effective learning activities and planning the mode of delivery for the instruction.
Questions to consider when identifying your audience:
In general, how would I describe the group of students the program will serve?
Can my target audience be considered underserved (lack of access to the arts), at-risk, physically or developmentally challenged, etc.? If so, why?
Do the students my program will serve come primarily from rural or urban settings?
What is the ethnic/cultural make up of my students? Is it particularly important for ethnic and cultural connections to be made? Why?
What is the general knowledge, skill and ability level of my target audience?
What is the setting for the project? Will the project support the curricular needs of a school program?