Let's get ready to recruit new musicians!
In this article we'll explore three steps you can take this week to prepare yourself to start recruiting new musicians this spring.
1. Consider asking your students to make new videos that share their favorite things about music and being in your program.
Here are some good starter questions:
Why did you select your instrument?
What's your favorite piece of music to play?
What do you like about your instrument?
What is your favorite part about being in music?
Also, invite the directors in the schools your students feed into to visit and introduce themselves. Making these connections early will help students feel welcomed and a part of their new school community early on.
2. Schedule a school assembly at your feeder schools with music that the students will recognize and get excited about hearing.
Prior to the final selection, turn to the student audience and ask, “Who would like to conduct the band?” Watch as the majority of hands shoot up into the air. Choose a student and hand them the baton. Plan to have your band play a short march and prepare them to respond to whatever gestures might appear.
Since it’s a march, all the “conductor” needs to do is drop their hand to get things started. When the piece is over, be sure the “conductor” receives a rousing round of applause — particularly from your band students. Every elementary student who watches this will wish that they had been chosen to conduct. Use this to your advantage to generate enthusiasm.
3. Testimonials are an effective way to reinforce the importance of music education.
This kind of social proof lets students and their parents hear firsthand how music is beneficial and why it's worthwhile. To boost your recruiting efforts, solicit testimonials from current and former students and parents about their band or orchestra experiences, and ask them to talk about the benefits of being a part of your program. Get permission to include their quote (and a picture, if possible) in an upcoming letter to future students.
Next, write a message to the parents of incoming students about why their child should join your music program. Include a specific call to action inviting them to attend an upcoming concert or to meet with you directly. Be sure to add the testimonials you collected, and personalize your message with a mail-merge program. Consider sending a series of follow-up messages to parents who do not respond right away.
Want some one on one guidance with your recruitment efforts?
These recruitment tips are written by various authors and are compiled from "More to Start, Fewer to Quit" a recruitment, retention, and success newsletter brought to you by The Music Achievement Council and Instrumental Music Center.