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More to Start Fewer to Quit - Issue 10

more to start fewer to quit recruiting and retention ideas & tips for music educators

This month's MSFQ tips come from Dr. Angela Ammerman, author of The Music Teacher's Guide to Engaging English Language Learners, President of the Virginia String Teachers Association, and Adjunct Professor of Music Education at George Mason University.

RECRUITMENT TIPS Did you know that right now, today, this very moment, is the perfect time to recruit students into your program?! Actually, the reality is that every day is a perfect day to recruit students. This month, take some time to think about which students you can recruit into your program. Here are a few potential students to consider:

  • That one kid who is hanging around your room ALL THE TIME but they aren’t yet enrolled in your program. This is the kid who will definitely be joining and will never leave!

  • The best friend of any of your students! How much fun will they have if they are in the group with their bestie?

  • Transfer students! Reach out to your guidance counselor today to see if there are students who might benefit from being in your program).


Just like recruitment, retention happens every day! This month, work to make sure every single musician knows that they are valued and appreciated. Consider doing the following:

  • Create a few new awards for end-of-year awards banquets. (Awards are a great way to let our students know they are valued!)

  • Bring coaches and club sponsors in as special guests to “conduct” a mini rehearsal. The best coaches to invite are the ones who work with your students — you could even invite them to conduct a piece on a concert. This is a great way to build a strong sense of loyalty to your students who are involved in multiple activities.

  • Bust out some posterboard and draw a gigantic thermometer with the number of students in your program (except for students who are graduating). Ask each student to commit to your program for next year. As they do, fill that thermometer up! You can even offer some kind of a class reward for ensembles who fill their thermometer completely.

SUCCESS TIPS Spend time this month empowering your students — you might be amazed at how much your students can and want to do for your program. Consider adding leadership positions to your student board(s), and perhaps organize some kind of leadership training event. The more we empower our students, the more power they bring to the program!

Happy Teaching! Angela Ammerman, PhD Author, The Music Teacher's Guide to Engaging English Language Learners President, Virginia String Teachers Association Adjunct Professor of Music Education, George Mason University

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