This month's MSFQ tips come from Dr. Charles T. Menghini, President Emeritus, VanderCook College of Music, and Co-Author of Essential Elements Band Method.
Now that recruitment season is over, take a few minutes to reflect on your recruitment efforts. Make a list of the actions that had the greatest impact and a list of things you could do to improve next year’s recruitment process. You may also want to consult with your administrator to see if they received any feedback from parents, students, classroom teachers, or staff. Finally, spend some time with your local music dealer or school representative to review this year’s recruitment efforts.
Develop a list of all your music students, and include student name, parent / guardian name(s), instrument, email, and phone number. Send an email or make a quick phone call to their parent(s) / guardian(s) to (re)introduce yourself and let them know how pleased you are to have their child in your class. Try to point out one “bright spot” for every student: hard worker, energetic, intelligent, pays attention, works well with other students, has really caught on to playing, or is showing great improvement. Communicating early and often with the families of your students keeps them involved and interested, resulting in their child continuing to participate in your program.
Create an “Honorary Director” and “Honorary Member” certificate for your program. When someone does something special for your program, have a student present them with the certificate. Purchase small (inexpensive) frames to really make it special. This is a great way to recognize the efforts of your principal, a parent who has helped, someone from the community, or anyone you feel has had a significant impact on your program. Be sure to present one or two at every concert and performance. Everyone loves a little recognition and everyone loves to be special, and this little token of appreciation will go a long way to developing positive, long-lasting relationships.
Wishing you and your students a wonderful fall season!
Dr. Charles T. Menghini
President Emeritus, VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, IL
Co-Author, Essential Elements Band Method, Hal Leonard LLC
Educational Member, Music Achievement Council, NAMM
Host, Band Talk with Charlie Menghini and Friends