This month's MSFQ tips come from Senior Director of Education at Yamaha and president of Music Education Consultants, Inc. Marcia Neel.
RECRUITMENT TIPS Engage with the music educators whose students are potential participants in your program. Make plans now to attend the holiday concert of each school that will eventually send students to your school and make yourself visible. Offer to assist them as necessary.
Greet parents and introduce yourself
Provide opening or closing comments, narrations for the program
Write a note for the printed program
Provide a short, motivating message to the students prior to the program
The time invested NOW will make a BIG DIFFERENCE in your future recruitment endeavors. Also, ask the elementary / middle school music educators if they have an advanced student or group that would like to perform on your upcoming program. These are the students you would want in your program in the next year or two. Their parents will really go for this! RETENTION TIPS Involve current students in recruitment activities. Ask the elementary / middle school music educators whose students are potential participants in your program how your current students might also be able to assist in their upcoming concerts. Provide leadership acknowledgement to those who choose to do so. Students who are actively engaged in your program will REMAIN in your program, and having them involved in recruitment activities provides buy-in on their part and positive modeling for future students. SUCCESS TIPS January is right around the corner. Make plans now to pump up your student leadership program in January. Plan a December meeting with your leaders and have them come up with plans for the 2nd semester. Have them think through activities that will bring the ensemble closer together and promote a positive culture for music-making. The leaders should come up with their own ideas but here are a couple to get you started. Plan a Valentine’s Day luncheon for your school staff to celebrate them and let them know how much they are appreciated. Spaghetti and meatballs is a tasty option and the students could provide performances to enhance the event. A local Italian restaurant might even provide special pricing. The key is to have the students plan the entire event with a little nudge from you. Appropriate invitations, decorations and tablecloths would really amp up the celebration. Also, consider having your leaders plan one or two service events. Ideas might include organizing a food drive, serving meals at a local shelter, visiting / performing for a senior center, or serving at a local hospital in the pediatric department. These activities will each go a long way to help students understand that service to others is a key component of life. It will also help to build camaraderie among your ensemble in new ways beyond the classroom.
Enjoy the rest of 2022 — the new year will be here before we know it! Sincerely, Marcia M. Neel President Music Education Consultants, Inc. Senior Director of Education Yamaha Corporation of America