What should recruitment events look like?
In this article we'll explore three more actions you can take this week to prepare yourself to start recruiting new musicians this spring.
1. "Make your beginning music recruitment events more Instagram worthy! Start by giving the event itself a more hyped-up name or connective theme. In my area, there are schools that call the initial testing day 'Beginning Band Blast-Off' and schools that make the event Harry Potter themed and advertise that students will get 'sorted' into their respective instrument houses. Be creative and pick names or themes that resonate with your beginning students.
Also consider creating a hashtag for your recruitment event and include it in your social media posts advertising for the day. Bonus points if your hashtag is clever, funny, or involves your school’s name or mascot in an interesting way. During the event, make sure to take photos to create more content for your social media pages and use your hashtag to tag them.
Speaking of photos, consider creating a photo op at the event itself. Schools in Northeast Arkansas have been creating a space at their beginning events that have balloon arches or streamer backgrounds. They use these spaces to take photos of each student at the event with a sign that says 'Future [Insert School’s Name Here] Band / Orchestra Member.' These photos can be used across your program's social media sites or can be given to your future students or their parents to share on their personal pages. 'Like' or comment on all 'Future Band / Orchestra Member' posts you see and encourage your entire program to do the same. Let your new beginners feel like they are already a part of your program family.
Lastly, consider giving out door prizes, providing refreshments, or having high school or junior high students playing. Add anything to the event to make it feel special and make the future beginning students feel like they already belong in your fun, family-oriented program!"
2. "Plan a get together for your students — with or without performances. At the high school level, your student leaders can probably do this with a little guidance. At the middle school level, ask for parents to help. Be sure to think about food, games, and other activities as well as what kind of performances you'll feature (sectional work and / or full ensemble). It may also be fun to have students create section posters and have incoming students pair up with older students."
3. "As you recruit students for the start of the year, the aspect of personal communication cannot be overemphasized. Get on the phone and call parents. Let them know their child has great musical potential and that you have a special place for them in your program. Mass meetings and recruitment nights work for only a percentage of students and parents. Nothing takes the place of personal communication. Yes, you will get some rejections, but you will also pick up some valuable additions to your program.
Once your students have decided to join band or orchestra, put up a photo of every new student with their instrument on a bulletin board or video screen welcoming them to the program. Then create one blank space with the message: 'We still have a place for YOU!' Let the students who have joined know there is still room for their friends to join. The little efforts are the ones that yield the big results."
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.