Recruit More Students at the Beginning and During the School Year
In the previous post we talked about recruiting students for your band or orchestra program and especially what not to do when you go to the elementary schools to recruit. Here are some pointers that you can use when you want to get these couple of extra students into your music program without taking trips to other schools. These tricks you can use if you want to recruit more students from the school once the school year has started as opposed to recruiting from the feeder programs.
1. Tell your own students.
The best recruiting for my music program has been when I have had my own students engaged. I talk to them about the importance of having a balanced ensemble, that it is more fun to play with more people, etc. At the end of the discussion, I tell them specifically what I need them to do. For example, there might be a couple of potential viola players that they would find among their friends.
2. Doughnut day…yes!!! That’s right!
During the week of registration for the next school year I have hosted a doughut day for my music program. I have each of my students come to the music room during lunch and bring a friend. They get to show their friend the musical instruments and they both get a doughnut on the way out.
3. Have concerts and assemblies during the school day!
Concerts after school are not enough to reach the school community. Your music program will need to have presence during the school day for all students at the school to find out about your program and what music has to offer. Having your music program be a part of school essemblies and events is always a great way to do that. Scheduling concerts and presentations as assemblies during the school day would also help. Some examples might be having your kids performing the Star-Spangled Banner at the school graduation ceremony, inviting local groups to perform at the school, concerts with a different theme that reach the school community. For example, we have done a series of anti-bullying concerts that were quite successful. We have also invited a group form the local youth symphony to present to the whole school.
You will need to schedule these in advance. Depending on the school, this could be time consuming and it takes some planning. But you can raise a lot of awareness about your program and have the other kids in the school want to join your music program.
See if you can schedule one at the beginning of the year and one right when registration for your school happens in the Spring. This is where you will get the most result.
Inviting other classes for a short music presentation during the school day can be a great way to bridge the gap between your music program and the regular ed teachers. Preparing a recruiting session in this format could lead to a many new students either for this school year, or students who may want to join from the next school year. This could be difficult as some core studies teachers are protective of their time. Yet, as you get to know the teachers at your school you would find out if some of them have easier days on Fridays, if others are in between units after testing, etc. Think about it as a way to “take the load off” another teacher and invite their students to your classroom for a presentation. Again, this will help your program get noticed by the larger school community.
Is there something that I have missed? Then please include it in the comments!Wishing you a growing and thriving program!