Recruiting for band or orchestra program is an important part of being a music director. Have you thought that you may be making mistakes in the way you deliver the recruiting presentation to kids? While I have a few posts about how to prepare for a recruiting presentation and how to recruit more students, Here are some of my suggestions about the mistakes we don’t want to make.
What Not To Do When Recruiting
All band and orchestra teachers have similar ways of recruiting- we go to the feeder schools with our students to perform for them. We talk or send flyers to potential students and parents. We talk about the instruments and about our program to the interested students. HOWEVER, there are some things you can do in these recruiting sessions that can get you closer or further from the goal of recruiting many students in your program. These are some things you don’t want to do in your recruiting sessions:
Say all the right things with the wrong tone of voice!
Students are very intuitive. They always “feel” the energy of the teacher. They can tell if that teacher is excited about what they are doing. If you want them to be excited about your program, then you have to speak in an exciting voice. Move around the room, make eye contact, share your excitement about teaching music. Let students know that you are fun and supportive teacher.
Not engaging the students already in the program in recruiting!
The students who are already in your program will do the best recruiting for you. Besides having a presentation with the kids, see if you can create a situations where they can mingle around the potential students and talk to them about your band and orchestra program. It is always great if you can have the potential students try out and touch the different instrument. This will be more effective if your own students show them the instruments. You can also have your students talk in front of the potential students and tell them about the great experience they have in your band and orchestra program.
o add to that idea I do a few other small things. When I have flyers, I like having my students distribute them. If we are waiting for the younger students to come to the gym for an assembly, then I have a couple of my students greet them at the door. As one student is doing demonstration on an instrument, I like having another student walk around to show this same instrument to the students. See more detailed ideas here.
Not having students move and smile!
This applies when recruiting younger students for your band or orchestra programs. Again, young kids “feel” the energy of the teacher and the energy of a group of kids performing for them. When I do presentations in the elementary schools, I have my own students be more “theatrical”. They do silly things moving the scrolls in their violins, they produce funny sounds on their instruments, sometimes they say things like “Join orchestra” in the middle of the piece. Often I have them play a piece and get the audience to clap while we are playing. I make sure I pick pieces where my students can be free to move, do different things, and show that they are having fun when playing.
Talk to students as if you talk to adults!
This is a big one when recruiting successfully for your band or orchestra program!!! I have seen this many times with teachers recruit and I have observed the energy level of the students drop. There are different things you would say to students and parents to encourage them to join your program. When you talk to parents, do tell them about the wonderful opportunities, about the practice and discipline through music, about research showing that music helps children in all areas in life. HOWEVER, leave this out when you talk to kids about it! They need to hear that they will have fun, that their teacher will care about them, that they will meet friends in your band or orchestra program, that they would go to festivals and trips, that they will play exciting music relevant to them (movies, etc)
When recruiting, no negative messages!
Leave the discipline talk out! Yes it is important, but they would learn the classroom when they get to your class, not when they are considering it.
Most of all…have fun when recruiting! Students pick up on that!
Make Sure You Also Check Posts:
How to Prepare for a Recruiting Session
Four Tricks To Recruit Even More Students Into Your Music Program
Are you having trouble with your recruiting or do you need somebody to “run your script by”? This is why this blog was created. Do not hesitate to drop me a note. Feel free to leave me a comment or contact me directly!
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Do you have many students in your program? Share your experiences in the comments!