Post-Pandemic Planning Guide Vol. 4: Recruiting for Fall 2021
By Alfred Music Official | March 10, 2021
This article is shared with permission from the National Association of School Music Dealers, Inc. (NASMD)
Welcome back to your Post-Pandemic Planning Guide to bring back music to your school. Your program may have paid a toll this past year, but we’ve got your back and are going to walk beside you, step-by-step, in bringing back the music!
This week, we’re focused on recruiting! With spring here, we must have a productive recruiting season to ensure our program is full and vibrant next fall.
In-Person Recruiting Ideas
If you are presently enrolled in in-person learning, here are some great recruiting ideas that we have borrowed from fellow educators.
- "Blitz Week" - Pick a week to do a recruiting “blitz” at your feeder programs or elementary school. Hang posters up around the school. Order campaign-style yard signs and place them in the carpool drive-through for parents to read. Welcome students as they are coming in and out of the cafeteria at lunch with a small ensemble performance. Submit a morning announcement or create a video to be played during the school’s morning broadcast. Scheduling a specific “blitz week” can be an effective way to reach incoming students.
- Drive-thru Instrument Safari - Take a page out of Jacob Campos’s book and set up a date for parents to do a drive-thru instrument safari. Arrange your high school sections throughout your school parking lot and provide a safari path for parents to drive through with their child and listen to each section. Each section can pick a fun song to play that features their respective section. Students can vote on their favorite instruments and directors can speak with each family after they have completed the safari - all while socially distanced and outside.
Virtual Recruiting Ideas
Teaching virtually doesn’t mean your recruiting efforts will be any less effective as in previous years. Here are some ideas that will ensure next year’s class is as full as ever!
- Be an Online Guest Artist - Schedule a time to digitally visit your feeder programs to act as a guest teacher or artist for the day. You can do brief videos or demonstrations of each instrument and talk to them about joining the band or orchestra.
- Utilize Student Videos - Student videos are a great way to recruit future members. Ask students to submit brief videos explaining why they joined the band or orchestra and what they enjoy the most. You can keep it simple or get creative.
- Drop in a Cameo - The website www.cameo.com allows you to create a personalized video featuring television, music, and movie stars. Here is a recruiting video Siegel Middle School created featuring Rick from the show Pawn Stars.
Hybrid and Blended-Learning Recruiting Ideas
Many teachers are teaching both online and in-person. Here are some recruiting ideas that translate to both in-person and online learning.
- Social Media Takeover - Coordinate with your school to do a social media takeover. This can be a great way to live-stream videos from inside your program. Feature your students, programs, accomplishments, and why students should join the band or orchestra. Many parents follow the social media accounts of their child’s school and this can be a great way to reach these parents.
- Slideshow Presentation - Create a simple and fun slideshow that can be shown in-person or online. Schedule a time to speak with students, either in their homerooms, in a school assembly, during their music class, or digitally. A slide show can be a great way to get students excited about joining your program, with features of your current students and to highlight accomplishments. You can also take the opportunity to address some of the FAQs that you get, such as can students participate in music and another school activity or club? Here is an example.
- Phone Calls - While an “old school” approach, phone calls remain one of the most effective means of recruiting students. Calling parents individually allows you to individually speak with parents, share your excitement about the program, and uncover any concerns. Most frequently, parents want their child to be in the band or orchestra but may have a misunderstanding about the conflicts or other commitments that might prevent them from enrolling their child. Here is a list of FAQs you might receive from parents and a phone script to kick off the conversation.
- Parks and Rec Programming - A summer parks and rec program is a great way to reach a wide audience and expose students to the joys of playing music. Many of these programs are being scheduled now so that registration can occur later in the spring. Here is more information.
Don’t Forget to Check In
By now, we should be aligned with our building principal and counselor about our plans for next year. If not, a scheduled conversation can help bring everyone up to speed. But it’s important that you check-in regularly. Schedules and decisions can change, so you must be aware of any conversations that could impact your program. A casual conversation to confirm everyone is on the same page ensures there are no surprises later.
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