Engage your current beginning students in the recruitment of next year’s beginning students. Make each beginner a rock star by designing a Sign Up for Band / Choir / Orchestra / Guitar / Mariachi, etc., digital poster that features a photo of each of your beginning students. Ask them to give a short statement saying why students should sign up for the program. Print copies and post them in prominent locations within the schools where the students attended formerly.
RETENTION TIPS (FOR BEGINNING STUDENTS)
Did you know that up to 60% of students quit after their first year playing in an ensemble? Engaging the parents can make all the difference so it’s important that we bring them into the loop to help students complete a successful first year so that they continue for many more to come. Encourage them to take the 15-minute New Music Parent Course made available by NFHS (National Federation of High School Associations).
Also, consider having your beginning students teach their instrument to one of their parents so that they can perform in a Parent Band in the final concert of the year. We all know that when you teach, you also learn, so use this to your advantage. End the year on a high note with students and parents participating in this fun activity by playing 2-3 tunes from the method book. You might also provide a “Sign up for Intermediate Band” form for parents to sign at the concert to ensure that the students continue into the next year’s program.
Engage your school counselors now! Visit with them to determine the best way to ensure that the students who want to participate during the 2023-24 school year are indeed enrolled. Do they want a list of names and student numbers? Would they prefer some sort of signed document from the parents? Although it’s important to recruit and retain year-round, now is the time to ensure that you and your counselors agree on the enrollment process so that no students fall through the cracks.
Wishing you and your students a wonderful spring semester!
Marcia M. Neel
Music Education Consultants, Inc.
Senior Director of Education
Yamaha Corporation of America