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- April 27, 2012 at 8:03 am #314470
Archive UserMemberAfter 18 years as a music educator, I am running into a new challenge. My new position requires me to “market” my choral class with an unfamiliar support system. It is an Independent school, so marketing the school in general is a priority. The focus here is sports and being a smaller school, it does take a priority. Usually, I have the support of a guidance counselor when it comes to scheduling students from to year, but students self schedule, even at the MIddle School level. My numbers are acceptable for a small school, but I am constantly pushed to market the class in both Middle and High School. Also, electives (like Chorus, Art, Band) are competing with the ever popular “study hall” as well as core classes. Any suggestions?May 1, 2012 at 9:09 am #314812
Bruce RockwellParticipantJack’s suggestions are excellent. I’ll add a few:
• Vow to never again market your performances with a sloppy, cheap, photocopied flyer. If you don’t have the skill, put feelers out for any parents with graphic design skills, and make sure all of your concerts are promoted by a professional-quality postcard and poster (with digital printing they’re very cheap these days). If you can sell a few posters at the concert that could pay for the entire thing. Keep a mailing list of all present and former choir members and their families, prominent local politicians, school board members, the superintendent, officers of local service organizations (Rotary, Soroptimist, Kiwanis, etc), local businesses that might support your choir, etc.• Sign up now for a service like Constant Contact to manage your email blasts and make them look professional. They are free or very cheap for small non-profits.• Your choir leadership council should include something like a “hospitality VP.” One of the jobs of this person should be to put together thank-you cards (signed by all choir members) for anybody who helps your program out – foundations that have given you a grant, clinicians who have come in, businesses that have donated or let you use their parking lot for a car wash, administration that have helped you in some way, etc. It can really help to build word of mouth that your choir is classy and thoughtful.• If you haven’t already, compile a media list (local papers, radio stations that play PSAs, and local online calendar listings). Make sure you use every free opportunity to publicize your events.• Find as many ways to make your guys look cool, especially when performing in front of the rest of the school – give them some cool doo-wop or Motown repertoire where they can put on jackets and sunglasses and look like rock stars.• Ask your current choir members if they know anybody going to the school next year who would be a good candidate for joining choir. Follow up on these leads with letters and phone calls to parents, etc., explaining the many benefits of music education (higher test scores, lower lifetime drug abuse, higher rates of civic involvement, etc. – if you don’t have at least half a dozen of these statistics ready to roll off your tongue, go find them now!).• If you have a freshmen orientation or walk-through in the fall, get a booth with some recruitment materials and get some of the outgoing choir members (the cute girls always help!) to be there to help recruit new members.• Talk to your freshmen high school football coaches about starting a tradition where they bring the boys into your choir room and you teach them the school fight song and alma mater. Make it a fun experience, and get your best singers in there to sing it all in four part harmony to really impress these boys how cool it is to sing in harmony, and that they can do it. Try to recruit as many boy athletes as you possibly can.• Decide on a really fun, appealing trip right now for next year, and make sure word of mouth gets around about it. Don’t be ashamed of using a Disneyland trip to recruit.• Most schools have a “welcome back” rally of some sort. Get your choir to sing the national anthem for it, and use it as an opportunity to teach the fight song and alma mater to the entire student body. These sorts of collegiate singing traditions really can make a huge difference on the entire culture of the student body.• Don’t neglect singing for all of the elementary schools. This will help your middle school feeder programs, which will help you down the line.
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