Recruitment and Retention Tips

Dr. Charles T. Menghini • June 2023MAC CornerMAC Corner • June 11, 2023

As soon as school is out for the summer, use this 10-step approach to having your best recruitment year yet.

1. If not already done, meet with your administrator and set the dates for the 2023-24 recruitment season.

2. Contact your music dealer and inform them of your dates and discuss ways they can assist you in the recruitment process.

3. Ask a few parents to write a “testimonial” on the positive impact playing music has had on their child.

4. Get the names and addresses of the parents of all the members of next year’s recruitment class.

5. Write a personal letter to each family. Include how excited you are about the potential of having their child participate in your program, a testimonial or two from the parents (see 3 above) and the dates of your recruitment season. Write a personal,  hand-written note at the bottom of each letter and mail them.

6. Send a reminder letter with another testimonial about a month before school begins.

7. Write and send a press release to local media announcing ensemble recruitment dates and the process parents need to follow to get their students to sign up. Include another testimonial in the press release. Make sure your list includes newspapers, shoppers, radio, television as well as social media forums. This may also allow you to reach any families who are new to your school district.

8. If you want to really be successful, call each parent over the summer to introduce yourself and let them know how interested you are in having their child join your program.

9. Finalize all the necessary logistics: facilities, set-up, support documents, refreshments, volunteers (ask parents of students who are in your program to be available to talk to other parents), arrange for high school musicians in performance attire, invite and inform middle and high school directors and confirm the dates with your music dealer.

10. Sign them up!


Start each class session with music playing when students enter the rehearsal space. Make your playlist varied so all the instruments/voices are featured. Once class is ready to go, tell them a little about what they were listening to, and play another 30 seconds. Then, let them know with a big smile how much you enjoyed that piece.
Wishing you and your students a wonderful summer break!

Dr. Charles T. Menghini is president emeritus, VanderCook College of Music, and co-author of Essential Elements Band Method

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