Building a HS Instrumental Program from Scratch IV

Communicating with Parents and the Community

“The most important part of successful recruiting is communication,” says Ron Kearns, MENC Jazz Mentor* for March 2009. His principal means for spreading the gospel? A monthly newsletter.

“I highlighted our achievements and outlined my vision for the program,” continues Kearns. “The newsletter became my best way of getting the word out about individual student achievements and our group’s accomplishments. They were also distributed to the middle school feeders so that incoming students knew what we were trying to do. A lot of parents were glad to have this resource to share their child’s accomplishments with neighbors and friends. In my last few years, our web page carried back issues of the newsletter. The high school is still the centerpiece of most communities, so it’s important that you present your program as an important part of your school. I also discovered that a lot of my kids wrote for the school newspaper, so I had them get the paper to start a special section to cover the fine arts, especially instrumental music.”

Get the word out any way you can. You know you have a good program. Don’t keep it a secret!

Excerpted from “Building a High School Instrumental Program from Scratch” by Ron Kearns, originally published in Fall 2006 Maryland Music Educator

*Got a question about jazz or teaching jazz? Then march on over to the Jazz forum to post it, and take advantage of this exciting benefit made available exclusively to MENC members.

Ron Kearns is a composer, leader of his own group, the Ron Kearns Quintet, an adjudicator and clinician for Vandoren of Paris and Heritage Festivals. He also taught instrumental music and jazz in the Baltimore City and Montgomery County school systems for 30 years.

—Nick Webb, May 14, 2009, © National Association for Music Education