Orchestras and other ensembles need a little PR to thrive. March is Music In Our Schools Month. Here are some ideas and MENC resources to help you enhance your program:
- Remember that every public contact is an advocacy opportunity. Katie LaBrie promotes her string programs at every concert, carwash, and fundraising event. She makes sure signs are available to tell passersby what the event is all about.
- Get your students to help you. Solicit and reward ideas that promote your program. The student who sells holiday greens or baked goods not only to orchestra families but to families of former orchestra members should get special recognition for thinking up the idea.
- Enlist parents and other members of your community. A booster club is helpful, but think beyond that circle to local businesses and nonprofits, as well as governmental organizations in your area. How might they assist?
- Ask others for help. Ask for volunteers for simple tasks like setting up chairs in the gym after school for a special recital to get other students connected to and aware of some of the music program’s special contributions. Ask your principal for suggestions to improve specific aspects of your program—he or she might surprise you with ideas.
- Check out these MENC resources:
Advocacy Central (Links to many advocacy materials)
MENC member Katie Labrie is the orchestra director at Haycock Elementary School in Falls Church and McLean High School in McLean, Virginia.
–Ella Wilcox, February 15, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (www.nafme.org)