Re: Creating private lesson culture
Posted by What we're doing on 10/10/2018, 8:58 am, in reply to "Creating private lesson culture"
We're doing the same thing here. |
There has always been the approach from previous directors that "this community just won't buy in" to band or private lessons. That was just the accepted answer.
We stopped assuming that was going to be the answer. I made a "target audience" of Freshmen and Sophomores at the high school. I also specifically spoke with a handful of students I feel are already good, but could be great very easily. We now have a full lesson staff, and I may need to hire another clarinet or saxophone teacher soon. The parent sell is of course, money for college. Your child doesn't have to major in music, but there is money on the table for playing in the band. If they audition well into higher tier ensembles, there may be even -more- money for band.
The theory is next year, many of the incoming freshmen will wonder how those kids got so good, and we begin our private lesson talk again.
How do/did you create the culture of students taking private lessons?
I took over a small school program that was very successful a long time ago, but had a string of bad scores and several one-and-done band directors. This is my 4th year here. I'm still working on building the culture of high expectations. Before I came in, the band scored 3s and 4s. I've built that up to 2s and 1s, still pushing for that Sweepstakes. Getting more kids in lessons would help. In my previous gig, I was assistant to a big, established program, and 90% of the students took lessons. Parents would climb over each other to secure the best time slot.
We are about 45 minutes from a major university music school. Access to qualified teachers is not the problem. I can't keep them, because they don't have enough of a studio. The only ones who have stuck around are teaching multiple instruments, which is not ideal but is better than nothing.
Most of my families are upper-middle-class or above. I have scholarship money available for those who can't afford it. Money isn't the problem.
Teachers can pull kids from band class, or teach before or after school. Scheduling isn't the problem.
I promote lessons at concerts and parent meetings, and via email and sometimes phone. Any time students accomplish something big (All-Region, S&E, etc) I make a point to mention that they take lessons. Of course students in lessons generally are doing better than students not in lessons.
I (re?)started a lesson program 3 years ago. Prior to that, there had been no lessons for as long as my seniors could remember. Maybe longer. Of my 75 students, I have 8 taking lessons.
What's the missing piece of the puzzle here? How to I create the culture that lessons are just another part of being in band?