A feeder program will keep music strong in your community and help to stave off problems like budget cuts, recruitment, retention, and weak programming. Here are a few ideas for establishing and strengthening your feeder program.
Meet Your Neighbors
Reach out to the music teachers who teach in your community. If you’re teaching Middle, meet with the Elementary and High School teachers in your area. Create an action plan for how students will progress through music education throughout their school careers.
Develop a newsletter that goes to every music student and parent (and bulletin board) in the K-12 schools in your area. The newsletter will underscore the continuity of the music programs and help people envision how students progress as music learners.
Cross Pollinating Concerts
Kids love to play concerts…the bigger the better! Put together a concert that involves Elementary, Middle School, and High School ensembles and players. You will have three times the audience! Parents of the older kids will reminisce, parents of the younger kids will see what’s coming down the road.
The College Connection
See if you can get your local college orchestra to play a concert at your school. Ask if the college conductor can visit and work with your students. And, ask them for support! Colleges need students too, so they will have an interest in a robust music feeder system.
Camps Are Your Friends Too!
When school’s out for summer, kids have to do something. Investigate your local band camps, rock camps, girls rock camp, and other arts camps. Let the camps know what you have been teaching your students, learn about their offerings, and, if you really like the camp, tell your students and their parents to investigate it.