Monday, April 25, 2016

Tips For Closing Out the School Year
by Josh Garoutte

As the school year closes out, there are many ways to use the time after spring concert and before the end of school to help your program. These tend to organize into three general areas, so I've listed a few ideas for each that will hopefully help you close out the year smoothly.

Recruiting students

Ensuring the future of your program begins with next year's beginners, so it makes sense to take some time with those young students.

Performances by bands: Bringing your concert band, jazz band, pep bands, or other groups to the younger students to expose them to the fun and excitement associated with band is a great way to kick off your recruitment drive.

Testing and scheduling: This can be a great second stage of recruiting, following the performances by your groups. Many directors will schedule a performance in the morning, followed by testing all students in next year's beginning class in the afternoon. The testing process (especially when testing all potential students) can dramatically help boost numbers for next year's beginners, especially when it is infused with fun, enthusiastic activities centered around the kids.

Social media blasts and YouTube videos: Keeping in contact with kids using social media, whether simply giving information, showing fun videos of instruments, or providing a place for kids to ask questions, can go a long way to keeping kids feeling engaged and involved in the program.

Retaining students

Announce show/work on music/get outside: Working to get students excited about the upcoming marching program through announcement of the show concept, beginning work on the music, and simply getting outside in the wonderful spring weather to start going over marching and outside playing fundamentals can help re-energize the kids.

BBQ/ice cream socials/trips: Many programs will close out the year with an amusement park trip, but simply having a cookout or ice cream social (or both!) can solidify relationships between members and staff until summer camps begin.

Summer Camps/Work days/Summer school band: Although not technically part of the school year, the work accomplished during camps, leadership work days, and summer band time will begin to bring the kids together as a cohesive group.

Administrative tasks

Close out books/Inventory: Make sure that your program financial situation, whether through the school or the boosters, is squared away in order to take another item off your to-do list. The same concept applies to inventory-the earlier you can get it completed, the earlier you can move onto other areas.

Finish show: This seems like a no-brainer, but a friendly reminder that having your show completed (knowing that some things will change) can help you relax over the summer when you actually have time off.

Finish/Release schedule for summer/fall: Another no-brainer here, but making sure you have your schedule clearly lined out to the kids (and the administration!!) can be a great help if conflicts arise later.

Jazz band /concert band/next year planning: If you have time, it is always a great idea to be looking forward to the future. Whether that entails listening to next year's potential tunes, getting gigs set up for your jazz groups and concert groups, or simply making sure your concert dates are on the school calendar, a little planning now can save a headache or two later.

I hope you a great end of the year and a stress-free summer!

Josh Garoutte
Palen Music Center -- Springfield
[email protected]

A native of southwest Missouri, Josh Garoutte attended Missouri State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Educational Administration degrees in 2006 and 2014 respectively. Mr. Garoutte taught in Missouri public schools for 8 years, the last 7 of which were with Spokane R-VII Schools, where he was responsible for all aspects of instrumental music as Director of Bands and also served as the District A+ Program Coordinator. In his time teaching, Josh was honored to be a faculty member of two Missouri Gold Star Schools, a U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School, and has served as an adjudicator, clinician, arranger, private lesson instructor, and drill writer for bands in the area. His professional association affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, Missouri Bandmasters Association, National Education Association, Missouri State Teachers Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity. Josh currently resides in Ozark, MO with his wife Ashley and their son, Rhys.

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