Butts in Seats

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New 6th Graders

7th & 8th Grade

9th Grade

Butts in Seats

New 6th Graders

Before the Recruitment Window Opens

Typically the Fall Semester

  • Determine target enrollment based on a percentage of the overall 5th-grade pool
  • Sit down with counselors and learn about course offerings, district requirements, electives requirements, etc.
  • Meet with elementary campuses and general music teachers and build a relationship
  • Determine the timeline of events including course sign-ups
  • Send postcards, mailers, holiday greetings through the semester
  • Create social media presence for your band (check district rules)
  • Join your relevant social media groups
  • Engage with the elementary campuses before the formal recruitment window even begins
  • Learn about any rules/limitations regarding recruitment
  • Place posters around elementary campuses with QR and shortened link to band website and/or information on how to sign up

Potential Recruitment Scenarios

Typically late Fall or early Spring Semesters

No matter what, play fairly and make sure to plan your instrument screening dates.

Present to the elementary general music classes

Demonstrate instruments

Use short videos as applicable

Be fun, enthusiastic, energetic, but also genuine

Rehearse your presentation so there is minimal downtime

Make it curricular first, not recruitment

Gives general music teachers day(s) to plan, get caught up while you lead the class

If students sit on the floor, get on their level

Afterward, send thank-you notes to the general music teacher

Fall/Winter Elementary Tours with Performing Groups

Often will have band, choir, orchestra or some combination

Volunteer to be in charge of planning

Decide what students will wear and make it uniform

Music selection – something fun/relevant to the season that also sounds good

Train your students to be engaging

“How many attended this elementary” and have students raise hands

Bring a PA system that is loud and clear so kids can hear you

Take lots of pictures, videos, and post them to your social media

Afterward, send thank-you notes from the band to the campus

5th Grade Visits Your Campus

If 5th Grade do not rotate through the band classroom:

Band plays as they enter in a ‘spirit’ tunnel outside

Drumline, spirit shirts, pep tunes

Train students to be ambassadors of the program

Make banners and signs welcoming the students


If 5th Grade does rotate through the band classroom:

Top band stays in class all-day

Play pep tune, traditional repertoire (if ready)

Short instrument demos by kids pre-approved by the director

Slideshow going on in the background with ‘fun’ pictures including all grades and high school band

Lots of decorations, balloons, etc.

Have high school banners, flags, etc.

After Sign-Ups

Get the rosters as soon as you can

If students list choices in rank order, ask if you can follow up with students who put band as a 2nd choice

Monitor the rosters through the semester to catch any changes as they happen


Now that you have your new 6th graders, it’s time to keep them!

Middle School Retention 6th through 8th Grades