I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Heuer, of Kathleen Heuer.com, Marketing Music.Education, and Broken Chord Communications.com, for another episode for my radio show on the BAM Radio Network.
We had such a great conversation last time about Common Core, but what you didn't hear was all the other topics we were discussing.
Being a music educator and a performing musician, I am alarmed at the constant news of music programs being cut, music teachers being laid off and students not getting the best music education available.
The pressure for school districts to “make the grade” on Common Core tests has directly affected music and arts programs not only for current students, but for this generation.
There is one solution that can help save a program and keep music in schools…
Marketing for Music Educators
When we hear the term, marketing, we have this gut reaction of “slimy”, “salesy”, “sleazy”, etc. We just want to educate our students and not have to deal with becoming a salesperson…
The truth is that you already are a salesperson! ???
Yes! Every time you step on that podium, or bring your performing group to a community event or competition, you are promoting, or selling, your program.
This is especially true with your community events. There could be an important political or public figure in the audience that can become a great future supporter of your program.
By running a great program, you are already marketing and selling music education to your community.
But, there are more strategies you can pursue that can have a huge impact for you and your program.
This is where Kathleen Heuer comes in.
Through Broken Chord Communications, Kathleen provides digital marketing services (setting up social media accounts, auto-responder email accounts, anything that helps getting out your message digitally).
Guiding teachers to create their own means of digital communication, Kathleen helps save music programs from cuts and lack of exposure.
Kathleen also encourages music educators to get involved via social media through her thoughtful articles and insightful podcasts through her Marketing Music Education show.
Why is Marketing Important?
You may still be thinking, why do I need to market with social media? I do my job, sometimes 10-12 hours a day, I don't have time for learning something new…
I can tell you from my own experience, it is not that hard to market, especially with all the resources of the internet. In fact, if you don't market your program, you are doing yourself a disservice in the long run.
Every time you market your program, you are educating the public and giving them a service by showing how music education makes better human beings.
This becomes especially important for exposing those who have never had a good music education. They will tend to talk loudly during music concerts or live music at restaurants and not acknowledge the musicians after each song. To them, music is “background noise.”
They are not aware of how studying music can help students express their feelings and emotions and work together in groups (like a team) to convey that expression.
Here's another thing to think about: Every time you listen to popular music, how often do you hear horns (saxes, trumpets, trombones) or other band and string instruments? Not much, which leaves a lasting impression to our youngsters that there's no real purpose to playing that instrument in school except to be in marching band because it doesn't lead anywhere after high school or college. (At least, that is what kids think as they are going through middle and high school.)
As music educators, we know this is far from the truth, and even adults who took an instrument in school know that they were profoundly affected by participating in music programs.
But the real problem is that this generation going through school now will NOT have the exposure that many of us did. When they become adults, they may not encourage their own children to pursue music because they don't know how beneficial it is.
That is why it is crucial to start educating the public about what you do and how you help kids become better, more productive human beings through teaching music.
Marketing for career advancement
Another point to consider is that the more public you are in your marketing efforts, the more valuable you are to your district and others.
If you are considering moving to another position in the future, you should absolutely be involved in marketing AND join Linked In.
Kathleen calls Linked In a living, breathing resume that can show how qualified you really are.
You can also join groups and share tips and strategies that can make you more effective as a teacher.
So now you ask, “How?”
Here's what Kathleen Heuer suggests:
3 Quick and Easy Steps to Start Marketing Your Program
- Social Media – it's free to join. Gravitate to the one you like best. Look for the best parts of your program, and make sure that everyone knows about it.
- Use the Program Books for your concerts to Thank the important people in your District and Community. Examples are your Board of Ed, EVEN if they are not supportive. You can change their minds and actions through acknowledging them.
- Tell your story, especially success stories. An example can be profiling your graduating seniors. Create a website through WordPress or Google's Blogger, and profile a different senior each week. Let that student and their family know about it (of course get their permission first) and ask them to spread the link. This generates interest amongst students, parents and community members, and will also create more enthusiasm (and even better behavior) amongst your younger students.
Use those articles that profile graduating seniors, or students who have accomplished something great, and hand-deliver them to your local newspapers.
By giving them all the info they need in the article, you are also creating an important relationship with local media who will be more willing to cover future news about your program.
Did you Like this article? Well then…..LIKE and SHARE it on your favorite social media groups!
And please Comment below with some of your thoughts and ideas….
You can listen to the full interview with Kathleen Heuer here.
If you want weekly tips, ideas and notes of inspiration, sign up for my weekly newsletter here.