How to successfully market your music department?

One of the areas needed to grow a music program is to understand the need to educate and communicate with the wider community about the excellent work you and your students are doing on a daily basis. But, very few colleges or universities teach music graduates how to successfully market their music programs or studios.

So here are a few top tips to help you get started!

Tip 1 – Why do you need to market?

Although we hope that everyone understands the daily demands of a busy music department, in reality, anyone outside of music rarely has an understanding of what you do and why you do it. If we are honest, do we really know what the Maths department are doing on a daily basis?

Marketing your department to colleagues within the school community is an excellent opportunity to educate and communicate positively the value of your subject, the successes your students are having and the value of the arts. I think the difficulty level of academic music, particularly for our oldest students is completely misunderstood, so educating your colleagues is essential.

Also, remember that colleagues come and go throughout the school year so sending the same information (perhaps about the instrumental lessons that happen during the day) may seem an overkill but in reality there will be new staff who are grateful to have that information.

Tip 2 – What’s the benefit of marketing?

Whether we like it or not, as music educators, we are always competing with other subjects and hobbies that can impact the growth of our department. Added to that are the ongoing cost of instruments, music lessons, books and accessories that parents or guardians have to pay for. So why would anyone invest into a life-long hobby if we don’t actively market the positive rewards of music and the successes we see on a daily basis? As musicians we know the rewards of music – but not everyone else does. It’s our job to help sell the many benefits.

Tip 3 – What to market?

Honestly – everything!

In reality if you are a small department or working alone you can’t market every day so aim for something monthly or termly. The main thing is to be consistent throughout the year.

Focus on keeping a balance of promoting the academic content of your department, soloists, ensembles, concerts, exam successes, music lessons that are on offer, competitions, etc. Don’t despair if your program is new and still building – everyone loves to see the students and your progress, particularly parents!

Tip 4 – Positivity!

Although this sounds common-sense it is important to remember that all social media posts, letters home and emails should come from a place of positivity and pride promoting the work that you and the students are doing on a daily basis. It’s easy to compare and judge against other schools, studios or previous classes, but you have to focus on the successes you are having now and be proud of what’s being achieved. Those students will work harder for you, their parents will keep paying for lessons and your colleagues will keep being supportive. On those harder days try to remember that positivity generates positivity and kindness is really the way forward!

If you want more tips then why not check out my latest video on Passionate About Music YouTube Channel where I explore this topic in more detail!

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