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On Recruiting | by Kathy Bhat

Of course, the best recruiting tool any of us have is a quality program.  However, when you are just starting out, here are some thoughts:


High School

  • Get to know the students!  Lunch duty, whether official or unofficial can work to your advantage.
  • Offer to keep score at a football game or basketball game.  Don’t sign on for the whole season, but these are the kids in sports that really carry a lot of weight in a high school.  They are the ones you need to get to know and get involved.
  • Take a choir trip.  It doesn’t have to be a big trip at first.  Could be just a local tour – or to a festival such as Six Flags or Worlds of Fun.  This will not only act as a hook to get the kids in the program, but a “carrot” to keep them involved.
  • Invite choirs to your school.  Make sure you have heard the choir first!  A GOOD visiting choir can be a great recruiter.
  • Do a musical.  All kinds of kids come out for musicals.  You never know where a singer might be hiding.

Middle School

  • Get to know the students!  Lunch duty, whether official or unofficial can work to your advantage.
  • Be a FUN person.  Middle school kids want to enjoy what they are doing.  More often than not, they will join groups because of WHO is leading it, rather than what it is.  Fun doesn’t mean no-work, but having a good sense of humor and the ability to “play” with the kids. 
  • Take a choir trip.   A local tour, Six Flags, or Worlds of Fun.
  • Offer to “clinic” at the elementaries if they have choirs – or make sure to attend some of the musical performances they have.  It is impossible to make all of them, but in order to build the program it helps to be visible.


For both levels:

  • DO NOT make promises that cannot be kept.  Don’t tell kids it is an easy grade, or that they won’t have any homework.  Statements of that sort might bring kids in initially, but inevitably, your words will come back to haunt you, either by your own actions, or the ill will it will create with the rest of the faculty.
  • DO NOT accept misbehavior because you think the kids might leave the program.  Some might, but the kids who want to work will stay and will respect you more for your work ethic.  Even if they don’t say so.
  • DO NOT beg students to be in the choir.  Encourage….offer great rewards…be a fun person….Students that feel YOU need THEM more than THEY need YOU are not good for the ensemble (or you)!

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