Running the first learner-nights for a beginner bagpipe program is an exciting venture. The key is to create a welcoming environment that nurtures a novice's enthusiasm for learning and participating.
Setting Up the Session
Begin by setting up a greeter to warmly welcome beginners to their first session. A friendly face can go a long way in easing nerves and setting the tone for the rest of the night.
Duration and Structure
As for the session itself, it's been found that 30 minutes tends to be the "sweet spot" for duration. This allows enough time to introduce and practice new concepts without overwhelming beginners. If possible, consider doing 1-on-1 consults with prospects. If not, try to keep groups small to foster a more personalized learning experience.
Orientation and Connection
The top priority for these sessions is orientation and establishing a rapport. Encourage beginners to share a bit about themselves, such as their place of origin, musical background, and previous instrument experiences. Once the learners are comfortable, introduce them to the band and its culture. Talk about the tartan, parades, and competitions - share fun and simple factoids that can help them feel a part of the band community.
Teaching and Support
When it comes to teaching, less can often be more. The goal is to provide learners with the basic knowledge and skills they need to start practicing on their own. Remember, your teachers don't necessarily need to be your best players - they just need to be nice, warm, and welcoming. The key is to inspire beginners to walk through the door, progressing at their own pace between in-person sessions.
Wrap-Up and Communication
End the session by providing details about the next session and how you will communicate with them. Reiterate that there is no pressure or obligation to join the band or to practice a certain amount. Encourage them to reach out if they have any issues or questions, emphasizing that support is available outside of in-person sessions as well.
These guidelines will help you run successful learner-nights, ensuring beginners feel seen, heard, and excited to embark on their bagpiping journey.