To maintain, improve, and grow your pipe band beginner program, it's essential to:
- regularly check your ledger, ensuring that all prospects are correctly registered.
- Providing updates about the learner program to the band members is also critical, reminding them of resources like the Dojo for self-improvement.
- Including your beginners in all band activities can foster a sense of belonging. This could involve inviting them to practices, gigs, competitions, and overnight trips.
- Leveraging their enthusiasm by taking pictures or videos, or assigning them roles can also promote engagement.
Integration of Beginners into the Band
As your first beginners approach readiness for the pipes, it's important to plan for their integration into the band circle, even before they are fully proficient. This could include a special ceremony to celebrate their progress. Similarly, as these beginners become ready to join the band, consider implementing a "testing" protocol to assess their readiness, with an accompanying ceremony to commemorate this milestone.
Marketing and Community Engagement
Further down the line, you can start adding layers to your marketing efforts. This might involve systematizing social media postings, developing specific protocols and materials for band members to spread the word, and creating a systematic approach to recruitment at public appearances. It's also beneficial to connect with local organizations and associations, and actively participate in your local piping or Scottish community. You can help promote other groups and their events to strengthen these community ties.
Planning for Future Growth
When you're ready for more extensive growth initiatives, consider reaching out to schools and homeschool associations to integrate programs, or investing in paid advertisements, such as Google or Facebook ads. However, it's essential to only take these steps when the band is ready, ensuring all existing processes are running smoothly. You may find that your efforts in other areas make your program so successful that you never have to go down this route anyway! Many bands successfully recruit without ever needing to spend a dime on marketing or promotion.
Guidelines to Maintain a Respectful and Supportive Environment
There are also certain actions that you should avoid to maintain a respectful and supportive learning environment. Poaching from other bands is unacceptable and goes against the camaraderie and respect that should be present in the piping community. It's also important not to pressure beginners to learn at a certain speed or intensity. Everyone learns at their own pace, and the focus should be on providing a positive and encouraging experience (NEVER rushing to "get them into a kilt").