Be Part of the Music: A Recruitment, Retention, and Advocacy Program

an Interview with Scott Lang


What is Be Part of the Music (BPOTM) all about, and how it can benefit music teachers?

Be Part of the Music is a recruitment, retention, and advocacy resource used by over 16,000 music educators all across the country. Our vast and growing set of tools help music educators at every level get and keep more students involved in music. Our free offerings include parent newsletters, website builders, videos, documents and our recruitment blueprint.

Programs that use Be Part of the Music see an average annual increase of 18 new students added to their ensembles. We’ve put together a series of recruitment videos, customizable documents, automated engagement tools, and other helpful resources to help simplify the recruitment process and save you valuable time. Oh yeah, did we mention it was free?

How did BPOTM come to be? Where did it all start and what led to its creation?

I was a band director for 15 years. I taught in east LA and Phoenix and I loved every second of it. Basically, I spent 10 years as a classroom teacher, 1 year in administration, and another 4 years as a teacher before I left to do Scott Lang Leadership.

After about 5 years of doing leadership work, I realized music teachers could use some help marketing themselves and their programs. Even if they are naturally good marketers, they do not have the time, finances, and resources to create great marketing collateral. So, I saw it as an opportunity to build a product. I built a product called Be Part of the Band and it was meant to bridge middle school kids to high school. The natural question that followed was “when are you going to do something for elementary school?” My first reaction was, “You know, it’s just not my area of expertise.”

And then a colleague I admired greatly asked me, “In a dream world what would you do to change music education?” I said, “I would create Be Part of the Music and its focus would be K-12 recruitment and retention solutions for every area of music.” He said, “Well, why don’t you?” I told him I don’t have the resources or time to which he responded, “Listen. Put up or shut up. If you are not going to do it then who is?”

So, I thought about it all night and I called my team the next morning. I told them, “We are going to do this, and it has to be for free.” I could not see this working as a paid product. It simply would not do the good we would want it to do. So, we pulled our high school version off the market and we went to work. We spent the next 5 years building the program you see now, which is: Be Part of the Music K-12 Recruitment and retention solutions for Band, Choir, and Orchestra.

"We want to do more than just preach to the choir." -Scott Lang

What makes BPOTM unique?

There are some phenomenal advocacy resources that some really wonderful people have put together over the years. But here are a couple of areas in which I believe we’re different:

1. Ever-evolving Content - we’re constantly revisiting and updating our content. So much advocacy content on the internet has remained static – unchanged – for years. We make sure we’re up to date and offering content that is useful and relevant to teachers for today and tomorrow.

2. We Come To You – we want to do more than just preach to the choir. Our mission is to help you “convert the non-converted” by offering you tools to help educate those people on the value of music education. We do that by offering free and unique “outbound” content. We don’t want you to have to skim through 150 YouTube videos in order to find one that suits your unique needs. As our subscriber, we actually bring that video and other ever-evolving dynamic content and tools DIRECTLY TO YOU in a usable format, when you need it, all based on a timeline you provide. 

Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say “non-converted?”

Sure. If 93% of America does not play a band-related instrument as an adult, your market place is pretty much 93% of America. Most of them just don’t have the exposure to music to know any different. So, our job as music advocates is to communicate with that parent of the child in the elementary, middle, and high school who has no musical experience. Here’s a quick anecdote:

My next-door neighbor, who also has 2 kids but never played in band or choir or orchestra, had no idea the value of music. One day, he asked why both of my sons played piano. So I started talking to him and soon-after he started getting his kids into piano. Two years later we’re doing recitals at my house! It’s been so much fun and now he’s saying “I’m so glad you opened my eyes to this world. I never knew it existed!” He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met, but he had no exposure to the world of music and needed me to teach him and prove to him its value. Those are the people we want to reach the most.

My point is that it isn’t hard to convince someone like me – an ex-band director parent with two kids – the importance of music.  But how do you convince the parent with no musical background the value of music education? That’s where we at BPOTM want to help.

"Let us do what we do best so you can do what you do best!” - Scott Lang

So what are the major road blocks that teachers face and how can BPOTM help?

Time, time, and time. Did I mention time? Creating high-quality material is a time-consuming process. Not only in the writing, editing, layout, copying, but also the budget. It isn’t cheap to do this stuff. And so, time and money are the nemesis of every organization whether you are Walmart, DANSR or BPOTM. So, what we try to do, through generous sponsors such as DANSR and Vandoren, we try to use our time and financial resources to create content so that you, the educator, don’t have to worry about either of those things. The mantra we use is “Let us do what we do best so you can do what you do best!”

What resources are available on the site for educators and how should they be used?

What I recommend first is going to www.bepartofthemusic.org and registering as a music educator. That will give you access to all our resources. After that there are really 3 key components:

  1. Video Content: We have around 57 major blocks of video that you can use, depending on whether you are band, choir, orchestra, elementary, middle or high school.
  2. Written Content: We have 40 documents that are in English and Spanish that you can use. These documents include letters to parents, advocacy statistics and quotes, welcome letters, admin letters, recruiting ideas and more. You can copy and paste and put them on your own letter head or just print them as they are and send them out! We even highlight the area “sign here, insert name of school here.”
  3. Software Content: We have a recruitment blueprint that you can sign up for that enables us to deliver relevant content to you on your timeline. What you do is you say “I am going to recruit on January 2nd,” and we backdate it 6 months and deliver everything you need at the time you need it depending on the day you need it. 

It’s like a menu. You pick an appetizer, main course, and dessert. So, take a look at the content and pick an appetizer - something from the written content. Even if it is just our posters. Then pick a main course - video content that you want to us. And lastly, pick a dessert - a software suite that will help you finish it off and deliver it all on time. You do it in a way that is meaningful for you and your community. 

And I understand you have a couple new features for directors to check out as well?

Yes! I have a couple things that are particularly relevant this time of year:


1. Customized Recruitment and Retention Website Creator

This is one of the coolest things we have ever done! This goes back to our commitment to “outbound” content. A director can simply go in, put your name, name of school, school colors, write a little intro paragraph, tell us where you want all the emails to go, and hit submit. Within seconds you have a customized webpage for recruiting and retention that has all the videos, all the correct documents, branded with your school name, has your personal message, and when parents interact with you it goes directly to your inbox. We don’t even see it. We don’t care, we don’t catalog it, we don’t save emails, we don’t do anything.

So, it is literally like paying a custom coder $5000 to build your own elementary band recruitment webpage - but it’s free! And by the way you don’t have to meet with anyone, and you don’t have to build your own videos or documents. It is the slickest thing we have ever done!  Check it out and create your own website here:

 

2. Music Advocacy Parent E-Newsletter

This is our brand-new Music Advocacy Initiative. With our new program, you can get personalized music advocacy emails sent to you each month that helps keeps kids in your music program and keeps parent involved along the way. 

Our new format allows you to receive, curate, and customize the content to best suit your needs. 

The goal is to INCREASE your impact while DECREASING your workload. Our personalized monthly emails keep the importance of your program top of mind for your parents. Sign up for this free email series and you will receive: 

  • Engaging and memorable content delivered monthly. 
  • Year-long, cross-curricular (band/orchestra) messaging. 
  • Separated content that is age centric (Elem/MS/HS) and time appropriately to the calendar and what the parents are expecting. 

We send content to you, the band director - you simply cut, paste, and send to your parents/community. You can sign up here

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

In the end, it is not my job to tell anyone how to recruit. My job is to provide all the resources you (teachers) need. You know your community, you know your band, orchestra, and choir, you know your schedule, you build your own recruitment custom program. That’s been the mission of BPOTM since the very beginning. If anyone has any question for us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us below. 


Visit Be Part of the Music

Lang Family2014 5

For over a decade Scott Lang has been educating and entertaining audiences of all ages. As a nationally known leadership trainer, Scott conducts over 120 workshops annually and works with some of our countries finest educational groups and performing ensembles.

As a highly decorated veteran teacher of sixteen years Scott's bands have had many notable performances including the Pasadena Tournament of Rose Parade, the Music Educators National Biennial Conference and for the President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton.

Scott is a well regarded author with over ten publications to his credit including; Seriously?!, Leader of the Band, Leadership Success, Leadership Travel Guide, Leadership Survival Guide, Sound Leadership and is the creator of the highly successful Be Part of the Music series.

Mr. Lang currently resides in Chandler, Arizona with his beautiful wife Leah and their sons, Brayden, Evan and their highly irrational Golden Retriever Rexie. He has breathed in and out approximately 264 million times and plans to keep on doing so until he doubles that number.


Subscribe to the We Are Vandoren E-newsletter (WAVE) to receive 4 weekly articles for Performers, Students, and Educators

First name:
Last name:
Email:

Join the conversation