By Scott McCormick
Now that I have your attention, I’m sure most of you who are involved with high school band programs were ready to stone me or check my noodle with this blog’s headline: “Now that band season’s over, what’s left to do?”
Believe me, as one who has spent a professional lifetime working with band programs plus my recent years as a band dad I can certainly appreciate how wrong this question is! Marching season may be over, but band season continues all the way through the entire school year.
True, band boosters must spend hours upon hours from early Summer through mid-to-late November fundraising for uniforms, instruments, music arrangements, drill writing, equipment, transportation, and food—not to mention all the volunteer time they have generously given. By the time marching season is over there is a natural tendency for many band parents to take a collective breath and come to a screeching halt with their nearly nonstop booster activities.
Even though moving past marching season is perhaps a little less frenzied, it is nevertheless imperative for parent volunteers not to reduce, or worse yet, stop their engagement. The business of the band program must continue. The director and staff need you as do the students.
The Winter and Spring months provide some of the best opportunities for band booster programs to end the school year on a high note, and gain marvelous traction for the marching season ahead. Rather than preparing for a long Winter’s nap, consider applying the following ideas for the next half year:
- Evaluate your now concluded marching season – while memories are fresh, seek feedback from your booster members on what worked well and what didn’t. What did you see or learn from other band parents organizations worth your organization’s consideration? Ask for all ideas! Brainstorm!
- Fundraising is always in season – no matter if it’s marching season or the remainder of the year, fundraising must continue. Old bills must be paid. Concert performances may require formal attire, more sheet music, concert hall rental fees, and occasional travel. Plus, fundraising through the Winter and Spring months allows you to build up a much-needed financial reserve once band camp rolls around.
- Looking ahead – the next several months are wonderful for planning purposes. Don’t wait until mid-Summer to begin planning for the next year. Be proactive by beginning now!
- Professional development and training – many of our AMP members would certainly expect me to add this last point, as education and training are critical to the development of your band booster organization. The Association of Music Parents is the only association of its kind that provides training resources, including webinars and workshops, for you, your program’s VIP—Very Involved Parent. All too many times I have watched well-intentioned music booster organizations attempt to do all the business and logistical planning that are required in today’s music world without seeking or asking for help or training. The result is often disastrous and leads to frustrated parent volunteers. If your booster organization is already a member of AMP, you quite frankly get it. You fully understand the importance of training and preparation, as well as the opportunities that can develop by networking with other such organizations across the nation. If you are not yet a member, then please take time to contact us today and join our exciting growing ranks! And there is still time for a few of your booster officers to join is Southern California in January for the National Music Parent Symposium.