Music Ed Mentor Podcast #028: Solutions for Struggling Programs

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #028: Solutions for Struggling Programs

Today my guest is one of my favorite resources to tap for all things related to program growth: Bruce Rockwell. In this episode we share tips for struggling programs. Whether you’re just starting at a new school where you plan to rebuild a diminished program, or have been at your school for a while and are ready to really amp things up, we have ideas to share with you.

Both Bruce and I have been in this type of situation. In fact, I’m in the middle of it now, about to add a middle school band and choir to my K5 assignment. Bruce was in a similar situation a few years ago, taking over a struggling choir program. Now he’s built it up to something truly special for his school and community.

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In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How we work with our admin to ensure program success
  • Where we put our biggest efforts to make the largest impact
  • How we can ensure growth year after year, whether that growth is enrollment numbers or performance improvement, or even adding class offerings for your students
  • What is the very first step you need to take to get started

Solutions for Struggling Programs: Checklist

We’ve created a PDF checklist for improving any music program, based on the conversation in this week’s episode.

Download the checklist for free!

Key Takeaways

The Three Step Plan

To avoid being overwhelmed. break your program overhaul into three phases: Assessment, Planning, and Action.

SWOT Analysis

As you assess any program, start with a SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Make Connections

Before students are in the classroom, you need to figure out how things work in your school and district. You’ll also want to meet and be on a first-name basis with colleagues, administrators, engaged parents and students, and possible mentors.

A Philosophy for Incremental Growth

Kaisen is a Japanese business philosophy. It roughly translates as continual improvement. You can apply aspects of Kaisen to you music program and enjoy the benefits of immediate feedback.

Additional Resources

Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, grow, and manage thriving school music programs. With an MBA alongside her degree in music, she is also a coach and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits around the country, and serves as the conductor of her local community band. She has been teaching music for nearly 20 years and currently holds the prestigious position of elementary music teacher at a private K-8 Catholic School in Grand Junction, Colorado. Elisa was a top presenter at the NAfME National Conference in 2017 and will be presenting at state conferences in 2018. She is the founder of the International Music Education Summit and the author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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