The Used Car Salesman and the Chevy Vega

With the middle of January comes the annual angst associated with recruiting and registration. You know what I’m talking about, that time of year when we walk the fine line between honesty and used car salesmanship. You want to be honest about the commitment and workload associated with your classes, but you also want to attract as many students as possible.
In thinking about this challenge, I thought I would share this with you. A recently released study of teen and pre-teen students determined that;

  • 85% say they sometimes wish they had more fun when playing
  • 84% say that at one time they quit or wanted to quit. Why?
  • 47% say because “it wasn't any fun”
  • 29% say some students were mean
  • 23% say there were too many practices that interfered with other activities

I know what you’re thinking. “We know Scott, we hear this stuff every day!”

Perhaps, but this was not a survey of music students, it was a survey regarding student participation in athletics.   

The challenges we face are not unique to music or any other activity. I also suspect that they are not unique to this generation. I genuinely believe, and have evidence to support the notion that today's students are working harder and achieving more than any previous generation.

The bottom line is that kids (and people in general) are attracted to success. They don’t mind commitment and hard work as long as they and their parents feel that it is working toward a positive end. Kids and parents all too often hear the message that “the arts are struggling, are in trouble, and need to be saved."

Who wants to join doom and gloom?
Who wants to board a sinking ship?
Who wants to spend their days with one foot in the grave?

Not me! And I suspect that I am not alone in this. And more importantly, IT’S NOT TRUE!

I think we are on the precipice of a music renaissance unlike anything we have seen in recent memory. I think we are on the verge of a reemergence of music in our public and private schools. In the coming decade, I believe that successful music teachers and music programs will become highly celebrated and sought after components of our school systems.

I share this with you because I think it is important for you to know. I share this with you because I think it is important for your students to know. I think it is important for you to share the message of what music can do for a child, but do it with some swagger and an air of success.

In the coming weeks, as you talk to students and adults about your program and what it has to offer, keep in mind that you have something they need. You have something that is successful. You have something that makes a difference. You have something they want.

  A Chevy Vega (my first car) has to be sold. A Tesla sells itself. This activity is no Vega.