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More to Start, Fewer to Quit (January 2024)

From Edward F. Protzman, Director of Bands and an assistant professor of music education at Portland State University.


The new year rings in the next school year. Be sure to start your recruiting process now. When students move from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school, many new forces and factors will influence their schedule choices. Schedule an open house night for students and parents to highlight what your program has to offer and the benefits to students. Have students and parents share testimony about the power of music. Help families understand how ensembles can fit into their students' schedules.


For most students, retention equals experience. Work to find ways to give your students top-level experiences no matter their performance level. All students deserve an enriching, positive learning experience in their ensembles. Bring in clinicians, play in new spaces, have Zoom calls with composers, schedule an amateur / professional musician to play a concerto, and find ways to celebrate your students whether they play grade five or one.


To have true success at contests, festivals, and concerts do not wait to the end of the learning process to work with clinicians. Directors often wait until their group has learned all the notes and rhythms before bringing clinicians into their rehearsals. Final touches can be helpful; however, more will be learned when students and directors are still malleable in their ideas and approach to a piece. A list of things to work on and develop will not be put into action if the performance is occurring in the near future. Be brave, be open to learning, and share in the clinicians knowledge while there's still time to adapt.


Check below to see if the Music Achievement Council team is presenting one of our engaging sessions at a conference near you.

  • The NAMM Show, Anaheim, CA
    Combatting the Teacher Shortage: The "Choose to Teach" Video Series
    Saturday, January 27th, 9:30 AM
    Anaheim Convention Center, Level 2, 212A
  • PANEL: The New Teacher: Survival Tips for the First Few Years
    Sunday, January 28th, 11:00 AM
    Anaheim Convention Center, Level 2, 212A

Wishing you and your students an amazing year!

Edward F. Protzman
Director of Bands
Assistant Professor of Music Education
School of Music & Theater
Portland State University

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