Marching band is winding down with the football season, which means that our still fledgling New member education program will soon be undergoing tweaking and adjustment.
This blog is not about that though, so I will just say here and now that the program will not see many changes from last year to this year and instead discuss our rushing efforts and the new doctrine which I believe will drive our membership rates and retention up in coming years.
It involves changing the way we think about service, musicianship, brotherhood, rushing and leadership in one distinct way: it's all connected.
That's right, by realizing that service to the band can also mean brotherhood or that brotherhood can also mean musicianship, we begin to evolve our understanding of just what it is we are here to do.
For me, it's simple. The band program at Otterbein loves our monetary support, but doesn't necessarily need it. It appreciates us taking the initiative to clean the band room carpet and fix chairs, but it doesn't always need it and it certainly benefits from our leadership, though it doesn't often openly ask for it.
Of course, we will continue to do all of these things but one thing that we haven't done nearly enough of that is purpose related and would fill an enormous void in the college band experience: socialization.
The band program lacks a level of closeness and socialization that is present and powerful in countless collegiate band programs across the country- I know this because I have seen many!
Therefore, recognizing that the greatest service we can give to the bands is entirely social and by organizing social gatherings and functions for it, we can enrich the band program, raise morale and most importantly for us: gain valuable, worthy and enthusiastic recruits.
Changing the way we view our role in the program changes everything and that's what we are striving to do.
For instance, we are hosting open brotherhood events; inviting band members to our functions not as prospectives, but as band member. We are shifting that vernacular so that we are considering everyone and so that what we do and say reflects that our primary goal is to promote fantastic social atmosphere.
To do this, all of the committee chairs are working together where their duties cross and their purposes are sympathetic, meaning that planning and execution for a single event crosses multiple desks before completion.
From there, I don't think it is too difficult to see how this might affect our recruitment and I'll be giving another blog in the spring to tell you all just how much.
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