As music teachers, it’s easy to feel like the lone wolf on campus, being the only faculty who teach our subject. But as I mentioned with parents, classroom teachers and office staff likewise have tons of talent and are often willing to help out. A few examples:
1. Concert programs and other printed materials: I usually design and print my concert programs, but a clerk at one of the schools where I teach loves to handle that task for me. It’s debatable whether or not this saves me time, but the process gives the upcoming concert a little more visibility among office staff.
2. Student supervision: Whenever I have groups of students in more than one place at a time, I try to get school staff to help supervise. The best example is dress rehearsals: I’m on stage with one ensemble while the next ensemble is in another ready area, and those students need supervision. Let me also add that having other staff help supervise students while I rehearse has given them a better appreciation for the logistical challenges music teachers face.
3. Chaperones: I’ve learned that just about any time my ensembles venture off campus, it’s beneficial to have another staff chaperone.
4. School staff musicians: Many staffers have musical background in their lives. They may be more willing than you might think to accompany or even sit in and play in an ensemble.
5. School newspaper staff: Let your newspaper/yearbook staff know about your groups’ special events. Those departments are often in need of material for their work and may more more willing than you might think to publicize your event. I have been surprised at the number of times a staffer has told me “Thanks for telling me about your event. We had a blank page and nothing to fill it with.” I thought I was inconveniencing them by adding my information to their load, when actually I was helping them get material for their work.
Also, try to use every opportunity to acknowledge helpful staffers publically. Include their names in concert programs, say thanks during a concert, dedicate a performance to someone, have students sign a big thank you card, etc.
As always, I’m just scratching the surface of ideas here. What ways do you get other school staff involved in your program?