Close this search box.

Marketing for Band Directors

Trey Reely | October 2012

    I once asked members of a college methods class why they chose the instrument they did in grade school. One student remarked that he chose trombone because the director said that one had to be very intelligent to play it. Without remarking on the veracity of the director’s claim, let me at least admit its effectiveness in convincing that particular student to play trombone.
    I have since tried the same tactic with limited success; indeed, attaining the optimum instrumentation at the beginning band level can be troublesome, particularly in small schools where there are fewer students and instrument decisions are more critical. Some instruments are generally an easier sell than others (saxophone and percussion, for instance), but depending on the circumstances, a little salesmanship could be called for on any of them. Below are some slogans and sales pitches you may find helpful during recruiting later this year. These can also be used on students already in band who you need to switch from one instrument to another.

Piccolo – it’s so cute!
Dominate! Make the rest of the flute section irrelevant!
Drive neighborhood dogs crazy!

No lip bud? No worries! Play the flute!
It’s not just for girls anymore!

Be unique!
Be special!
Be able to carry a knife to school!
Clear a room in three seconds by playing one note!   

The force for musical humor!
Like puzzles? Put a bassoon together every day!
Laugh at cocky third trumpet players when you get a four-year music scholarship!

Why not?
Have your licorice stick and play it, too!

Bass Clarinet
Where low notes reign!

Contrabass Clarinet
Be the hit of the party – provide the limbo stick!
The tuba of the woodwind section – but smarter!

Soprano Saxophone
Perm your hair and be like Kenny G!

Alto Saxophone
Just hold an alto and you’re cool!
Hip since 1864!

Tenor Saxophone
The instrument of presidents!

Baritone Saxophone
Build neck muscles the size of a professional linebacker’s!
Impersonate the sounds of New York City traffic!
Bari ‘em alive!

The instrument of kings!
Be better than everyone else!
Get all the girls!
The marching band trumpet section – where the melody lives!

Live on the edge!
Double your pleasure with a double horn!
The horn section – home of true musicians!

Trip unsuspecting people with your slide!
Long live the sackbut!
Let it slide!

Be original – play it before a trumpet player switches over!
The march’s best friend!

Build those biceps and have the body you’ve always wanted!
Home of the whole note!
Sousas rule, others drool!
Play something indispensable!

Timpanists have buff ankles!
Be a human alarm clock! Scare your friends! Crash the party! Play cymbals!

    Choose a line for each instrument or use them in combination. Make posters, lead cheers, and emboss T-shirts. Tickle the fancy and ego of potential band members and that perfect instrumentation will be yours.