Marketing Your Music Program - Raising Your Self-Esteem     

        -   Will Sherwood, AAGO, ChM

If you do not praise your own house, it will fall in upon your head! - Arabic proverb

As music leaders and managers on church staffs, our attention and focus should be on the quality of our music, its integration into the services & programs, and managing the choirs & volunteers.  However, some emphasis occasionally needs to be placed on what I call marketing our church music programs.  By programs, I mean the full gamut of musical activities we're involved with and responsible for.  This includes everything from the care & feeding of volunteers to developing and executing long-term growth strategies and instrument maintenance timelines.  Our everyday (and every-week) duties often are so pressing to get all the logistics right, that we lose sight of tending the bigger picture.  Whether you have a simple worship service solo each Sunday or several choirs and concert series, this bigger picture can make or break the future of your program and yourself - your program needs to be recognized and appreciated by the staff & congregation; and you need rejuvenation through stepping back and taking inventory of where you've been, your accomplishments, and what direction to set sails for in the next year or so.

I believe self-esteem is key here.  Although personal (as in psychological) self-esteem is closely related, I'm really talking about the self-esteem of the Music Program as an entity.  On one hand, a program (just like people) can be meek and apologetic and quiet;  yet the other extreme would find boastful and always in-your-face self-accolades and reminders that of course music is the most important and only ministry of the church.  As in life (and choral blend!), it's most effective to strive for balances.  If you and your parishioners feel good about the music program and publicize it in a balanced way, then it will grow and increase in quality and satisfaction.

A solid music program should be held up as a central strength
of any religious community. No apologies.

Most of this marketing concept can be summarized in one word: visibility.   Awareness, carefully presented to parishioners, can increase both the real and perceived effectiveness of your programs.  When people are gently reminded about something, they may care for it more and appreciate it more.  Below are some ways to achieve this without annoying fanfare;  hopefully some of these ideas will mesh with your situation and style.

By marketing your program carefully and in a confident (but not too proud) manner, you can increase the visibility and effectiveness of music in your congregation.  We really want to educate (for a long-term effect) and have people anticipating the next event.  Advertising does not fully do that since it is a one-time enticement.  Plan your strategy for continued interest and learning as you make your program more and more visible and enjoyable.  In this way, we can help those people worship who prefer a more experiential or artistic representation of their religious expression and maximize the church's outreach ministry.