Princeton Music Joins the Video Age
In our never ending effort to promote, recruit and continue the long standing legacy of Princeton Music, the Princeton Music Boosters decided to join the video era and created what we feel is a great representation of such an amazing music program. We continually talk about how great our program is and spread the word about Princeton Music every chance we get. It’s obvious that our membership and parent base understood this, however the Princeton Music Staff and OMB Executive Board felt we could do more to broadened our reach about just how fantastic our program is and how vital it is to creating a well rounded student.
This video was specifically geared to be suitable for all ages and to able to be shown at a variety of functions. It’s shown before all concerts and performances, during events that are hosted at our school (where appropriate) and even at trade seminars. As with most school districts our funding is becoming more levy based, so the more positive exposure we can create for the school as well as our music program, the better! We also wanted to reinforce our position with our current sponsors and alumni as they are critical to us achieving our mission. The video would be something we felt they could be as proud to “Like” and include on their social media pages as we are!
Overview of planning and execution process for this project
With the uptick in the use of videos, YouTube and social media, it was time for PMB to dive in. The director of Princeton Music approached Princeton Music Boosters about the concept for a promotional video and the seed was planted. PMB has steadfastly spent its money primarily on items that had a direct effect on the music program itself, so for some making a video was not an easy sell. For others, it was a no-brainer and slowly the remainder of the membership came to like the idea as well. As luck would have it, the son of a Princeton educator had recently graduated from a local college and was looking to start up a video production company. While we interviewed a few different companies, it was obvious that these two young men were the right choice. Once hired, they spent hours filming in the school, at sporting events, concerts, theater productions and interviewing students, staff, parents & administration. Over a period of about 4 months of planning, filming and editing they condensed countless hours of video into an outstanding 3-1/2 minute snapshot of our music program!
Sponsors/charities/volunteers/ other groups involved in the project and the benefits to each.
The video was funded completely by the Princeton Music Boosters. PMB is a small but dedicated group of volunteers made up primarily of parents along with most staff members being involved as well. We have a great network of alumni, corporate and local donors who know the power of music in our schools and of the legacy that is Princeton Music. With a few specific requests and some unexpected but fortunately timed fund raising opportunities, we had the needed funds very quickly.
The video has helped to create a “visible” sense of pride that our membership had always felt. It was a way to (literally) show the inner workings of a music program that has spanned decades and has been a constant for the Princeton School District. Another added benefit of this video that none of us really predicted was it’s ability to showcase the diversity of our music program. The Princeton City Schools are the most diverse school district in the entire state of Ohio. With approximately 70% of our student population is on a free or reduced lunch program, the district and PMB help to make sure any child wanting to get involved in music or theater has that opportunity. Seeing and hearing from some of those students really drove home just how critical music can be to students today.
Specific Budget Breakdown
Thankfully this idea was brought to the PMB near the end of our 2017/2018 school year, which gave us the opportunity to get it into the upcoming year’s budget. Having already interviewed and chosen the video production company we wanted, it was only a matter of ensuring the funds were raised for the project. Thankfully some unplanned fund raising opportunities came along which helped out along with allocating some unused funds from the previous year.
New or recurring project?Recurring
How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?
As this is the first year for this project there have been no updates at this point. However, with the video’s popularity and impact we are looking to make updated videos every five to six years. Our future budgeting process will make sure to build up the anticipated funds to make this happen. We have notes from our post production critique that will factor into the production of the next video, as well as there will be new staff, membership & officers by that point which will generate fresh ideas as well.
Challenges/obstacles that were encountered
Change, while inevitable isn’t always easy. Princeton Music Boosters prides themselves on giving back directly to the students and staff of the Princeton Music Department. The thought of making a video that would (hopefully) have an impact on recruitment and promotion was frankly a little scary to some members. It took some time, but after various conversations and some powerful examples of similar projects, we were able to get the membership on board. Once we had buy-in from the membership, frankly the project went pretty smoothly. It was a long day of filming, but the enthusiasm of the project and production company was contagious which only made things that much more fun.
Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?
We have seen measurable differences in three areas; Views & Likes, Membership and how many times we‚Äôre tagged in posts. In the past, clips from concerts were seen by a moderate viewership. However we recently posted our promotional video and within hours it had 5,000 views! In less than 72 hours we were close to 10,00 views. Had we done this even last year, we don’t feel it would’ve gotten the same, overwhelming response. In the two years that we have been concentrating our social media efforts, we have seen a 30% increase in membership. This has increased our effectiveness in most all areas that we cover. Furthermore, PMB has become one of the most heavily tagged groups within the district, at times even beating out athletics! Our reach is more extensive and therefore more effective even when the topic is not related to music.
Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?
To some groups, $1,400 might not be a huge expenditure, but to us it was. We had lots of discussion, did lots of planning and viewed lots of examples before moving forward with the project. Once you do decide to do such a project, make sure to not skip any portion of your program, staff members or important administration. We ensured that every music educator was at least in the video to some extent and most certainly ensured that every aspect of our program was highlighted (jazz, marching band, orchestra, symphonic band, theater, etc). Plan out the project, use examples from similar videos but don’t be afraid to change it up and customize it to your school and to your music program.
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