A good message is one that tells a story that people find interesting and meaningful to their lives.
Every time you have contact with a reporter or editor, it is an opportunity to deliver a message. In addition to providing information about a specific event, you should put that event in the larger context of the larger picture and explain that it is part of an overall program that benefits students, the school and the community.
For example, an end of the year concert by the school band or orchestra is not just an opportunity for students to demonstrate how much they accomplished during the year. You can explain how the performance in front of an audience helps build self-confidence and teamwork skills; it involves family members and friends in the activities of the school and it provides a source of entertainment for the community. Sending out a news release to announce an upcoming end of the year concert is an opportunity to highlight how many students participated in the music program during the year, how many received awards, what percentage of music students made the honor roll, how many seniors plan to attend college, what majors they plan to pursue and how many have received college scholarship offers.
In your news release, you can make a general statement about the benefits of music education and then back it up with facts and figures. For example, you could include a quote such as: “Music education provides students with learning skills that help them in all their other courses. This year our band members who took the SAT test had an average score of 1,210, well above the average of 1,098 for the entire school and the state average of 995.”
Information like this makes a better news story for reporters and helps deliver the message that there are many benefits from music education in the school.
As music educators, we have a great story to tell and we should look for every possible opportunity to tell it.