Recruiting toolkit (2 of 5): how do people join your group?

There are many circumstances that might prompt someone to join a music group. Understanding how people find you and what might be getting in the way of joining is key information for helping you build a new recruitment strategy.

How do people join?

Before you start telling the world what you offer and asking them to join you, it's worth considering what will happen when they do.

It can be easy to forget what it’s like to not know anything and be the new person. For someone joining their first ever music group it can be especially daunting. Whatever a person’s motivation is for wanting to join a music group there might be a whole load of practical things getting in the way of them doing it.

Making the process of attending rehearsals for the first time and becoming a member easy and welcoming will ensure that people who are interested end up joining.

One way to approach this is to sit down and go through the whole process. But you know the process and understand the group, so seeing them through fresh eyes can be hard.

Exercise one: Secret shopper

1. Ask a friend to join your group as a secret shopper. It’s best to tell as few people as possible and to give the secret shopper as little detail as possible.

So their task might be as simple as: come to our next rehearsal, tell us how easy it was to find the relevant info and how welcome you felt.  

Don’t tell them where or when – part of their job is finding all that out.

2. Be a secret shopper – going to a new group and experiencing first-hand what it’s like will help you understand and improve your own processes.

3. Secret shopper exchange – a good way to do both the above is to work with another group and secret shop for each other, and share each other’s learning. There might be 'helping the competition' / 'giving your secrets away' concern here. But if it's a group based far away from you, or a different type of group (vocal/instrumental), then you should be fine

Exercise two: Review

Review the details of how someone joins your group - what is the process like? You can break this down into three sections:

  1. How do they attend their very first rehearsal?
  • Do they just turn up?
  • Do they have to email first?
  • Is it invitation only?
  • Do they have to pay (and how much)?
  • What happens when they turn up - will someone greet them?
  • Will someone explain how the rehearsal works (coffee breaks etc.)?
  • Does the MD say hello?
  1. How do they become a member?
  • What happens after their first session?
  • Can they come for a few more try-outs (and how many)?
  • When do they have to become a full-fledged paying member?
  • Is there an audition?
  • What attendance commitment is expected?
  • What is the cost?
  • When do they pay?
  • Are there concessions?
  1. How do they find out all of the above?
  • All the information from one and two should be clearly presented on a single page of your website.
  • If they have to email ahead, do they get a prompt and friendly response?
  • Does someone explain how membership and fees work?
  • Do you have a mini joining pack explaining everything?

You can use our Website Health Check tool to help with reviewing your website.

These exercises should help you build up a picture of what it is like to try and join your group – if you identify any areas where it was confusing or difficult, think about what you can do to clarify and simplify the process.


Parts 1 and 2 should have helped you decide what your aims are, and streamline the process of joining. In Parts 3 to 5 we will look at what you have offer potential new members, and how to get them to join.

Read part three

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.