Start the year off right by initiating communication with your students’ parents. Begin with an introductory meeting, and follow up through the school year with regular meetings to keep them informed. These meetings are also a great way to market your program.
Justin Love says, “Most of my communication with parents is done via our website and email, but you still need that occasional face to face meeting and paper handouts to catch those few parents that might not be connected…email-wise that is.”
As the year progresses it is important to maintain the parental support and involvement you established at the beginning of the school year. Orchestra Director Angela Ammerman offers these tips:
- Always call a parent and explain why his/her child has detention before the student gets home.
- Make sure that concerts are entertaining as well as musically challenging.
- Ask for help from parents. They love to be involved in their children’s lives.
- Praise the parents for their children and always thank them for their support
- If a parent is especially enthusiastic about helping with a certain aspect of your ensemble, ask them again for help.
- Always let the parents know that they are essential to the ensemble’s success as well as the success of their children.
Additional resources to check out:
“Promoting Parental Support for Strong Music Programs.” April 2008. Teaching Music.
Music Booster Manual, MENC
MENC Member Justin Love teaches at DeSoto High School in DeSoto, KS.
MENC Member Angela Ammerman is an orchestra director at Swansboro High School in Swansboro, NC.
— Nicole Springer, June 23, 2010, National Association for Music Education (www.nafme.org)