May 13, 2015
Band Practice at Home: Involving Parents for Student Success
When you think about the factors that determine whether the students in your band program will be successful or not, you probably think about the behavior, dedication, and talent of your kids before anything else. But there’s one major factor that may have just as great if not more of an impact than how your students act: their parents. The couple of hours you spend with your students in an average week are probably productive and impactful, but bringing parents in the loop and having them advocate for you is one of the best ways to bring enduring positive change and student success to your program.
For some band directors, the extent of the contact they have with their student’s parents is through parent-teacher conferences and chance run-ins at performances and competitions. With this minimal of a relationship, there’s no opportunity to enlist parents to help their kids succeed in band. At the beginning of the school year, it’s crucial to get new parents involved by getting their contact information and letting them know that they’ll be an essential part of their child’s musical development in band throughout the school year. In the same way setting expectations needs to happen in order for kids to have structure in band, you’ll need to tell parents that their involvement will be needed to help their child thrive in your program at the beginning of the school year.
Getting kids and parents on the same page
Using preferred methods of communication, keep parents up to date on what’s happening in your program, and the specifics of what their kids need to do to succeed. The things you preach about in class should be reiterated to your students’ parents. This includes not only the foundational practicing and drills your students regularly work on, but also the time-specific material they need to engage in to progress as musicians and compete in the program. Parents are your eyes and ears when it comes to accountability at home, so make sure they know exactly how to ensure their kids are working on what they need to when they’re not in class. You’ll get the best results if you check in with all of your parents frequently, not just when you see one of your kids dropping the ball and falling behind.
Motivating parents helps kids to thrive in band
If you’re thinking you’re in for more work than you already have by involving your students’ parents, then you’re right, at least in the short-term. Like the kids we teach, parents are complicated and can be hard to work with at times. But over the long-term, motivated and involved parents always help their kids to do their best and get the most out of band programs. This should be your major selling point when you reach out to parents. Like you and your students, parents don’t want more on their plates than they already have, but they’ll come around if you can convince them that they’re crucial elements of a successful band experience. The time and energy you invest in working with parents will pay off in a big way when it comes to how seriously their kids take practicing and mastering material at home.
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