What is a “Bring a Parent to Band” Day?
- Kind of a reverse “Bring a child to work” day
- Takes place in your normal classroom during normal class time
- Parents (and teachers/administrators) are invited to observe the students in their normal setting
- Instead of preparing a finished product for the parents to hear, you are inviting them into your classroom to see what the kids are doing every day in class
- A way for parents to get an idea of how much more goes into playing an instrument than just what they see at the concerts
- A way for you to have some small group communication with your parents before sending the kids off for the summer
Who/How to Invite:
Invite parents to come to class on a specified day to watch the entire class period. (Think through logistics ahead of time. Be sure parents know about the school policies as far as checking in at the office, arriving early etc.)
Send home a nice paper invitation (as well as email/social media). Make it have the feel of their child is inviting them personally to a special event. You could even have a place for the student to write in Dear Mom & Dad and sign it.
Give them lots of notice – they have to get off work.
Encourage students to invite grandparents/aunts & uncles. Students (or you) can invite other teachers and administrators on campus to drop by that day if they can. Siblings are welcome too. (Expect a little chaos!)
How to prepare:
- 2 weeks before, start using it as a way to get kids really focused on ‘performing’ every part of the class routine really well. Remind them that Mom or Dad will be watching them do it in a couple weeks.
- Really talk it up a few days before. Be sure the kids think it’s cool to have their parents there.
- Make it like a party. Have cookies and punch afterwards for the parents/guests.
- Make welcome signs for the band hall doors. Be sure the band hall is nice & tidy.
On the “Bring a Parent to Band” Day:
- Kids will be really excited – you stay calm and be extra patient.
- Show the parents where to sit – in front, behind or next to their children.
- Thank parents for coming. Give them permission to get up and take pictures/video of their child close up.
- Have a normal class (or as normal as possible) but explain to parents as you go what they are doing and why.
- Don’t try to teach anything new on this day.
Educate the Parents!
This is a perfect chance to give the parents lots of important information. Do it in little comments though out class – not a big lecture. Plan to say 1-2 things in between each exercise the kids play. Here are some example of what to talk about:
- Instrument/reed care
- How hard they work on getting a good tone
- What tonguing is
- Why students count rhythms and how parents should hear counting at home
- What they are learning in the warm-ups/daily drills and how the parents should be hearing those exercises at home
- When they play lines in the book you can have them note name and then play. Again, tell the parents why you do that and that they may hear the kids doing that at home.
- Scales – explain why they are important, how music is built on scales
- How students need to practice performing and should try to play for their parents once a week if not more
- What to expect next year – especially if moving from homogeneous classes to full band
- The importance of continuing to play all summer
- The benefits of band camps in the summer and where they can get more info on that. (see this article about Getting More Kids to Attend Summer Band Camp)
- The benefits of summer private lessons and how to sign up for that (maybe even have signup forms available) See this article about sharing Benefits of Private Lessons with parents.
- Upcoming dates (concerts, finals, instrument turn in/check out for summer etc.)
Benefits of Bring a Parent to Band Day:
- You get to see the parents and they get to see you in a positive setting.
- More intimate and not as rushed as concerts, open houses etc.
- Kids get to show off – parents can hear them more than in a concert.
- Parents get close up pics/video of their kids playing
- Makes kids value all the parts of class. If you preform them, they think they are more important. (warm-ups, scales etc.)
- Most principals love it – be sure you clear it first! (Lots of parents in the school, be sure they are ok that it’s during a work day etc.)
- Lets parents know exactly what/how kids should be practicing and why.
- It lets parents know you’re open to them visiting your class. Most of them will never come again, but it gives you a reputation for being welcoming and transparent.
Be sure you are positive, patient and professional the whole time.
Be sure you keep it positive for every kid – if you do that, then it will be positive for every parent. If you can’t make that happen, don’t attempt this idea this year.
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