Tips for Building Community & Growing Relationships with Band Parents – Readers’ Collaborative Post
In our recent survey, we asked Band Directors Talk Shop readers, “How do you build community with your band parents? How do you keep open lines of communication and grow strong relationships with parents?” With hundreds of responses to the survey, we came up with this categorized list of your answers. Thanks so much to all of our readers who took time to fill out the survey. Keep an eye out for more Readers’ Collaborative Posts in the future!
- Answer emails and phone calls as quickly as possible.
- Contact every parent with something positive that their student has done in the classroom.
- Frequent phone calls home. Starting hard conversations with “I need your help” and then explaining the issue. Thanking them for the time they give the program and kiddos.
- Be everywhere! Go out of your way to make sure you are everywhere.
- Learn their names. Communicate clearly. Contact them often (for the good and the less than good!).
- Be in contact regularly – for both the concerns and the celebrations of success. Parents might not reply to your emails but most of them do appreciate you making the effort to reach out.
- Stop and chit-chat with at various events. Attend other concerts besides my own. Use REMIND for announcements. Send home positive notes as often as constructive ones.
- Answer their email questions quickly so they know I am listening and care about what they have to say.
- Students need to be in the community making music as much as possible. Even if you don’t have a “marching band” do a parade, play at a football game, carol at the local retirement home. Be in the community and communicate with parents just as much as with the students.
- The band participates in many community activities and I make it a point to be present to have conversations with parents and support the community.
- Remember that parents are customers and we are in a customer service job. More communication is always better.
- Try to over-communicate with parents with Remind texts, emails, Facebook band page posts and even paper notes (sometimes works with middle school kids). During marching band camp, we do a special performance for the families.
- Lots of communication via written, phone, computer, apps & social media.
- Use Remind texts, letters/communication that require parent signatures, e-mail & person-to-person communication. I also post on our school website & school Facebook page. Send positive texts home often.
- Email monthly newsletters, text & call. Open to “office hours” and conferences.
- Lines of communication. Email often. Reach out when things are going well, seek help when needed.
- ClassDojo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TeamApp and class emails
- Get parents involved. We are fortunate enough to have a professional concert hall to do our concerts at, and I try to get parents to chaperone the dress rehearsal and concert.
- Walk up to car windows after marching band practice and engage parents as they are waiting for their child to put things away. Use my other parents in the booster club to invite parents that are less involved. Create a “parent profile form” as a Google Form in order for parents to share how they would be willing to volunteer.
- I have a Music Parents’ Society, a non-profit, registered charity that handles fundraising for extra-curricular program enhancements like out of school trips. Students earn credits by participating in various fundraisers and they can use the credits towards music-related trips and activities.
- We have a band council, we have a band parents organization, and I try to email parents regularly.
- Meetings, pot lucks, giving them a sense of belonging to each other, and spend time showing them they are a vital part of every band student’s education.
- Build community by inviting parents to an occasional rehearsal, and of course by asking for help during travel times and performances.
- Keep an email list of all band parents (by grade level/ensemble) to share important dates and information – kids don’t always remember to take stuff home!
- Send a weekly email with celebrations, updates, what’s happening this week and any and all kinds of information. Parents have loved it!
- Email blast a “Announcements from the Band Room – Date” to the parent list on a regular basis. The first thing in the email is a daily calendar and schedule update. Then additional information below. Parents love how organized it is, and that they can see what’s coming up – assignment due dates, upcoming quizzes, extra rehearsals, performances, volunteer opportunities, Jazz/Pep Band rehearsals/performances, trip information, etc. This is the single biggest comment my administration hears on feedback surveys – How they wish more teachers were as organized as the band teacher.
- I send emails each week to all band parents, and once a week I send an email to the parents of my “star student,” telling them what that child has done well and my hopes for them in future weeks of band. I do this for each of my schools.
- Monthly newsletter home with tips and advocacy articles.
Kindness as a Rule
- I always give them the benefit of the doubt and let them know I’m there for their child (indeed I consistently back that up with my time, care, etc.)
- Thank them for coming to concerts. Send out reminders well in advance. Show that you like working with their kids and that you believe their kids can learn.
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