Six Ideas For Engaging Parents in Your Musical Vision
February 17, 2024
Six Ideas For Engaging Parents in Your Musical Vision

Regardless of whether you are a guitar teacher, piano teacher, violin teacher, clarinet teacher or something entirely different, you know that music education is a collaborative journey that involves not only you and the student, but also the parents. Engaging parents in the learning process can greatly enhance the student's progress and overall musical development. By involving parents in both the lesson environment and the home practice routine, music teachers can create a supportive ecosystem that fosters enthusiasm and success in young musicians.

To what degree to you involve parents in your music studio? Do you want to include them more? Here are six effective strategies for music teachers to involve parents in their child's musical education, both during lessons and at home practice sessions.

Involving Parents During Lessons

a. Observation and Participation: Encouraging parents to observe their child's lessons can provide valuable insights into the student's progress and areas for improvement. Moreover, it allows parents to better understand the teacher's instructions and techniques, enabling them to reinforce these concepts at home. Some teachers may even invite parents to participate in certain activities during the lesson, such as playing simple rhythms or singing along, which can enhance the learning experience for both the child and the parent. Consider codifying your attitudes about parent involvement in your studio policies. For example, many teachers who follow the Suzuki method require parents to attend lessons until the student is 12 years old.

b. Note-taking and Communication: Providing parents with the opportunity to take notes during lessons can help them keep track of the teacher's instructions, practice assignments, and areas of focus. Additionally, establishing open lines of communication between the teacher and the parents allows for regular updates on the student's progress, challenges, and achievements. This can be done through face-to-face discussions, email updates, or dedicated communication apps, ensuring that parents feel informed and involved in their child's musical journey.

c. Setting Goals and Expectations: Collaborating with parents to set realistic goals and expectations for their child's musical development is essential for maintaining motivation and accountability. By involving parents in this process, teachers can align their teaching strategies with the student's individual needs and aspirations. Regularly reviewing and adjusting these goals based on the student's progress ensures that both the teacher and the parents are actively engaged in supporting the child's musical growth.

Engaging Parents in Home Practice

a. Establishing a Practice Routine: Encouraging parents to establish a consistent practice routine at home is crucial for reinforcing the skills and concepts learned during lessons. Teachers can provide guidance on how to structure practice sessions effectively, including setting aside dedicated time each day, focusing on specific exercises or repertoire, and incorporating both technical exercises and musical pieces into the practice routine. Emphasizing the importance of regular practice and providing resources such as practice charts or online tools can help parents support their child's progress outside of the lesson environment.

b. Providing Practice Guidelines and Resources: Equipping parents with practice guidelines and resources empowers them to support their child's practice sessions effectively. This may include providing written instructions on how to approach different practice tasks, demonstrating proper technique and posture during lessons, or recommending supplementary materials such as recordings or sheet music. Additionally, teachers can leverage technology to provide interactive practice tools, online tutorials, or practice apps that make practicing more engaging and enjoyable for both the student and the parent.

c. Offering Feedback and Support: Encouraging parents to actively engage with their child's practice sessions by providing constructive feedback and encouragement is essential for maintaining motivation and progress. Teachers can suggest specific listening or observation tasks for parents to focus on during practice sessions, such as identifying areas for improvement, praising achievements, or offering guidance on overcoming challenges. Additionally, establishing a supportive and positive practice environment at home, free from pressure or criticism, fosters a love for music and a sense of accomplishment in the student.

You may already be doing some of these; you might want to try some others. Regardless of the level of involvement you welcome in your studio, consistency and clear expectations are key to maintaining healthy relationships with parents. As Brittany Gardner discusses in her class, Setting Up An Independent Music Teaching Studio: Parents As Clients, parents are our clients. Establishing some of the practices mentioned here, formalizing them in your studio policies and referring to them frequently will allow parents to understand your boundaries and expectations and support their children in the most nurturing ways.