Parents are careful stewards of their children’s activities — eager to support wholesome activities that help the child grow, and equally eager to discourage activities that don’t seem worthwhile. The parent’s opinion, whether informed or not, will determine the child’s participation in music. In this step, you’ll communicate with the parents, answer their questions, and enlist their support.
This step is a significant time commitment, usually requiring multiple evenings; however, directors experienced in recruiting emphasize that calling all the parents shouldn’t be omitted or shortchanged. Without personal contact with the parents many students who expressed interest simply won’t follow through and join band or orchestra. But, when parents get the information and agree to support the child’s participation, almost all the interested students will be in your ensemble. Praising the child’s abilities and expressing interest in having them in your class is also an opportunity to create a positive relationship with parents. That relationship will be helpful if your next reason for calling them isn’t as pleasant.
On the surface, Instrument Showcase Night is about trying out the instruments. In reality, its significance is much more: It brings parents into the beginning band process, lets them meet the director, shows them the child could play the instruments, and finalizes their commitment to the child’s participation. The result is that almost all the students whose parents come to Instrument Showcase Night will follow through and be in the band.
Calling each parent and having individual conversations requires considerable time and can be hard to fit into a busy teaching schedule. However it has the advantage of personal, one-on-one attention.
The Instrument Showcase Night is a big one-time production but builds excitement, allows face-to-face meetings with parents, and completes the signup process in one evening.
Choose which method is best for you considering how many students you’re recruiting and how much time you have. Directors have been successful with both methods. The important thing is that you do one of them.