Music Parents: The Secret to Success Most successful public school music programs contain an important component that can’t be found in the classroom. And when you consider the structure of the public school, the secret to success becomes apparent: it’s the parent! One look at the hierarchy of public school, and you’ll find that you, the parents, are at the top of the power pyramid for one reason: it is you who vote for the school committee. School committee hires the Superintendent, who in turn hires the principals, who then hire the teachers. When a teacher engages the top of the pyramid, they’ll find YOU: a powerful ally. Public school is a perfect democracy, starting with the parents. Even with the growing demands of raising a family and working, parents want the best for their children and are dynamic, involved partners in the success of their children in public schools. Building a Successful Music Program Here are some ways to harness your power to help your child’s music director create a powerful public school music program: Encourage your child to practice. Having a regularly scheduled time and quiet place to practice is vital to a student’s progress. Music posters and recording/sound equipment in their home practice room offers an inviting, stimulating, and supportive atmosphere for any young musician. Ask their music director to explain the importance of your child’s practice to you, both from a technical standpoint, and to stress the opportunities that await them and their ensemble farther down the road. It is important for you, as the parent, to know how your young musician can grow musically, help benefit the ensemble as a whole and to understand the technical priorities of practice. Communicate with your child’s music director as frequently as possible. Be available and willing to assist in reminding your child, and educating your community, about the benefits of working together to create a supportive ensemble that is a positive reflection of the school and the community. Regular communication between you and the music director can help you both set out to achieve your child’s musical goals. Ask their music director to schedule social events outside of the performances. Performances provide a powerful moment of pride in the musical accomplishments of your children. Social activities, such as movie nights, field trips to a local symphony/choral group/band concert, pizza nights, bowling competitions, benefit concerts, and car washes involve the entire family to include musicians and you as supportive parents. Plus, you’ll meet other music parents at these events for the opportunity to collaborate. Follow conversations about the music program’s budget. If budget cuts to the music program are ever considered by School Committee, your powerful presence is usually an excellent deterrent, especially considering you will support the school committee members who support the music program. Help support your child’s music program by being involved in these discussions. Join a music parent program. If your child’s school has a boosters club or similar, join as an active participant! For further involvement, consider joining the National Association of Music Parents.