It is essential to foster a positive relationship with your student’s parents from the beginning. Maintaining informative, friendly, and regular check-ins with parents creates a trusting environment and can help soften any bumps along the way.
Be Open and Approachable
Make a little time at the end of each lesson to speak with your student’s parents about what you all worked on.
- Let parents know what their child did well during the lesson. Show them where in the sheet music, if possible.
- Explain the practice schedule so parents can help their child remember what to work on and when. Remember, 5 minutes per day is better than an hour a week.
- Discuss any concerns. This is a big one and more details can be found here.
If you can’t speak with a parent in person, send them a short email or text after lessons filling them in on how things went.
Listen and Empathize
Remember that parents are under a lot of stress managing a household and can sometimes come across as overly critical or defensive. Take a deep breath and try to see things from their perspective. Many parents may need a few minutes to vent about a problem before they are able to discuss a solution. Active Listening is a great tool to help you show parents that you are flexible, kind, and dedicated to providing excellent instruction.
Ask for Advice
Parents know their child better than anyone else. They are your greatest resource when it comes to managing behavior in lessons. Most likely, any issues present are also being addressed at school or in home life. Don’t be afraid to reach out for suggestions on how parents are working to help their child stay focused, build confidence, or deal with any other challenges.
It’s okay to not have all of the answers.
You are not expected to know the ins and outs of the entire musical world. We can only draw from our own experience. If a parent asks you a question and you don’t feel like you can adequately respond, simply let them know that you will do some research and follow-up with them at the next lesson. This can also apply to specific FMC policy questions. Better to give a parent correct information the next day, than incorrect or incomplete information on the spot.