The following advocacy guidelines appear in the High School Director’s Communication Kit. Permission is granted by the Hal Leonard Corporation to reprint them.
What parents can do:
Music parents are often willing to help, but may not know what to do or where to begin. Here are a few starting points.
- Ask school board members about their views on arts and music education. Be positive. Do not be defensive if an administrator or school board official opposes arts education. Simply get the facts, preferably in writing. Ask questions.
- Organize your parent group. If you are an independent group (not under the auspices of PTA or other parent groups), you’ll need to develop by-laws, appoint a board of directors, and apply for charitable deduction status.
- Attend school board meetings. Observe the process, personalities, and effective persuasive techniques. Always be polite and cordial to school board members.
- Work with the music staff to develop a mission statement. Keep children’s education as the focal point, not entertainment events or music trips.
- Organize and print a calendar of local music events for all nearby schools. Include all school concerts, festivals, as well as professional groups appearing in the area. Send the calendar to school board members, administrators, all school parents, government officials, and your local newspaper.
- Assemble the concert program for the music teacher. Offer to enter type on a computer disc, or take responsibility for producing the entire program. Be sure to include the correct spelling of every student, director, administrator, and custodian who helped with the event. The music teacher may also provide composer backgrounds and program notes for the concert program.
- Invite officials to speak and/or conduct at concerts. Develop a rotating schedule with the music teacher, and include administrators, school board members, community leaders, and government officials. Write thank-you notes to every person who speaks or conducts the group during a music concert.
- Start an after-school lesson program. Offer scholarships for first- and second-year students to study with local or area teachers.
- Help establish a student mentoring program. The music teacher might want to “pair up” an elementary or middle school student with a high school student. During post- concert refreshment time, mingle with other parents to make them feel they are a part of the music family.
- Call the music teacher(s) regularly, and simply offer to help. Often, there is typing to do, ticket sales, bookkeeping, distributing uniforms, arranging trips, helping with the props for musicals, etc. A number of important tasks always await the music teacher.