Parent Teacher Communication Ideas for Beginning Chorus-Signing the Music Performance Contract
Parent Letters to Go
Parent teacher communication is essential in beginning a chorus, especially if you are a new teacher. You want to make sure that they know who you are - that they can put a face to your name and keep in contact whenever possible. First impressions mean a lot to parents when it comes to their child’s education, so it is crucial that they know where you stand from day one. You are going to want them on your side so that they are working with you, not against you.
The first step in pointing them down this path is to contact them via parent letters that will go home with the students when they sign up for chorus. (For more information on this, go to Beginning an Elementary Chorus: Classroom Teacher Communication, the first article in this series.) These are also choral contracts for the students to read over and sign as well. Why contracts? They will ensure that both parents and students have agreed to your terms and it will prevent less behavior problems down the road.
Music Performance Contracts
Music performance contracts are a great way to set the ground rules for chorus and to establish behavior expectations early. This applies mostly to the students, but concerns the parents as well. You want to make sure both parties read and understand that if these rules are not followed, there will be consequences for their actions. This may sound a little drastic, but when you are dealing with a large group of students and only one teacher (which is often the case in Music); it is very necessary to take the proper precautions. This will also benefit your ensemble down the road, for you will be able to make better use of your rehearsal time. No teacher likes to spend their whole class disciplining their students, especially when it is their choice to be there! In addition, it is not fair to the other students whose time in Chorus is continuously interrupted.
In the past, I have found many students asking an array of questions about Chorus so I have decided to add a “Frequently Asked Chorus Questions” section to the contract I use in my classroom. As a matter of fact, this is now how I begin the contract. For a sample of an elementary music performance contract, click here.
It is also important to keep in contact with parents throughout the year and to keep them updated on their child's progress in Chorus. Parents love to hear how great their child is at their singing abilities and efforts! You also want to continue to keep them updated on choral events and of course if there are any group filed trips, special concerts, etc.
As long as you make the parents feel included in the education process and keep the communication lines open, your chorus will be successful.