In a recent survey, Wind Conductor asked band directors (Middle School, High School, & College) to survey their students to see how many band parents were former band geeks. We heard back from over 500 responders and the results were surprising!
Only 15% of the students reported that both parents were in band. That means 85% of your band has one or more parents who never took band!
Check out these results:
Upon first glance, it’s not so jarring. Less than half of the band doesn’t have a parent who wasn’t a former band geek. Cool!
Well… Let’s take a different look at it.
For each band member, we will assume 2 parents (yes… I know what century it is, but humor me). That means if you have 100 students in your band program there should be 200 band parents. Right off the bat, we know that 48% of those parents (that’s 96 band parents) never took band. We also know that 37% of the students had only one parent in band. That means 37 more band parents are added to the 96 giving us a total of 133 parents out of 200 were never in band.
That means 67% of your of the total band parents were never in band! That's almost 7 out of 10 that never participated!
They never participated....
...which means they don’t understand the time and effort required to perfect a concert performance.
...which means they don’t understand the time and effort needed to perfect a marching band show “just for half-time at the football game”
...which means they don’t understand why their child comes home and practices their clarinet for an hour after being in band class that day, going to after-school rehearsal, and spending the lunch-time running a few things in the band room with their friends.
...which means 133 parents DON'T GET IT it and have NO CLUE WHAT YOU ARE DOING!
It becomes important for the band director to teach the parents. Trust me they want to understand! They may not get the why but they know their kid loves to make music and for some weird reason their kids think you’re pretty cool!
Help them to understand that they time they spend volunteering, chaperoning, and helping out is not just about another event or fundraiser for the band. It’s about making their child’s experience awesome!
It’s kind of sad to realize the vast majority of your students’ parents never got to experience the joy of making music in and ensemble.
....never got to experience the thrill of marching in front of a few thousand people!
...never got to experience the excitement of a superior concert performance after months of practice.
It's sad really.
Be patient with them.
Explain it to them.
Break it down for them.
They just don’t get it…