Involve their parents, family & friends

Some time ago I put up my Top 10 ways to keep students for years. This top 10 I believe is fundamental to your success as a teacher and almost every teacher question i get relates to one of these 10 so I am going to elaborate on each one is a series of blogs. Here goes.

1. Involve their parents, family & friends—I know that this can be a challenge at times. Often parents never appear at the lesson or they are just not really interested. They sign up their 8 year old because she wanted a guitar for her birthday and does 10 other activities 3 siblings a cat and two dogs and the parents just have no time or energy left for you. As with anything don’t let this phase you. Be sympathetic of course but be persistent. Parents will often save time and energy by being involved. Watching their child struggle at home or arguing about their lack of practice often requires more energy then turning up to a lesson and being involved. When they get involved their child feels more motivated and parents understand better how to help their child at home.

As a teacher you obviously want the best for your students and the best is a child with a supportive parent. Successful methods like Suzuki violin insist on a parent being present. This in fact is quite common in many countries and explains why certain cultures seem to excel at music. Yes some parents go too far and are over bearing but this is a different problem and one I am happy to discuss on another blog or one on one if required.

The big bonus for you as a teacher is that when parents get involved they get to know and trust you. Building trust with parents means when their child wants to give up (or take a break as they say) because its all too hard the parent will come to you for a second opinion. The reality is once you build trust with parents you will rarely lose a student and if you do it won’t be done on a whim.

Action: Make a list of all your school age students and keep a date of the last time you spoke to a parent. You should probably also create a comment column. Refer to the list on a weekly basis. If you have not spoken to a parent in the last 4 weeks make a point of asking them to a lesson or at the very least giving them a phone call just saying you wanted to update them on their child’s progress. This will work wonders and I assure you losing younger students will be a rare event.
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