Top Ten Things You Should Know
as a Band Parent!
There’s a reason your child comes home excited about band. BAND IS FUN! Your child is completely immersed in a fun activity with their friends. IT’S OKAY FOR THEM TO BE EXCITED! They will calm down after marching season.
Yes! It's worth it!
Your student is probably more capable than you realize. Even if you have all the time in the world, you will start to feel like a personal servant if you don’t ask your kids to take some responsibility for their own stuff. Water jugs, lunches, props, laundry--it never ends. Your student can make a sandwich, fill up a water jug, and set out their ‘stuff’. It’s up to you if want them using your washer and dryer, but they’ve got to learn someday. When you see what they accomplish and how hard they work for someone else, you will be amazed. This is an excellent time to start teaching (if you haven’t already) self-management techniques that will serve them well throughout life. If you are inclined, help them create checklists so that they remember everything they need to bring. It will be a lot of stuff, so be ready.
Get out of the car and come join us. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Many parents do not realize that they can enter the band room without ill effect. Be respectful of practices going on, but come on in and see what is happening. Frequently, there are parents working on projects or hanging around. The last 15-20 minutes of practice will be a run through of what the kids have learned so far. Watching the evolution of the band and the kids is really inspiring. It will blow your mind what your kid can do! Believe it or not, you will not see the same *exact* show week after week. Bring the family and enjoy the show, but remember to stay quiet so you don’t distract the kids. On competition days, come inside after the band returns. This is a good time to congratulate or encourage your student. Drop by before they leave to let them know you support them. You may feel a bit more like a spectator than a parent, but the kids know you are there and they appreciate it.
Learn to manage your time and teach your student how to manage theirs. You WILL be busy--especially from August until the first of December. You will receive calendars in emails, but you MUST find a way to keep track of everything that works for you. More importantly, your student will have to balance band and school work. It is not easy, but it can be done. Most band members carry a full load of classes; many are honor students with AP classes. You will have to find pockets of time for homework and other responsibilities. Some students do homework on the bus when necessary. High school is already a big adjustment. Between band and school there won’t be much time for anything else. But it doesn’t last forever and they will miss it when it is over.
Bring cash, warm clothes and something to sit on. Most school functions require that you bring cash. Competition venues charge admission, anywhere from $5 to $10 per person. Children under 5 are usually admitted free. You MUST bring cash. Concessions are cash only, as are some souvenir vendors. Aluminum benches are hard and COLD, especially in October. Many of the events are outside. Plan accordingly. Something to sit on will make the experience more enjoyable and keep the cold from creeping in. Many parents bring a blanket or fleece to ward off the chill. Hats, gloves, scarves will help keep you comfortable. Obviously, if it is sunny out, remember sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Just like the scouting motto: BE PREPARED.
Band Directors are people, too. They work long hours and their main focus is the kids. If you have a specific concern about your child and the band program, set up a time to discuss it. If you need general information, directors are probably not your best resource. Try a fellow parent first. On another note: Marching band requires dedication and discipline from your student. The job of the directors is to help your student excel in band. Directors speak loudly, pointedly and sometimes without pleasantries. When mistakes are made, especially due to inattention or lack of effort, there are consequences. Try to relax and allow the process to work. Encourage your student to do their best, listen, and work hard. Everyone wants your child to be successful. You will learn this as you move through the season.
You are not alone! Every parent--okay, MOST parents, feel overwhelmed at first. The whole first year is a scramble to keep up. Here are some good phrases to put into use: “Excuse me, I’m new and I was wondering ...”, “Hi, I’m a freshman parent, my name is ...” “I’m Ben’s mom and I heard ...” You will be surprised how quickly you will be pulled into the fold. Timing is everything, of course. If you ask someone who is obviously busy, you may not get the welcome you hoped for. Rarely are other parents too busy to help you. We want you to join us and we love to share our experience with you. Your student will be making all kinds of new friends, why shouldn’t you? You can find people to carpool with, volunteer with, celebrate with, and commiserate with. Band parents are valuable resources. They can help you find solutions to your dilemmas, and there will be dilemmas. You will also get to know the parents of the kids your student is hanging around. What a bonus!
We can’t do it without you—volunteer and come to the Band Parent meetings. You will be asked to commit time, energy, donations and the band fees to the band program. Unlike many sports programs, the PCHS Band must have parent volunteers for the programs to run smoothly–and it is the best way to get to know others. Plan to attend as many Parent Meetings as you can. Mr. Farrell usually addresses the parents with updates on the show and will answer parent questions. It is time well spent. About volunteering ... no experience necessary. No, REALLY! There are tasks that require specific skills, but most opportunities do not. If you can pull a soda from a cooler, take tickets at a gate, use scissors, sew or build props-you have all the skills you need. Better yet, there is so much to do, you are bound to find something you actually enjoyed doing. At first it looks like everyone else knows what is going on but you. Take the initiative “I am new, and I’m here to help.” We will put you to work straight away at something that is not far outside your comfort zone. It may be just a little outside, and the feeling will pass quickly. It won’t hurt a bit. You will be helping keep YOUR band fees down and have fun doing it. Trust us, we’ve been there.
Join the CHARMS website! Read your emails! This could be said a thousand times and still not be said enough. As the season progresses, you will get multiple messages each day. READ THEM. CHECK YOUR EMAIL DAILY. You may not always completely understand the emails, BUT READ THEM ANYWAY!