I have always espoused the idea of making phone calls or sending notes home to parents or guardians when students show real progress toward – or achieve – a significant accomplishment. Finding something praiseworthy for the child who will someday sit principal clarinet in the All-Galaxy Honor Band is easy! There’s lots to compliment. But I think the student who finally made it through an entire percussion lesson without dropping their sticks, or the trombonist who for the first time made it through an entire band rehearsal with perfect posture, deserve those notes or calls just as much, if not more. Here’s what will happen: That night, that trombonist’s parent or guardian will call him into the kitchen and say, “Steve, we got a call from your band director today. She said something about your posture and that she is really proud of you. And so am I!” Steve will never remember what you wrote in that note, but he will always remember how you made him feel. Always. 

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”