Communicating with Parents about SmartMusic

Introducing SmartMusic into your music program? One of the most important details is effectively communicating to parents about the benefits SmartMusic offers your students.

In my experience, the best way to introduce parents to SmartMusic is through a live demonstration event. Seeing SmartMusic in action makes it clear to everyone – even those parents who’ve never played an instrument – how SmartMusic can help every student. The educator’s kit includes several resources that can help you as you plan your own demonstration.

For this week’s blog post I’d like to augment the educator’s kit by sharing some personal tips I’ve gathered from conducting several SmartMusic demonstrations for parents.

Scheduling and Preparation

First, secure the location, the necessary equipment (LCD projector, amplification), and Internet connection well in advance.

While it’s tempting to make the demonstration a part of another event (like “Introduction to the Instruments Night” or an open house), I’ve had the best luck dedicating the entire event to SmartMusic; its best when you’re not pressed for time.

Establishing the date with as much advance notice as possible will result in better attendance. Once you’ve set the date, advertise the event as far ahead as you can. Most music teachers have some type of calendar that they send home with students at the beginning of the school year.

As the date approaches, start promoting the event; I’d suggest sending a letter to parents at least two weeks ahead of time. In addition, remind your students during class, advertise it on your school website, and put it in the school newsletter or email; anything you can think of to get the word out.

The Demonstration

As I said above, the secret is to simply show SmartMusic in action, rather than to talk about it. In addition, I think it’s very important that you personalize its use. Parents will be most enthusiastic when they learn how their children will be using SmartMusic. Make sure you are able to explain, in your own words, specifically how students in your class will benefit from using SmartMusic. This, combined with your passion for SmartMusic, will make the difference between an adequate presentation and an effective one.

I’d suggest having students demonstrate SmartMusic and that you mix it up as much as possible, with a variety of instruments, voices, and musical styles. After a few examples you might explain that when students practice with an accompaniment they understand how their parts fit in.

Demonstrate what it is like to practice without SmartMusic and then with SmartMusic with assessment activated. It is powerful for parents to see the green and red notes and hear a recording of the performance. Slow down the tempo, put on the click track, click on a note for a fingering, etc, being sure to indicate that students can practice “at their own pace” and receive meaningful feedback so they can help themselves.

Finally, show how student assessments and recordings appear in the gradebook component. Describe how this information can be shared with students and parents, makes better use of actual teacher/student contact time, and helps you provide individualized attention to each student.

You might also:

  • Mention that SmartMusic is currently in use in fifty states, by thousands of teachers, and thousands more students – as well as in colleges and by professional musicians. While it is cutting-edge technology it is clearly not a passing fad.
  • Comment that at $3 a month SmartMusic is a great value.


Not all of your parents are going to make it to the demonstration so it is a good idea to have a packet that can be sent home with students that contains a follow-up letter and materials given out at the demonstration.


With a little planning and rehearsal, your event can be very successful AND fun. Let us know how it’s going for you, and share some of your ideas by clicking on “Comments” below.

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