• Jennifer E. Rose

Advice for the New Band Director

Updated: May 6, 2020

As a new band director, I wish others would have told me a few things.

I am no legendary conductor, I did not study with legendary conductors, nor did I study to become a band director. My degrees are in composition. Due to this fact, I thought I was at a disadvantage because I didn't take methods classes or education classes. I was wrong. Somehow I passed the Oklahoma teaching certification test and earned certification (a bit concerned it was so easy). So I called my two best friends who I knew would have all the answers I needed. Katy earned her degree in Music Education and Heather earned composition degrees as well, but became certified to teach through the same avenue as I. I thought Katy would be the expert because of all the informative classes she had as a music education student. I feel I must preface this next statement with the fact that Katy is an amazing musician and very intelligent, she retained everything humanly possible taught in her methods and education classes. However, she wasn't able to answer MANY of my questions. Here's why...

You imagine it will look like this...

Upon graduation, you believe you will enter into a program and either maintain the excellence of that program or follow in the footsteps of Mr. Holland and revitalize a program and create a legend of yourself. Then you begin the interview process, you take an offer you simply can't refuse. You begin with...what? Where do you begin? Ah, I know...the music. I will program Holst's First Suite in Eb, Respighi's Pines of Rome, and Whitacre's...well, anything of Eric Whitacre.

If you are brave (some would say naïve or maybe even dumb) enough to take a position where you are the only band director, there's so much to do: music and drill for the Fall marching show, summer band clinics, learn your schedule, take an equipment inventory, learn school policies, paperwork procedures, budget planning, find a printer you don't have to walk two miles to use, hang posters, learn who your real bosses are, make folders, find field equipment, decide upon your setup, kill all the spiders lurking in all the crevices of your "new" office, and don't forget about your students. How many students do you have? What grades? Grades...oh my, how do I do grades? Wrong grades, but yeah, how do I do grades?

What?! I have to teach a class called what?

I'm not a classroom teacher, why would you do that to me? Why would you do that to students? And they don't want to be in Music Appreciation? Well #$&@! How am I supposed to manage all that...