CHOOSING A CAREER / FEB. 23, 2015
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How to Become a High School Band Director in the US

Roosiehood

High school band directors focus on forming school bands that can offer great and interesting performances. Whether it is a jazz band, orchestra or concert band, they ensure all students have a fair chance to prove their musical talents. If you are passionate about music, and you would love to shape the futures of young people, this could be the career for you.

What Do High School Band Directors Do?

Their duties include:

  • Developing and implementing the high school’s music program
  • Evaluating the musical abilities of the students who are interested in joining various bands
  • Instructing band performances and organizing rehearsals
  • Overseeing the use of band and orchestra instruments
  • Arranging band trips and coordinating the performance of bands in music festivals, community events, school parades and other co-curricular activities
  • Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with band members
  • Ensuring band members are disciplined and well-behaved, in compliance with school rules.

Work Environment

Like most high school educators, band directors typically work during school hours from 7am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. However, they often conduct rehearsals in the evenings and on weekends.

These directors spend their time within the school compound, where they execute their day-to-day duties. The job involves occasional travel, because they must accompany students to music festivals and other events where the bands are to perform.

Salary

What is the annual average salary for high school band directors? Find out below:

Occupation

Annual Wage

High school band director

$37,000

Source: Indeed

Entry Requirements

To become a high school band director, you need to complete the following steps:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in music education – the program is offered in several universities across the country.
  • Obtain a teaching license or certificate from your state’s department of education – to get certified, you must complete a teacher preparation program and pass a certification exam. Visit Teach.org for additional information on certification by state.
  • Get employed as a music teacher and earn at least two years of experience.

As you can see, high school band directors are essentially music teachers who secure promotions to band management after gaining teaching experience.

It is also essential to note that you don’t need a teaching certificate to be employed in a private school.

Important Qualities

To be a competent high school bad director, you need:

  • In-depth musical knowledge
  • The ability to play various band instruments
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong leadership and supervisory skills
  • The ability to implement policies and procedures
  • Good skills in public relations
  • Sound knowledge of state laws governing school bands
  • The ability to motivate people
  • Good planning, coordinating and organizing skills.

Career Development

After gaining teaching experience and getting hired as a high school band director, undertake the following career development activities:

  • Join the American School Band Directors Association. As a member, you will be able to access the association’s events, as well as earn a certificate of membership.
  • Attend band directing workshops that are organized by institutions such as Capital University in Ohio.
  • Pursue a master’s degree in music education or curriculum development and instruction

Job Opportunities

Apart from private and public high schools, some high school band directors are also hired by school districts, where they oversee the district’s school band programs.

What next after band directing? Well, with more experience and an advanced degree, you can progress to become the fine arts coordinator of a school district. You can also break into the commercial music industry, where you can become the music director of a professional band.

Finally, you can expect to face some competition for job opportunities. Schools typically have one band director, meaning the number of opportunities equals the number of high schools in the country which was 27,427 in 2014. However, since you must first become a music teacher, it can be easier to rise to this position, as long as you can demonstrate your ability to lead and your passion for music to the school’s administrators.

So, if you want to help students discover their musical talents, this is the career you should chase.

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