Not every musician rocks stadiums, belts out an aria on Broadway or even halfway fills a nightclub. Some brave the daylight to earn a living while many musicians work at night and keep very odd hours. One such musical day job is a band director. These individuals work in middle school and high schools teaching instrumental music. They help students find and refine their musical talents. Applicants for band director positions should have at least a bachelor’s degree in music performance or music education. Although students without a music degree should have extensive music coursework in college, degrees in teaching are also acceptable. Students learn music theory, how to teach music and how to play various instruments in collegiate music programs. Band directors must be licensed to teach music in public schools. Licensure can be obtained in the latter part of an education student’s college career. It can also be obtained by alternative means. In alternative methods, individuals without an education degree study for exams that once passed prove they can teach. Schools tend to have several band directors. This allows them to divide the students and work with sections individually or in small groups of similar instruments.

Band director

Band director positions that supervise the work of other band directors require directly related experience. Positions that are supervised by other band directors may or may not require experience. The chief function of a band director is to instruct instrumental music courses for middle school and high school students.  As they gain more experience, band directors teach students how to play instruments and help them develop their talent. Usually students start band in the sixth or seventh grade and can continue through high school. The variety of music courses depends on the size of the school and school district.   Most schools have bands composed of woodwinds, brass and percussion while some schools have orchestras and jazz bands. Students typically participate in marching band in the fall and concert band in the spring. They learn songs to be performed during halftime at school football games in marching band. The band works on one show they take to an annual contest where judges rate the performance. The best bands move onto higher levels of competition. Practice schedules may include late summer rehearsals. The marching band provides accompaniment for some of the dance team’s songs at pep rallies and football games in case the school has a dance team. Common dance team songs include band arrangements of The Knack’s “My Sharona” and 2 Unlimited’s “Are You Ready for This?” In concert band, students prepare for a similar competition. This time of year, performances are on a concert stage rather than a football field. The music is very different. Marching songs tend to feature high and low brass and percussion instruments while concert songs feature woodwinds and high brass. The band director prepares students for these competitions. The band director begins by selecting music that is appropriate to the strengths of the band. Sections with stronger players are highlighted, and sections with weak players are given easier parts.