Happy Teacher Appreciation week!
Band directors are some of the most overworked and under-appreciated teachers out there. The ultimate Jack of all trades, band directors must know a bit about every instrument, music theory, and music history (not to mention possessing the skills necessary to teach all of these). They must balance time management, lesson planning, fundraising, after-school rehearsals, and concert preparation. The hardest part? Turning a cacophony of sound into beautiful music.
Here are 9 things you can do to make your band director’s job a bit easier:
- Bring a pencil – and use it! Nobody can remember everything, so write down missed notes, accidentals, and definitions so you don’t have to bother your band director or stand partner when you forget.
- Pick up your trash. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I’m always shocked at how many reed wrappers, empty cork grease tubes, and other miscellaneous garbage is on the floor in some band rooms. Your band director’s job is to teach music, not to pick up after you. Be respectful of your classroom.
- Don’t treat stands and chairs like furniture. Don’t prop your feet on stands, climb on chairs, or use any other equipment for anything other than its intended purpose. Most band budgets don’t have money to spend on items broken by careless students.
- Practice your part when your band director is working with other sections. If your band director is working with another section, practice your part by silently fingering along or blowing air through your instrument. Listen so you can learn how the other instruments fit into the music.
- Be on time. I’m sure most graduates of any band program are familiar with the following adage: “If you’re early you’re on time. If you’re on time you’re late. If you’re late you’re dead.”
- Practice regularly. Band is a team effort, so make sure you are practicing regularly. You should always know your part and be able to play your music. Band is no different than your other classes, except instead of required reading or math problems, your homework is practicing.
- Follow the leader. When the band director is on the podium or at the front of the classroom, you should be quiet and ready to play. When the band director stops, don’t keep playing. Band is an epic game of follow the leader, with the leader being your band director.
- Make sure your instrument is in working condition. You’re not doing yourself or your band director any favors if your instrument is broken. Take instruments in to be repaired so that you don’t let down your section or your band.
- Do your best. Band directors don’t expect perfection. Show up on time with a good attitude and be respectful of your classmates and surroundings. Music is a lifelong journey, and you are lucky to have a band director willing to help you along the way!
Be sure to thank your band director and music teachers who have helped you during your musical journey!