By John Gardner
A few years ago, I was tasked with putting together a list of responsibilities of the head director at my school. This is a generic approximation of the band director position in a moderately large high school.
Note: 150+ extra trips to the school for over 700 hours, equivalent to 18 – 40hr weeks.
Although there is some overlap, the above chart does NOT include the 180 school days of time/teaching.
Show Theme / Colors / Logo
Show Shirts; including color, design, vendor.
Basketball Shirts; including color, design, vendor.
Summer Parade Shirts; including color, engraving, design, vendor.
Color Guard Outfit(s), Flag design + performance props
Marching band uniforms; color, style, material, accessories, company, when + financing.
What class / Contest Classifications, i.e. Scholastic, Festival, Open, BOA, MidStates
Overseeing all contest logistics
Marching Band, Winter Guard, Indoor Percussion
Photographer for Band Pictures
Major Trip. 3 Hotel nights. Last trip cost @$83,000. Includes decisions about who could go/not go based on payment levels. Refunds? After trip collections? Also 22hr bus travel and night-time hotel supervision during stay.
Show Props. Organizing, overseeing design, construction, implementation.
Assembly of carts for front ensemble.
Music and design adjustments and rehearse and clean a Class A competitive marching show.
Recruiting, hiring, funding drill designer, music arranger, Color Guard choreographer, specialty coaches and field instructor.
Communicate/coordinate with the middle school directors.
Overseeing Instrument Purchase Plan and Repair Contract for the Corporation
Seating Charts / Part Assignments
Marching Band inside
Pre-Game Marching Assignments / Select Music / Write Drill
Marching Drill Assignments
Multiple Fall and Spring Concert Bands
Basketball Bands (2 bands x @6 games ea)
Multiple Fall and Spring Concert Bands
Fall Marching Band for Holiday Concert
Jazz Band for 4-6 performances
Spring Concert Band Tour
Band office work
Take care of reeds, oils, sticks, and other supplies students purchase.
Make minor instrument repairs. Coordinate more significant repairs with the music store rep, including pickup, return — and keeping students/parents informed of status.
Reserve buses for all band trips; parades, contests (see above).
Complete Facility Use paperwork for each time during the year that you need the gym or auditorium for rehearsals and performances.
Collaborate instrumental purchase plan with other directors and the corporation’s financial person
Register and arrange payment for all competitions, plus acquire field trip approval and buses.
Maintain grade book.
Write weekly schedules / TWIBs. (This Week In Band), plus daily Band Camp or rehearsal schedule.
Write and publish band handbook.Register for all contests, parades and festivals.
Keep attendance records for school plus rehearsals, performances.
Make Accompaniment and practice mp3’s for individuals and for playing test practice
Write, transcribe, transpose music to fill in special parts for marching, concert, jazz music
Grant writing School Policies Compliance
Oversee school budget, complete paperwork for both deposits and withdrawals and pay vendors
Design and print programs for concerts and banquets.
Determine and create awards, plaques and other recognitions for end of year awards banquet.
Maintain “needs” list for when someone asks, for grant-writing, or when opportunities arise
Publicity: Newspapers, school announcements, website, email blasts, etc.
Maintain online calendar for rehearsals, performances
Scan, post all pep band music for download to student iPads
Maintain social media sites: web/blog, Facebook, twitter, YouTube, instagram, google+, etc.
Maintain band data base with home and cell phones and email addresses for multiple parent/guardian families plus students with separate contact info.
Design reports/seating charts (marching band, 5 concert bands, combined bands, graduation band) / parade block assignments/drill chart assignments/pre-game assignments/squads/basketball band assignments…or labels for music folders, shirts, mailings.
Organize a pre-solo/ensemble contest practice recital
Organize free piano accompanists for students unable to pay
Schedule, conduct and analyze playing tests or challenges. Assign seating for ensemble balance.
Update daily classroom announcements: Include standards, birthdays, calendar updates and enough jokes to keep students watching. Music accompaniment a plus.
Keep classroom presentable and clutter free for use by a variety of classes, ensembles and outside groups
Find ways to meet state and/or national standards without sacrificing the performance expectation overload
Create, distribute, collect health forms and ensure 100% compliance and that forms travel with the band.
Supervise some of the auxiliary ensembles; drumline, sideline ensemble, winter percussion, color guard, winter guard
Approve creative recommendations for specialty uniforms, flags, props, etc and oversee construction.
Collaboration with other Staff
Coordinate with choir director for rehearsals involving students in both groups
Sharing instrumentalists with show choir backup ensemble, school musicals
Share room and equipment (i.e. keyboards, megaphones, uniforms, instruments) with other teachers, classes and groups
Guidance Counselors for student scheduling and to encourage promotion of the band program
School required faculty meetings, including mandatory training, department collaboration
IEP and other school meetings on behalf of individual students
Band Parent Organization, including Executive Board, Officers Only and General meetings.
Collaborating with individual fee collection
Dealing with personality clashes and chaperone issues
Overseeing special committees; i.e contest, uniform, major fundraising
Design teams (drill/choreographer, music, uniform/equipment design) for marching band, winter guard and indoor percussion shows
School mandated parent/teacher conferences
Meetings requested by students or parents
School Board meetings involving related budgets and programs
Make emergency judgment call decisions / calls when a student is injured or having medical issues in rehearsal or away at competitions.
Select Drum Major(s): Includes training, practicing, recruiting judges and providing selection criteria
Organize conducting, college prep or leadership classes/seminars
Organize overnight trips (i.e. Disney). Select travel consultant, solicit board approval, promote/oversee payments.
Solo and Ensemble
Attend Solo/Ensemble festivals at District or State.
Encourage and organize solo and ensemble participants, recruit pianists, ensure adequate practice and provide most participants free individual coaching sessions
Assist in individual (participation fees, pay-to-play, fair share) collections.
Write letters of recommendation for scholarships, college/job applications
Assist with auditions for area honor bands and specialty groups
I’m confident this list is NOT exhaustive, and would love to add to this list with other activities/responsibilities you experience or know about in your school.
Thanks for reading.
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