Career Spotlight: Band Director

Have you always had a special appreciation for music growing up, and loved participating in band during your younger years? There may be an ideal career where you can teach and conduct music in performances ranging from musical productions to music at graduation ceremonies and sporting events. As a band director, you can lead different types of bands like jazz, marching, or pep. Schools often hire band directors to lead rehearsals and musical performances on campus.

How to Become a Band Director

Today, a band director’s average salary is just under $50,000 per year. Compared to other fields, it isn’t the most well-paying job, but is worth pursuing if it is your passion!

There are several years of musical education and training required to become a band director. Band directors must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in music, music education, or a related field. Studying music education in college will prepare future band directors to effectively teach instrumental skills to young students in grades K-12. Prospective band directors wishing to gain hands-on teaching experience can look into earning a teaching license in their state after finishing their bachelor’s program.

Depending on where you want to teach and work, you may need to obtain a master’s degree or a doctoral music education degree. These degrees are typically required only if you want a higher-level teaching position that may involve advanced concepts in leadership, administrative skills, music theory, and teaching.

Qualities of a Good Band Director

It is crucial to stay on top of your music skills even after earning a music degree and getting a job as a band director. In fact, some positions require that candidates be an expert in at least one musical instrument. Practicing and studying music for an allotted time outside of work and class is highly recommended by universities. Individuals can keep their music skills sharp by taking independent classes, private lessons, or partake in musical extracurricular activities. Much like a lot of other skills, music is one of those things that can go rusty if it isn’t used for a while.

Similar to other teachers, a good band director must be able to deal with people of all ages in a professional manner. Strong administrative skills come in handy when it’s time to grade students, come up with curriculum plans, purchase orders, and manage budgets, for example. Finally, creativity goes a long way in the music field. It helps band directors to effectively teach students new concepts, challenge them without frustrating them, and please the audience.

As is the case with any job, band directors who love what they do and go into work with a positive attitude will shine. They will encourage students to participate in class, ask questions, and try new things!


Schools may place a heavy emphasis on academics, but extracurriculars are just as important for a well-rounded education. Those not excited about sports can explore other activities like joining a band. A competent band director will show these students the ropes to creating and sharing the world of music, while connecting them with others with similar interests.