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What does a Band Teacher do?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2018
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A band teacher is usually distinguished from music professors who instruct at the college level. A position teaching band typically refers to the elementary and secondary school level and could demand a wide range of teaching skills and possible responsibilities. Depending on a music program’s scope and funding, a band teacher may wear many hats or a few, while encouraging young musicians to become more skilled in their instruments.

In elementary schools, the teacher will teach beginning band. This may be restricted to learning on brass, woodwinds and percussion instruments or some programs also offer instruction on stringed instruments, possibly including guitar. For beginning learners, band teachers develop a curriculum, based on a set of preferred instructional manuals, and begin teaching kids how to play their instruments and learn to read music.

Elementary teachers may have more advanced studies for students who have mastered the beginning elements, and they might have two bands or more that give a few performances each year. Some schools have such strong programs that additional bands are formed like jazz bands, and band teachers might also teach choir. They may do this at several elementary schools that exist within a district or be employed by a single school.

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At the junior high level, the learning continues and some students have begun to demonstrate strong talent. There may still be beginner classes, but the band teacher also instructs advanced classes. Some schools have marching bands, jazz bands, jazz vocals, orchestras and many other combinations. The teacher would be responsible for designing curriculum for the different combinations, while possibly devoting time before and after school to classes for special classes or activities.

High school is similar, except there tends to be more performance opportunities. In all cases, band teachers have to design curriculum that includes decisions about what pieces will be performed. The band teacher may also take students on field trips where they can learn more about music or undergo adjudication. Additional performance could include participation in musicals, marching bands, rallies, or in other settings.

A band teacher can expect to work a lot of hours, both before and after school, and over the weekends. Most work full-time days and may offer early morning or after school classes, as well. Also, the teacher has to be present at all performances, and this can mean devoting evenings and part of many weekends to being with students. Additionally, teachers must grade their students and may need to provide discipline in accordance with the school’s policies.

At all levels, some things a band teacher might do fall outside of the musical realm. They may need to advocate for funds to keep their programs going, and they could be head of musical booster societies to raise money devoted to band costs. Anything like field trips require involving the students in fundraising projects, also. While some teachers have very well funded programs, others may be constantly in need of money or may view their careers as potentially short-lived and liable to be cut off at any moment.

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