Episode 61: Perspectives with Peyton Grover and Shane Lemanski

In our annual Perspectives series, we have Peyton Grover and Shane Lemanski, two first year teachers in Texas with some great insights into their success during a challenging first year.

Episode 60: Gary Williams – Part 2

Join Gary Williams for part 2 of our chat about honor band, encouraging students, and general band talk.

Episode 59: Gary Williams – Part 1

In this episode Gary Williams joins me for a great chat about building a healthy culture in the band program, building relationships, and general band talk. Mr. Williams is the head band director at Cockrill Middle School and his band has performed at The Midwest Clinic and the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention.

Episode 57: Percussion Basics – Part 2

My friend and colleague Jordan Stern stops by in this episode to talk about some of the tips and tricks for percussion that every band director should know.

Episode 56: Percussion Basics – Part 1

My friend and colleague Jordan Stern stops by in this episode to talk about some of the tips and tricks for percussion that every band director should know.

Mini-Episode 2: Hierarchy of Listening

In this mini-episode I talk about the importance of having a hierarchy of listening for success as well as walking through my own hierarchy that I use when working with bands.

Also, I mentioned some amazing phrasing on classical guitar. The piece is Asturias by Isaac Albéniz as performed by Ana Vidovic (you can find it here).

Episode 55: Interviewing

In this episode I discuss the ins and outs of being a skilled interviewee. Starting with what to do before the interview, and covering the interview itself and the post-interview process, I give tips and tricks to help you find success (and a job).

Here are some sample interview questions for you to practice with:

  1. Tell me about your ensemble experiences.
  2. Why are you interested in working at (school/company/district)?
  3. How do you teach an ensemble to perform in tune?
  4. Describe to me the proper method for tone production?
  5. How would teach beginners?
  6. Do you perform yourself?  If so, tell me a little bit about that.
  7. What is your philosophy of teaching?
  8. Do you have a system of counting you prefer?  If so, why?
  9. Describe your techniques for teaching sightreading.
  10. How would you characterize your teaching style?
  11. (Choir) Describe your piano training and background.
  12. (Band) How comfortable are you with your opposite instrument group and why do you feel that way?
  13. (Orchestra) How would you go about rehearsing a full orchestra?
  14. (Choir) do you prefer moveable or fixed ‘do’ and why?
  15. How would recruit students to the program?
  16. (Elementary) How familiar are you with Kodaly/Orff methods? 
  17. What do you think is the role of music in the overall campus?
  18. How will you help to raise test scores on this campus?
  19. This campus is a Title I school, how will you approach teaching music effectively in this environment?
  20. How do you assess students?
  21. What do you consider your strongest assess as a teacher?  Weakest?
  22. What rules to have in your classroom?
  23. What is your philosophy of classroom management?
  24. How have past jobs prepared you for the position you are now seeking?
  25. If you were developing a curriculum, what topics would receive the most attention?
  26. If a parent called you to say that their child could not attend a very important performance because the child would be out of town to attend a grandparent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, what would you say or do?
  27. Describe an unpleasant, stressful, on-the-job situation in the past and how you dealt with it.
  28. Do you feel that your college grades reflect your ability?  Why or why not?
  29. What kind of people rub you the wrong way?
  30. What does success mean to you?
  31. How do you define success for your students?
  32. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  33. What time demands would you make on students outside of the school day? 
  34. What role does competition play in school music?
  35. Why did you decide to become a music educator (choir/band/orch director or general specialist)?
  36. What are the main purposes of music education?
  37. What about teaching do you most enjoy?
  38. What role would you like parents to play in your program?
  39. Describe your personality to me.
  40. What are your goals for the program here?
  41. How should your position fit into the overall campus faculty/staff?
  42. What are your hobbies outside your job?
  43. What are you reading?
  44. (Band/Choir) What are your feelings about musicals?  Should they be part of a middle school curriculum?
  45. How do you handle scheduling conflict with other school groups/events?
  46. Do you believe students can be involved in more than one activity?  If so, how do you navigate sharing students?
  47. What are your plans for future self-improvement?
  48. How do you feel about the time commitments necessary to run a successful music program?
  49. What are the top three things that influence your selection of instructional repertoire?
  50. Tell me about a situation where a student challenged your authority and how you handled that situation.
  51. Describe a time when you had a disagreement with a colleague and how you resolved the situation.
  52. Describe a particularly rewarding experience in music/music education.
  53. (Choir) What are your feelings about pop or swing groups?
  54. (Band) what are your feelings about jazz band/mariachi?
  55. How do you go about planning lessons for the year?
  56. What about teaching do you enjoy the most?  The least?
  57. If a parent came to you and complained that you are not meeting the needs of their child, how would you respond?

Episode 54: Scott Rush – Part 2

Part 2 of my chat with Scott Rush. Mr. Rush’s expertise and insight is invaluable for any young teachers.

Tuning with Technology – Now Available!

Our new book (Tuning with Technology) is now available for purchase. Just go to to order. Purchase orders and school cards are welcome, in addition to personal purchases. If you have any questions, email [email protected]

Episode 53: Scott Rush – Part 1

In this series we welcome Scott Rush to the show. Mr. Rush is is the lead writer for the “Habits” music education series published by GIA Publications and is the former Director of Bands at Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.  He is currently the Director of Fine and Performing Arts In Dorchester School District Two and is the conductor of The Charleston Wind Symphony. In this episode we talk about advice for young teachers and navigating the collaborative nature of band.

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