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.

Episode 52: Tips for Improving Intonation

In this episode, my colleague Jordan Stern and I discuss general tips for improving ensemble intonation, including working to develop aural skills in students, exercises to improve pitch matching in the band, and common pitfalls. If you are interested in the exercises we discuss, you can get more information at

Enter the giveaway at

Episode 51: Robert Selaiden – Part 3

The final episode in my series with Robert Selaiden, fantastic band director at Leander High School.

Episode 50: Robert Selaiden – Part 2

More of my conversation with Robert Selaiden, incredible band director at Leander High School, as he shares what he wishes he knew earlier in his career.

Episode 49: Robert Selaiden – Part 1

In this episode Robert Selaiden, incredible band director at Leander High School, shares what he wishes he knew earlier in his career.

Episode 48: Perspectives with Mark Connor – Part 3

The final part in our series with Mark Connor (composer, music educator, and podcaster extraordinaire). In this episode we talk recruiting, changing instruments, and other fun aspects of the band director life.

Episode 47: Perspectives with Mark Connor – Part 2

Mark J. Connor is a composer, conductor, and educator whose main focus is writing for concert band, with works appearing on several state lists. His band music has enjoyed performances at several state music educator conferences, including TMEA, and his music is published by RWS Music CompanyGrand Mesa Music, and Alry Publications. ​

He also hosts an amazing podcast (Everything Band). Join us for our discussion about his perspectives in going back into the band directing world.