Junior High Band
Survival Tips

Avoid Burnout

The demands on band directors are many. High school directors are typically asked to provide a marching band for parades and half-time shows, concert bands of all levels, Jazz Bands, pep bands, and, in some cases, an orchestra for the annual musical. And, whether expressed or not, all of the groups are expected to be the best in the state. No wonder so many band directors burn out long before retirement age.

It’s important to conserve your energy and budget your time to ensure longevity. There are limits to what one person can do. Reducing and simplifying might be the only way to survive.

One of the reasons I moved from the high school to the junior high was to avoid burnout. When I made the move, my annual wage stayed to same, but my hourly wage doubled because I only had to be at the school half as long.

To those directors who are married to their band programs, who hold extra rehearsals before and after school, who are with their students on the weekends giving private lessons and working with honor bands, I say, in order to avoid burnout, sometimes, directors need to be ‘loosed from their bands.’

Video Disclaimer

The attached videos are not perfect examples of how each tune should be played. They are recordings of junior high students, some of whom have had their instruments for only a few months. Also, they are not professional recordings. They were taken by band parents using home equipment and naturally focusing on their own children.

I include them for two reasons: (1) To give you an idea of what the arrangements are like, and (2) To illustrate the kind of performance you can expect from your junior high students.