Advice, Helpful things that were shared with me as a young band director that I want to share with you.
Take care of your self and you will be happy. If you have a fulfilling life you do not have to have the highest score at a festival to be happy. If someone is upset with you at work it does not crush your entire life. Let's be honest, you are replaceable. If you left today, it may inconvenience the school but they would find a replacement for you. In the end, you only matter to the school while you are working there.
If you give up your life goals, your family, your health, your financial, emotional, and spiritual stability, your education they will not give it back to you. They will not help you. You will be thrown to the side as waste.
Sorry to be such a downer that no one cares for you, but if you are not willing to care for your self it doesn't matter what others do.
If you are happy, you will retain more students because they like you more. If you are happy your interactions with the administration will be better, your interactions with colleagues will be different and you will be more understanding of them and what they need.
If you the director, are emotionally fulfilled outside of school your interactions with students will be better and you will be offended less by the stupid things high school and middle schools school students say and do.
I am going to discuss five ways to help yourself, which in turn helps your music program. Physical health, relationship/mental health, financial health and spiritual health.
When is it going to be important to you to take care of yourself physically? You always seem to be too busy for you. Go to the gym, or join an adult sports league, go dancing with your beautiful wife, husband, or significant other. Go hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, or just go for a walk.
You are important now, do not wait until that moment that never seems to come that you can start living for your self. Take time now to live a healthy life. Take time out of your busy schedule to go to the gym, this can also take care of some of your other needs like having friends outside of music and maintaining healthy relationships outside of school.
Have you ever found yourself neglecting some of the relationships in your life for work? It is easy to do and even easier to justify. I will repeat myself but this is only a job. A job you love but still just a job. A job that will throw you away and spit you out if you do not take care of yourself and your personal relationships. I am not just talking about spouses and significant others. Think about your children.
Did you go to that dance recital? How about some of those soccer games? Everybody is going to have to miss something but your kids will remember forever that you came and supported them or that you never came to anything because you were too busy for their life.
Plan your schedule so can be home for your kids birthday party. Go to swim meets, even though the band is not playing at it. Take your wife on a date. Spend time with the ones you love but remember this very important thing, talk about things other than music. Yes, share your feelings about work but then get out of your own self-absorbed life and listen to others feelings. Talk about them.
You cannot rely on your interactions with students to fulfill you mentally. You need someone to talk to maybe it is your wife or husband, preferably not another music teacher. Someone outside of music that can say to you that is not normal or you really need to take time for your self.
Have you ever thought I will do that in the summer, then when summer comes you are too busy mentally getting prepared for summer band or your fall show? If you want to read a book spend some time doing it now. Find time to do woodworking now, go fishing every time you can, leave work on time one day a week just so you make sure to do what makes you happy.
Everyone needs a hobby that does not involve work. Nothing worse than a computer programmer that comes home from work and spends the entire night on the computer. You need a hobby that does not include teaching music. I have a brass quintet. Yes, it involves music but it does not involve kids. I get together with adults and we have fun playing music. You need to find something that you can personally enjoy outside of the classroom.
Do you make enough money to survive? Do you have to work to make more money? I certainly do, I tune pianos on top of being a music teacher. Why do I like piano tuning? It works with my schedule. When I have time I tune pianos when I do not have time I say no. There are very few times that tunings are emergencies (mostly other music teachers who forgot to schedule tunings for the festival until the night before). I get to be self-employed and it really helps to bring in extra money quickly.
I found an extra job that works around my actual career. I do not have time to work at Walmart every weekend or the many other part-time jobs around. If you are not making enough find a way to make more money.
I got great advice one time. Why work for a hundred hours to make a thousand dollars when you can work ten and make just as much. Find a way to make more money per hour for less work. Teach private lessons instead of work at Walmart. Teach group lessons instead of private, more kids equals more money per hour. You already write music and arrangements, sell them. There are many online retailers that allow you to sell your music with them for minimal fees. I use many of them and sell on my own page all of the music I write.
Setup your own recording studio, you have the ears and expertise to do it. Start charging people for your amazing skills and you can make the extra money you need.
One of the best days of my career was the first royalty check I received. I made enough money to take my wife to dinner, it was awesome. Someone bought my music. That was a successful day.
Stop working harder and work smarter to make enough money to survive. You are very skilled and can make a lot more money using those skills.
One of the most fulfilling parts of my life comes from serving others. We do it every day at school, but you should try being a cub scout leader, it is fun, enjoyable, and fulfilling. I am now a scout leader. My sons are both scouts, I get to spend time with them doing a lot of the activities we talked about to make your self personally happy, like swimming, hiking, camping, and of course eating hogs dogs cooked over a fire.
Serving others makes me happy. I enjoy helping a neighbor move, not because I want them to leave but because I care for them. Go to your local food bank and volunteer. Even better have your band do it so you can help others and teach your students to do the same thing.
I repeat myself from earlier. Teaching music is just a job. It is a vehicle for living your life. If you did not teach music you could make money some other way and still have a fulfilling life. Be happy now, be who you are and remember to take care of your self. Of course, it feels good to get a superior rating at the state festival. It is awesome when your student comes and tells you they are going to be a music teacher just like you. It is amazing to teach music but it is a job. There is more to life than your job.
Experienced band teacher, author, clinician and musician. Brian has a Masters in conducting from Sam Houston Sate University through the American Band College. He was quarter Finalist for Grammy "Educator of the Year" 2018