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Band Director Quotes 

Below are quotes/references that I’ve heard over the years from band directors/instructors. The quotes below caught my attention and inspired me to become a better director for my students.

"Stop, commit and Go. Let the ensemble know why you are stopping."

"Hear everything and give visual feedback."

"Use clear directions that don't show confusion."

"Less talking from the conductor and more playing from the performers."

"Your head shouldn't be in the score but the score should be in your head."

"Be the composer advocate."

"Criticize the section not the individual player.....Confront the instrument , not the player."

"Know when to work a section and have the sense to move on."

"Show performers where to listen." 

"Be able to demonstrate instruments with your voice/instrument of what you want to hear."

"Preparation, Implementation and Evaluation. "

"Playing the music is the easy, cleaning the music is the hard part." 

"Be successful on and off the field"

"Pound the table, talk loud and abolishes when you don't have the facts." (Lawyers)   

"Is the music going GROW your students or if it is beyond reach of your students.”

"Back off whole notes, and half notes, let the melody speak and counter melody speak second."

Trill more open than close.... Surgical Articulation ....... Maintain Integrity 

"Uniform approach in your articulation."

"Right or wrong, close is still wrong. You have to be right on."

"Work towards the emotions not just the notes."

"Success comes with hatred. The new way of learning."

"The style of the air flow is the style of the music."

"Recipe for a March: 1) Tongue harder than you think you should. 2) Separate more than you think you should. 3) Exaggerate dynamics."

"Don't conduct bigger then what you are."

"The prep is in the speed of the tempo of the song." 

"Let the arms do the work, less moving of the torso."

"Don't sing while conducting because it tends to block or cut off the ears or hearing."

"Don't soften your articulation when the get slower."

"Put your finger on page; does it say play with bad sounds." 

"Put your finger on page; does it say play with bad sounds." 

"My job is to teach music, not just play the notes on that page." 


"Sax make sure you can hear every part of the music." (When Sax Play TOO Play) 


"Make it hard to spot the General by working (hard) like a soldier." 


"Don’t breathe at the bar."


"You have to be more productive in your rest counting." 

"No strict tempo(lyrical) to play the music like you are not reading a book or more acting or saying a line to play. Or Conversation being expressive when you are angry, happy, or want to say something exciting. "

"Why I teach: This is fun to do, this is what how I feel, share that feeling with your students and audience." 


"Band is the most politically correct thing in the school. Great Heart and Dedication, work hard and be a part of what we do. Sports: jump certain way, run a certain speed, score amount of point." 

"Tone over volume."


"Clarinets Low Reg: Play TIL your fingers vibrate." 


"Accolade Success with mediocre effort." 


"Comparison will be made when there are more than one band present." 


"Accolade uccess with mediocre effort."


"One player’s selfish attitude can poison a locker room and make it hard, if not impossible, to establish teamwork." – Dean Smith


"History won’t be kind to me if anyone don’t write it."

"Gunter Schuller: "7 different kinds of hearing: harmony, pitch and intonation, dynamics, timbre, rhythm and articulation, and balance and orchestration aspect."  


"Get inside the sound of the conical Brass. Get inside the sound of the people best to you." 


"Tuning is an aural exercise, not a visual one."


"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." John Q. Adams 


"Passion for what we do is the most powerful tool for motivating all students, and it will strike a chord with those who see themselves in our shoes." B.Domorest 

"When you see something bad or awful or horrible in your life. Maybe we are just viewing it in the wrong octave." 


"Trying meaning that you fail with Honor."


"Do what will make your band grow in numbers and quality. Competition is ego gratification." 


"Wolverines stay together, strive to never fail." 


"I sometimes fell short of being the best, but I never fell short of giving it my best." 

"Determination and grit are always more important than talent."


"Tonight, you will have to be your very best. You must rise above your fears, your doubts, and your fatigue. No matter how dark it gets, you must complete the mission. This is what separates you from everyone else." 


"Center of the horn air ... relax don't force it." 

"Don't close down the embouchure when you release the sounds." 


"Twice as loud when you are in tune...the harmonics line up." 


"Find a paremeter....(find a spot anywhere) the volume should stay the same."


"Train like athletic, perform like an artist. "


"Don't react, anticipate....just respond."


"A marching band must be a concert band in motion."

"Light tonguing: Tongue should bounce off the air stream." 


"Dynamics are exciting when you play them correctly."


"Try to keep transitions counts even (8's)" : Drill writing notes


"Music sounds the same across (dead line)." 


Trombone: "On a slow song move the slide faster so that you wouldn't here the glissando in the sound." 


Solos: "Always play with confidence. Ignore the dynamics and play out."

"Be ready mouth wise before you play."


"Search and destroy. Searching for the note and destroyed it." 


“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them — a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.” — Gerald Ford, former President, United States of America

"The good man is the excellent musician, because he gives forth perfect harmony, not with his lyre or other instruments but with the whole of his life." Plato


"A bad sound is ALWAYS a bad sound regardless of how loud or soft it is.  Therefore, ALWAYS play with the most beautiful sound you can make on your instrument regardless of the volume."


"No matter what mistake you make, the band goes on!"

"Even if you play all the notes wrong, play them with the best tone you possibly can."


"This one has been said already, but I like to summarize it by saying "long notes have life."


"Overdo all dynamic contrast. If you think there is too much difference between your louds and softs, you audience will probably think it is just right. (Sometimes I go into this analogy of an actor on stage wearing makeup. Up close they look ridiculous but 100 feet away and they look natural)."


"When a great show comes together visually and musically, the reward is an emotional experience for the audience....As the creativity increases, certain corps and bands are developing signature styles of their own."

"The more I practice, the better I get.

The better I get, the slayer they are. 

The slayer they are, the easier they are

The easier they are, the greater my threat." 


Leadership: "Problem solving skills and effective communication earn the leaders trust and credibility."


Leadership: "Listening always come before speaking."


Leadership: "The measure of a man is what he does with power." 


Leadership: "When we stop growing, we stop leading. When we stop sacrificing, we stop succeeding." 


"I like to use Eddie Green's description and explanation of the resonant release. The throat, oral cavity, embouchure and face remain still."


"Kiss the note "Goodbye" - don't kick it." 


"For sound: let it float away, no tongue stopping."


"TAH with t being attack, a being sustain, and using h as a release, even using ha as a hard release. The feeling is as the h sounds they breathe in, which is what most corps do to teach releases."


"Air is always moving - breathing into prep, pushing out to play, breathing in to release/prep for next attack." 

"Heard from a clinician "give the note to silence"


This might be a little deep but I'll say it because band directors are all about some deep stuff: "Respect the beginning and end of things." -Rex Richardson 


"There's a lot of emphasis on articulation, attacks but the release is just as important."


"Legato is a style, play smooth and connected.  Tenuto is the articulation indicating a note receives full value/weight."


"You gotta want to succeed as bad as you want to breath..." 

"Communicate through sound: Something to offer, nothing to prove."  

"Allow your body to match what the brain has conceived." 


"Great individual players but they don't know how to work and play together as a band. To many individuals not enough teamwork." 

"Patience is a muscle developed in hard times."

"There's no stop in you. Only Go!"

"Every job is a self-portrait of the person who do it. Autograph your work with good work."


"Singing is just sustain talking."


"Music can enter into your mind without your permission." Christ Turner

"You cannot skip experiences; you cannot get to results without experiences. Experience will be what they are."


"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." -Fred Devito 


"You get to choose whether to be the flag or the wind.  The flag waits for direction, while the wind chooses..."


"Let us strive to improve ourselves, for we cannot remain stationary; one either progresses or retrogrades." 

"Good balance and blend is a result of good listening." 

"Instrument is an extension of your voice." 

"Stay balance in the framework of the group." 

"Don't turn your ears off. If your ears are working, then your brain is on. You are thinking about the sound." Prof. Jenkins ​


"Space before the accent......Notes do not touch unless slurred."

"Why should my ear be subjective to listen to you slaughtering this music." 

"Your focus goes, your energy flows." 

"Be the conscience of the band."

"Play your horn like a bow to a violin not like a percussive instrument."

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