leadership position including band president, overall vice president, grade- level vice presidents, drum majors, section leaders, historian, secretary, publicity and other roles.

At these workshops, we explicitly cover our standards for all leadership expectations and operational procedures. These meetings also provide a terrifi c opportunity for the students to provide their input about the music program. This type of feedback provides them ownership into solving the challenges of the organization.

In addition we set up one-on-one interviews with each leadership candidate. The student explains his or her expectations of the desired position. We address our wishes for that individual and position and make recommendations to help each person become a successful leader.


An effective student leadership team serves as the liaison between the directors and the other students in the organization. Our student leadership meets as a council with the directors at the beginning of each week to discuss goals, concerns and objectives. The directors receive feedback as well as delegate responsibilities.

Student leaders then initiate the necessary steps to ensure that the

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students in their sections are properly prepared for upcoming performances. Well before each actual event, the leaders relay to students and parents all pertinent details as well as the expectations of each individual member.

In addition, we guide our student leaders to keep the directors aware of concerns within the organization and to offer their suggestions on how to improve them. The individuals on the leadership team will not always agree, but you can assist them in learning the art of compromise and instill in them the importance of supporting one another regardless of their personal feelings.


Communicate to your students that the organization can only succeed when all students are succeeding. Enable students who are excelling to help the more inexperienced students with their individual struggles. I can assure you that this model of peer excellence will be contagious. The need to promote and foster this concept should be an educational priority for you.

Student leaders must be devoted to excellence at all times and conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of their lives: within an academic classroom, socially at a party, on social media and in the music building.

Ultimately, providing leadership

opportunities for students empowers them to take responsibility for their own excellence and inspires them to be creators, risk takers, innovators, artists and leaders who will not only make a positive difference in their own lives but also in the world.

This article originally appeared in Yamaha SupportED magazine.


Kevin Ford is the founder and director of the Tarpon Springs (Florida) Leadership Conservatory for the Arts. He is presently in his 23rd year of teaching in the public school system. Kevin also enjoys an active schedule as a leadership speaker, guest clinician and adjudicator throughout the country. Kevin Ford is a Yamaha Master Educator.


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