Page 6 - 2018 June BMR
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            Spotlight on YBDT   Bridging the Gap

            Amanda Vereen

                                                                                 organization. In less than a year,
                                                                                 YBDT boasts over 600 followers on
                                              to form in our weekly discussions.  Facebook. We have written articles,
                                              We acknowledged that many young  shared resources, hosted social events,
                         Let’s be honest, there’s  directors longed for guidance from  led an online challenge group, and
            a generation gap in our profession.  others, but did not know how to find a  launched an early version of our
            Brand-new directors may start at the  mentor relationship or how to ask the  virtual clinician program. We have a
            bottom of the food chain in a six-  right questions. Even more pressing,  committee member representing each
            member band staff. These directors  we recognized that so many brilliant  of the five regions: North, East, South,
            may spend their day coordinating  and experienced band directors wanted  West, and Central Texas. These efforts
            electronics on the sideline, inputting  to help others, but felt that their input  are simply the tip of the iceberg when
            music into  Finale or listening to  wasn’t desired or they weren’t able  it comes to how we can best serve
            podcasts. On the other hand, there are  to connect with younger directors  the newest recruits of our profession.
            master teachers who began their careers  in a way that was productive. These  This is an organization created for
            as the one and only director in a pre-  misgivings are not only standing in the  young band directors by young band
            internet world. These directors drove  way of progress, but are increasing the  directors. Our mission is to support
            to neighboring towns to meet with  risk of band director burnout.    our members in their first few years,
            friends, talk shop or receive comments   Young Band Directors of Texas  so that they may serve as mentors to
            on  recordings  of their  bands.  Their  started as a final project for grad  others and find a way to do what they
            vision of what  could be  built  Texas  school, but it has grown into so much  love for as long as possible.
            bands into the highly competitive and  more. Research for the project led to   Looking toward the future, we
            thriving activity that it is today. When  discussions with young band directors  are eager to partner with the Texas
            you consider the changes in technology,  across the state about what would help  Bandmasters  Association.  The
            public education, and music over the  them “stay in the game.” When asked   leadership of TBA has made it clear
            past fifty years, that pesky generation  to identify the most applicable category  that they are dedicated to minimizing
            gap begins to feel more like an abyss.  of support, young directors responded  the generation gap and building
              In Summer 2017, I enrolled in a  unanimously with “all of them!”   connections among all band directors.
            discussion-based graduate course with   Help me with pedagogy,       With two YBDT clinics and a reception
            Dr. Keith Dye at Texas Tech University   finances, health/wellness,   scheduled, the 2018 TBA Convention/
            entitled, “Topics and Issues in Texas   mentorship, and work-life    Clinic is just the beginning. We look
            Band Education.” Contrary to what     balance. Give me someone I     forward to getting young directors more
            you  may  expect,  this  was  not  an  all-  can text when my rehearsal   involved with TBA—guiding them to
            out venting session or a prescribed   goes poorly, someone who       use all available resources and finding
            study of standards and repertoire. We   knows what it’s like to      innovative ways to communicate and
            covered many topics, perspectives, and   live alone in a dilapidated   grow. With the wealth of knowledge
            even hosted video conferences with   apartment, or maybe even a      and expertise that exists among the
            individuals like Brad Kent and Kay         group of people           ranks of today’s music educators,
            Vanlandingham. Due  partially to the   who understand my lifestyle   we  must  embrace  the  needs  of  those
            fact that all students in this course        and passion.            around us and do everything in our
            were female band directors in their first   In an attempt to meet these needs, a  power to help foster a lifelong love of
            five years of teaching, a trend began  final project turned into a professional  music in them and their students.

            Bandmasters Review • June 2018                    4                            Texas Bandmasters Association
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