Preparing for Leadership Tryouts


It’s that time of year when we start thinking about marching band for next fall! That means it’s also time for leadership tryouts. If you’re hoping to earn a position on your band’s leadership team, let your skills do your talking rather than your mouth! Consider the following thoughts on leadership and excellence:

  • Be a musical leader first! Play your instrument well! This is the most challenging part of being a great leader because HARD WORK is the common ground for all great leaders.
  • If you have to march as part of your leadership tryout, be the finest example of a marcher you can imagine. No one learns how to march (or ride a bike, or swim, or ski) by being TOLD how to do it. We’re SHOWN how to do it. The best things a student leader brings to the position is the ability to demonstrate! If you want to distinguish yourself in the marching audition, NAIL YOUR TECHNIQUE AND HIT YOUR DOTS!
  • If your leadership tryout includes an interview, figure out what your directors are looking for and anticipate their questions. You might be asked something like…

    Who in the band, past or present, do you admire and why? What did you like about last year’s leaders and what would you do differently? What is the most difficult or unappealing part of being a student leader?

  • Avoid phrases like, “I think” and “I feel.” Rather, use strong statements like “I would,” “I will,” “I am,” and “I can.” They sound decisive and confident and create a strong contrast with those who are less self-assured.
  • If the interview questions don’t allow you to discuss everything you’d like the directors to know about you, it’s perfectly ok to say, “Before we wrap up, may I share a few things with you?”

Let your skills do the talking for you. Practice, prepare, and go after it. But remember, any leadership candidate who quits or becomes resistant because he/she didn’t get selected only reinforces the good decision the directors made NOT to select you! If you’re not selected, dedicate yourself to being the best example, the best attitude, and the best performer you can imagine. That’s the kind of person you WANT to be anyway, right?