Emily Hardin Prepares for Band Director Career

Junior Emily Hardin has already made the decision to become a band director and works to achieve that goal by taking classes, lessons, and by participating in the marching and pep bands.


Credit to Alex Rowe

Hardin plays the saxophone during her hour as a teacher assistant for band director Robert Stegeman. Hardin loves to play and is in marching band as well as symphonic band and jazz band. She has played music through both middle school and high school.

By Heidi Hauptman

Someone knowing in high school what they want to do as a career is rare. This is not the case for junior Emily Hardin. She has decided that she wants to pursue a career as a high school band director.

“I knew that I wanted to become a band director sometime during middle school,” Hardin said. “I just vividly remember in seventh grade I thought, ‘What would be a really good option for me?’ I really enjoy music and I really like the concept of teaching and band and it all just goes together. Once I got to high school, both of my directors, Mr. Moorman and Mr. Stegeman, really inspired me in different ways to do something and become what they are to the kids.”

Because Hardin knows what she wants to do after high school and college, she has started taking measures to help prepare herself. She currently plays alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet and flute. Hardin starts her day with three hours of band by going from symphonic band, to being a TA for band director Robert Stegeman during his concert band class, to going to jazz band.

“There are times when having a schedule like that can be hard,” Hardin said. “It really depends on if anything important like Districts is coming up. We recently just had Districts and I had to practice a lot for that and it was kind of hard to focus on not only just band but other classes as well and juggle all of that together. I know that I can handle it. It just takes a lot of time management and being smart.”

By being a TA for the current band director, Hardin gains exposure to what she wants to do in the future. Stegeman has allowed Hardin to work with the kids in the class and help conduct them on a few occasions. She has also had the opportunity to do copying for formatives and work with Stegeman on music theory.

“You can tell that she really has a passion for music,” Stegeman said. “I really enjoy working with her because she receives the information well and definitely shows her interest in the topic.”

After high school, Hardin hopes to go to a college with a strong band program and continue strengthening her education musically speaking. The minimum education needed to become a band director in any setting is a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate music field.

“I want to be able to be as involved in a band life in college as possible,” Hardin said. “I feel like when it comes to a marching band in college, a band director works with a marching band a lot so it would be helpful to be in a marching band to see it. I feel like that would be really helpful for me.”

Hardin has always had a strong passion for music and band. She is constantly fascinated by music and is excited for when she can help to implant that same love for music into her students.

“I love how there are different genres and ways that you can play and how just one rhythm can change the style of everything,” Hardin said. “Every song is so different. I feel like every day would be so fun being a teacher because it would be new all the time and you can help them improve on things every day. I look forward to seeing how influential I can be on my students one day. The thought of me being influential and being really close with my students is really cool and I think it would be really neat to just help them improve on their music.”