Perspective: Perpetuating the Species, Survival of the Fittest, or Self-Preservation …

Mike Lawson • • July 24, 2015

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Mike Lawson (c) Sterling OrtizAs I was putting this annual issue together, historically called the “Band Director’s Survival Guide,” it was obvious that this wasn’t the month for me to write a feature piece profiling somebody notable or at least noteworthy, from the world we serve at SBO. Interestingly, in starting out this issue, it all began by assembling the ten winning, wonderful essays, from those submitted by the thousands, for our annual scholarship program, where SBO and its supporting sponsors award $1,000 to students who write an essay on a particular subject.

These students, all of whom were made aware of this opportunity by a band director such as yourself, put a lot of effort into turning in something that would resonate with the blue-ribbon panel of judges who make the selections each year. And in doing so, these band directors have helped these winning students possibly go on to a higher education and who knows, perhaps become band directors themselves someday, critically leading to perpetuation of this peculiar species, the school band director. So, while I’ll deliver more compelling UpClose interviews in the following issues, this month I wanted the focus to be on these winning students, as an encouragement to you, the band director, to keep doing what you do that drives this whole school music thing forward each and every day.

At the end of the school day, it’s always about educating students in the art of music, inspiring them to play the classics, and even perhaps write their own someday. But for you to keep it up, you’ll have to be fully prepped for what goes on in your world each day, and for that, I chose five articles submitted from current/former band directors around the country, with very diverse topics, covering everything from opinions about school music program equality, to dealing with new placement as a band director, to thoughts about working your band to be ready to deal with anything and more. 

I wanted to point out to you that these stories, the essays, each month’s playing tips on the back page—they all came to us through our website,, where you’re welcome to submit your articles, images, et cetera, and are especially encouraged to do so.

 In addition to adding a wonderful new feature on music education advocacy from NAMM Foundation’s executive director Mary Luehrsen, one of my goals as editor of this magazine is to make sure that your voice is heard loud and clear among your peers. Whether it’s tips for performance, rehearsals, how you use technology, or just something that’s been bugging you that you want to express your opinion about, I’m looking forward to your continued submission of articles on the SBO website so I can help share your thoughts and ideas with our readers, your fellow band directors. After all, it’s your School Band and Orchestra magazine. 

Mike Lawson

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