We talk about the power of connecting with our students all the time. More gets done, students and teachers alike are happier, and making music is that much more impactful. Just as important, however, is the power of connection with each other. Sure, our individual circumstances are different, but we are all in this together.

I wrote about community in the conference issue of last spring’s magazine. Our May conference is a perfect and easy time for us to come together and connect in multiple and meaningful ways. However, we need this feeling of connection and sense of community throughout the year, especially early in the school year and during the “dark days of winter,” when winter vacation is a distant memory and spring break is but a dream.

Right about now, the “new” in “new band smell” is wearing off, and the days can feel like a grind. If you’re a new teacher or in a new position, unexpected realities of the new job may be settling on your shoulders. Even us vets feel it at this time of year. Now is the PERFECT time to talk to a director in a neighboring district, a mentor, or a band director friend and share what’s working and what’s not. I guarantee two things: First, you’ll discover that you’re not alone in the challenges of this time of the year, and second, that you’ll feel better for simply talking. I have a squad of about 5 great friends I regularly communicate with, and the ability to talk-to, text-to, or Snap-to them is a difference-maker for me.

Again, we’re all in this together. If I may rephrase the opening paragraph: Directors who are in community with each other get more done, are happier, and make an impactful difference in the lives of their students. Seek and value this connection. Ask questions of each other. Offer advice. Be a listener. Don’t wait.

Here’s to a fantastic September!

Jayson Gerth, President