The Development of a Guide for Student Leadership in Instrumental Music Ensembles

April 24, 2017 / By: Logan Burnside

Student leadership is a topic vitally important to the success of an instrumental music ensemble but one that is rarely researched. Though one may be able to recognize good leadership, few music educators consider how to develop strong leaders in their ensemble settings. When musicians finds themselves in a leadership role, it is assumed that he or she will know how to act in those leadership roles to encourage unity and create positive results. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This project attempts to synthesize some musical and non-musical leadership concepts found in the literature and formulate them into an applicable format usable by music educators as they develop student leaders. The process requires music educators to look at themselves as both teachers and leaders of their ensembles in order for them to have meaningful conversations with their student leaders about leadership. The paper includes a review of selected leadership philosophies that were chosen from three areas (music, business, and military) and then synthesized and made applicable for instrumental music ensemble student leadership development. In addition to the proposed leadership philosophy, a sample student leadership handbook is presented for use in instrumental ensemble settings.