Middle School Orchesra Director


I interviewed Mr. Uel Smith, the orchestra teacher at Chisholm Trail Middle School on Saturday, November 8th

What he told me:

This school year is Mr. Smith's twelfth year to be an orchestra director. While he was getting his degree, he had to student teach with a teacher he had never been taught by before. It took him four and a half years of college to get his degree, but he says it takes most people only four years, because he "had too much fun the first semester of his freshman year."

He was inspired to become an orchestra teacher by his best friend's mother, who was also their high school orchestra teacher.

Once you become an orchestra teacher for middle school, then it is possible to advance to become a high school teacher, or to even eventually conduct honor orchestras.

Mr. Smith said that the most interesting project or best opportunity that he had so far in his career was the chance for some of his students at the school before Chisholm to tape for the honor orchestra. He can defiantly see him self doing this ten years from now.

A typical day for Mr. Smith involves a lot of repeating himself to the different orchestras, sometimes just because he is speaking to middle schoolers, sometimes it is because he teaches several orchestra classes. Vacation time for him is minimal, because for him to loose a day of teaching would mean that the class is less prepared for competitions coming up.

The outlook is very good for this career, especially in DFW. Here, there are many good school districts with the ability to fund a music program. Experienced music teachers here are in high demand as well because of the rapid growth of the area.

Post-Interview Analysis

While doing this interview, I learned that getting a degree in music education certifies you to teach in elementary schools, as well as teach both band and choir.

I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, and ever since ninth grade, music (specifically orchestra) has been my passion. I think the most challenging part of this career would be dealing with students who are taking orchestra because their parents made them, and they do not give a second thought about music, No matter how much I tried to teach them to enjoy it, they never would. All in all though, I think this would be a terrific job; it would be challenging at times, but very rewarding, which is exactly how playing a musical instrument is.