12 Common Drum Major Interview Questions and Answers

The drum major interview is often the most nerve racking and most critical part of a drum major audition. After reading this article, you’ll have a good idea of what your interview might be like as well as some strategies for having a great interview no matter what the questions are.

Drum Major Interview Questions And Answers

Before you go on, make sure to ask your band director what the questions will be like and how you should prepare for the interview. You never know, they might just tell you exactly what they will ask you (psst…it’s not that uncommon for them to give it away because they know the previous drum majors would tell you anyways).

If they don’t budge, go over the common questions and answers in this article, think through how you would answer them, and read our insights and strategies for each one. Even if you aren’t asked these exact questions, it is likely your questions will be similar (your director might even be reading this article as well to get an idea of what to ask ?).

1 – Why do you want to be drum major?

This is potentially the most common question in drum major interviews. The key to answering it is to be authentic. It’s ok to have multiple reasons and to be creative beyond these examples. Just think through why you really want to be drum major so that you can answer this question in a genuine way. Some of the common directions you can go in include…

  • I want to serve the band and the drum major is the best position from which to do that.
  • I’ve always been inspired by the drum majors and it is my dream to be on the podium conducting the band.
  • I want to be the positive example the new members look up to.
Example Answer:

“Ever since I joined band, I always looked up to the drum major. Even before I got to know them, they always just seemed to have it all together and were so friendly at the same time. I’ve always wanted to be that example for other people in the band. I also think that being in the drum major role will allow me to serve the band in ways that I couldn’t if I was a section leader. For example, if I were a drum major, I would make sure all the student leaders in the band were on the same page and communicating with each other. I want to be able to make sure those leaders have the direction and resources they need to do their job and I think it should be the drum major who provides that.”

2 – What do you think the drum major role includes?

Think about performance responsibilities, leadership responsibilities, and what the drum major does on and off the field for the band. If you are preparing for a drum major interview right now and it has not been made clear what the responsibilities of the drum major are in your program, make it a point to ask your band director this question.

When you do, come prepared with what you think the role should include so you can ask follow up questions and have a dialog about the topic. Just the fact that you ask your band director this question and that you have given it some thought, will show a lot of initiative on your part.

Example Answer:

“First of all, I think it is important that a drum major is a good example on and off the field with everything from practicing their instrument, to being respectful to others and just being a good person who others want to look up to. As a performer, the drum major’s responsibility is to memorize their show just like everyone else, be focused during rehearsals and performances, and to keep the ensemble in time. If something out of the ordinary happens with the show timing, it is up to the drum major team to hold the ensemble together. And as a leader, drum majors are in charge of coordinating the band leadership so that everyone is on the same page and has clear direction.”

3 – What qualities have you seen in previous drum majors that have made them successful?

This is your chance to show you have been observing the previous drum majors. Be specific as possible. Explain what things they have done that indicated to you that they have the qualities you claim they have.

Example Answer:

“I have always noticed that the drum majors are first to rehearsal and last to leave. They never miss a rehearsal or a game. So I think they are definitely really dedicated and hard working. I never see them get angry or stressed out which tells me they have really good composure and are very mature. I think those are all really important qualities to have if you’re going to be a good drum major.”

4 – What do you like most about band? Is there anything you don’t like about band?

Be honest. The key here is to show that you are comfortable communicating critical feedback in a constructive and mature way. Avoiding the question about what you don’t like shows that you may be too timid to report important issues to your director.

Example Answer:

“I love being with all my friends, I love getting better at my instrument, I like going to the games and marching on the field. I love just about everything about being in band to be honest. If I were to point out some things I don’t like, I would probably say that we could do better as a band at being focused in rehearsals. I think it is ok to have fun but at times I feel the upperclassmen get annoyed when rehearsals slow down because people are talking too much. I think there should be a balance but we need a bit more focus than we had last season.”

5 – What will you do if you do not get offered a drum major position?

This question is checking you in two ways. First, do you have a healthy sense of humility or do you feel entitled to the position. And second, if you truly have the mindset of wanting to serve the band program, you should be able to think of a few ways you can do that without the drum major position.

Example Answer:

“If I am not offered a drum major spot, I would just do my best as a member of the band and do many of the same things I would do if I were drum major. I would show up early and leave late and make sure I am always prepared and providing a good example for everyone. One of the reasons I want the position is because I think I can do those things really well and as the drum major I would be able to have a bigger impact.”

6 – If you do not get offered a drum major position, who do you think should get it? Who shouldn’t, and why?

Here is your chance to show that you respect your peers and have the ability to speak critically about them in a respectful way without throwing them under the bus.

Example Answer:

“I think Brenda and Michael are both really strong leaders. I think either of them would be a great pick. I would personally choose Brenda just because she knows more people in the band and I think that more people will listen to her. Michael mainly only knows the other clarinet players. And I think Sandra has great potential. I think she can be a very strong leader too but she is still a bit younger and has not learned all the ropes of every aspect of the band program yet.”

7 – What ideas do you have if any to improve the student experience and performance level in our program?

The key is in the details. The more detailed you are with this answer, the more confident the interviewers will be that you can follow through and take action.

Example Answer:

“I think in terms of experience we can do a better job of getting the freshmen more socially integrated into the group. Every year it feels like each class is it’s own little clique and I think we would work together much better if we all felt like one team. I think one way we could do this is to have name tags for everyone in the first week of band camp. Maybe we can even play some games where you have to use people’s names. I also think it would be really helpful if all the student leaders set the example and took the time to learn the freshmen’s names before band camp. At least the ones in their section.

In terms of performance, I think the main thing is getting people to practice more so that they learn their part sooner and we get more productive rehearsals happening earlier in the season. I think again, the leaders need to set the example by having their music learned. I heard that in other bands every student has to pass off their music for their section leader and when new music is passed out, the section leaders learn it ahead of time and play it as a mini ensemble for the band so they can hear the music and also to see that the leaders are setting the example. I think if we could pull that off, it would make us play a lot better as a full band.”

8 – What will you bring to the table as part of the drum major team?

Think about your personal strengths but avoid using things that are universal to all good leaders like setting the example for others and being dedicated. What makes you unique?

Example Answer:

“I think that if I were on the drum major team, I would be the one who always looks after the more sensitive and timid members of the group. I connect really well with that type of person and not everyone does. If someone was crying or I could just tell they were having a bad day, I am really good at talking to those people and cheering them up.

9 – What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

I know, I know. It’s a cliché of a question. But it gets asked. All. The. Time. Have one or two responses for each. I recommend having one or two responses for each.

Make sure not to come off as arrogant when talking about your strengths and try not to be too self deprecating when talking about your weakness. Just be fair. You can also include a specific way you are working on improving in that area or mention who it is in the band that you would lean on to help balance out your shortcomings.

And for the love of god, try to avoid using a weakness that actually sounds like a strength like the fact that you care too much or that you are just such a perfectionist. Honesty, self awareness, and willingness to improve is what we are aiming for.

Example Answer:

“I’d say my biggest strength is my ability to organize and coordinate people when it comes to logistics. Things like loading trucks or making a system for efficiently getting everyone in and out of uniform. I’m always thinking about ways to make processes more efficient. For example, I think if we took an hour to show everyone how to hang the uniform properly, it would save our uniform crew many hours over the course of the season.

I think my biggest weakness would be getting along with shy or timid people. I have a strong circle of friends but I’m just not someone who finds it easy to chat with every type of person. I can be respectful and friendly but I’m not the most social. I definitely want to work on being more social because I think it would help me grow as a person, but ultimately I would lean on other leaders in the band to make sure shy students are not left out socially.”

10 – Scenario Based Questions (How would you handle it if..)

One of the most common questions involves a scenario and asking you what you would do or how you would respond to the situation. Sometimes there is a right answer and sometimes there is not. Sometimes it is very open ended. Take your time to think about these and if you need to, ask some clarifying questions about the scenario before you dive into an answer.

Often these scenarios involve…

  • Conflict resolution
  • A disruptive student
  • Disagreements between you, your band director, other leaders, etc.
  • You seeing something happen and whether or not you will report it
  • Bullying

The key to answering this question well is to ask clarifying questions about the scenario if you can and then just talk through the possible solutions to the issue as if you were working together with the interviewer to solve it.

Many times these questions are based on real scenarios that in the moment even your director may not have known how to handle. Just have a conversation. They will not expect you to fire off a definitive answer right off the bat.


Interviewer: “You over heard some students talking about skipping marching band rehearsal to hang out somewhere else after school. They didn’t know you heard them. One of the people who is suppose to be going with them is your best friend. How would you respond in that situation?”

DM Candidate: “How many people would be missing from rehearsal?”

Interviewer: “Let’s say about 5 including your friend.”

DM Candidate: “Are they in the same section?”

Interviewer: “Let’s say they are in different sections. Band rehearsal would go on just fine without them, though not as well as if they were there, and it would be an unusually low attendance day but nothing to investigate.”

DM Candidate: “Well I definitely would talk to my friend and get all the details I could about what was happening first. If she is planning to go, she was probably planning not to tell me because she knows I would tell on them. I think I would have to report the situation to the director, but I would tell my friend first to let her know that I over heard those other students and that I am going to report it. She may not like it very much but I also think if she’s my friend, she’d understand it is my responsibility to report on things like that.”

11 – “Tell me About a Time” Questions

“Tell me about a time” questions can seem hard to prepare for at first. But when it comes down to it, if you have 3-5 good stories about you in a band related setting learning a lesson, dealing with an issue, or displaying leadership qualities, you can probably answer most of the “tell me about a time” questions.

If you have at least 3 stories, chances are you will be able to use one of them for a “tell me about a time” question if you get one. Some common “tell me about a time” questions include…

  • Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone and how you resolved it
  • Tell me about a time you took initiative
  • Tell me about a time you stood up for what you thought was right
  • Tell me about a time you learned a hard lesson

Interviewer: “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for the band program.”

DM Candidate: “When I was a freshmen, I noticed that some of the other freshmen felt overwhelmed during the first couple weeks of band camp. So I just said hi to them and talked to them. I asked why they seemed stressed and we talked about how overwhelming things were and I think after the conversation they calmed down. It might have been a small thing but after that I just made sure that everyone felt like they had a friend to talk to. At the time I didn’t think of it as something I was doing for the band but I do think it had a positive effect on the band program. I think doing my part to bring people into my social circle helped make everyone feel like more of a team.”

12 – Do you have any questions for us?

Here’s your chance to show you have put a lot of thought into being a drum major. If you have, you’d have a lot of questions right? You should have questions for your interviewer but keep it brief. You’ll have more time for questions later and drum major audition day may be a very long day for your band directors.

Example Answers:

“What are the most important qualities you look for when selecting drum majors?”

“If I’m not offered the position this year, how do you think I can prove myself to earn the spot next year?”

“I have lots of questions, but I know we are trying to get through a lot of drum major auditions today so I can hold on to them for another time.”


After thinking through your answers for each of the questions above you’re going to be interviewing like a drum major. Calm, collected, and prepared.

If you are looking for more guidance on how to win a drum major spot, make sure to check out Drum Major Auditions: A Complete Guide and if you are looking for a free online video course on everything there is about being a drum major check out Drum Major Essentials.

P.S. If you’re still nervous about that drum major audition, check out these audition tips!