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