Advice on Teaching Middle School Band - Steve Graves - Nottelmann Music Company
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Advice on Teaching Middle School Band – Steve Graves

Advice on Teaching Middle School Band – Steve Graves

Curated from Mark J. Connors’ Everything Band Podcast #84 – 
Steve Graves has been a middle school band director in Orange County, California for over 30 years. In this episode he shares his advice about teaching middle school including some really great advice for young band teachers.​


  • Steve’s background and his 34 year career as a middle school band director.
  • Great teaching is not about teaching people to play instruments but rather to teach young musicians to be great people.
  • Classroom management and thoughts about how to create a set of expectations that help students to stay on task.
  • Steve and I get into the weeds about teaching beginners and he shares some wonderful advice about teaching time and articulation.
  • The value of commissions for both students and composers.



Currently in his 32nd year of teaching junior high band, Steve is the band direct and VAPA chairperson at Lexington Junior High School in Cypress, CA. An active adjudicator for marching bands, concert festivals, and indoor drumline, Steve is also a frequent clinician and guest conductor. While unpublished, Steve has been writing and arranging for bands and percussion ensembles since 1980, and his method books, “Great Beginnings – Warm Ups for Second-Year Bands” and “Notes, Drills, and Tunes – a beginning band method” are in use by schools across the country. Steve stays active as a regular performer in wind ensembles, big bands, and rock/R&B groups, and is a graduate of California State University Long Beach, and earned his masters degree from the American Band College.