I love leading a band and I love all the responsibility that comes with it. As with many jobs, you can be as involved or invested as you want to be. Sure, you can show up and count off the tunes or flap your arms and leave it at that, but you will likely be an ineffectual band leader. If you want to really take your band to new heights, you need to do research on the repertoire so that it is a good fit for the band and so that you present it well to the band (the right style, tempo, etc.). Also, you are not just managing music but people. The bigger the ensemble, the more personalities you are juggling and the "sounds" that are associated with them. You must be a diplomat and find a way for everyone to work together. That being said, I always say that an ensemble is not a democracy and the band leader needs to make some decisions and the band members must have faith in the director. This complex community does not just take shape just during the rehearsal. Communication is ongoing and other activities such as composition, arranging, clinics, sectionals, one-on-one meetings, etc. can take up as much time as you allow. Next time you get frustrated with the man or woman with "the stick" in front, realize that that baton can weigh heavily some days.
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.