Choosing Help Over Hurt: Successful Habits for Teaching Band in Underserved Communities


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Children should never be defined by their neighbourhoods, their zip codes, or their bank accounts. All students are teachable, regardless of their financial situation. Choosing Help Over Hurt: Successful Habits for Teaching Band in Underserved Communities is about making a difference in young people’s lives, one student at a time.

The book’s primary author, Linard McCloud, shares his personal experiences as a band director at his alma mater, where over 90 percent of the school’s predominantly black student population is low-income. He has been teaching at this school for 44 years, and he shares his incredible knowledge and wisdom to help all band directors create a culture of excellence in their programs. While the principles and solutions outlined in the book are at times unique to low-income teaching situations, many are universal to all music education settings.

Choosing Help Over Hurt provides suggestions and solutions for making a difference in low-income teaching situations and covers important topics such as:

  • Loving your students
  • Challenges in Title One schools
  • Various roles of the band director
  • The band booster community
  • Band class enrolment influences
  • Fundamentals time
  • The components of playing
  • The teaching inventory database
  • Student recognition programs
  • Music making
  • Setting goals and benchmarks
  • Leaving a legacy
  • And much, much more!

Linard McCloud is the Director of Bands at Burke High School in Charleston, South Carolina.

Scott Rush is the team lead for the Habits series published by GIA and is the former Director of Bands at Wando High School.