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Directors Circle

Jun 11, 2019

I chat with Joe Santanello as he discusses his views on attaining student excellence and transitioning into a new position. Joe is a phenomenal musician, educator, and human being and this episode is jam-packed with tons of valuable insight for anyone interested in developing a program or moving into a new music program.


Topics include:

(07:02) Joe discusses his program at Strayer Middle School and developing the program in both quantity and quality.  

(09:30) Developing a focus on concert band within a band program.

(12:06) Developing a vision for obtaining the ensemble sound you want.

(24:42) Setting student goals for being a feeder program to a high school band program.

(27:07) Preparing for a director change/transition. Entering a new program.

(40:22) Entering a new program and building relationships with staff/students/parents.

(44:52) Setting effective goals for the first year at a new school.  

(48:08) Learning the ways of your new program. Making decisions on implementing change in a program.

(53:12) Conducting a community band that is rich in tradition. Considerations to make when making changes in a program that has strong traditions.

(58:03) Working with a wide variety of age/ability levels in different ensembles.

(1:01:10) Programming/repertoire considerations.

(1:07:25) Favorite rehearsal tactics.

(1:10:21) Personal/professional influences on Joe’s career

(1:13:55) Characteristics of an outstanding leader in a comprehensive music program.  

(1:20:30) Setting high expectations for students.

(1:23:20) Establishing a culture for a family atmosphere and focusing on group success.



For the past ten years, Joe Santanello has served as the Director of Bands at Strayer Middle School in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. In addition to teaching at Strayer, he has been the Co-Director of the Quakertown Community High School "Panther" Marching Band and also directs one of the high school's two jazz bands. He maintains a regular performing schedule as the principal horn of the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds, and also plays with the Berks Opera Company and the    Liberty Wind Symphony. Mr. Santanello is also the music director and principal conductor of the Quakertown Community Band, one of America’s oldest community bands. Beginning in 2019, Mr. Santanello will take on the role as the high school director of bands at North Penn High School in Lansdale PA.