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Directors Circle

Aug 26, 2019

In this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Len Lavelle from Pittsburgh, PA. If you are from PA, you are sure to be familiar with Len’s work with his bands at North Hills High School. If you are not from the Keystone State, make sure to check out this episode featuring one of the best in the business as he shares ideas on inspiration, teaching, and music education. 


Topics include:

(03:25) Len talks about his professional background 

(08:55 ) Len stalks about why he decided to stay in band after once being a middle school student who wanted to quit. 

(10:30) Len talks about his program and the music department in the North Hills School District.

(13:58) Selecting repertoire for students.

(22:23) Developing ensemble foundations.

(27:36) Ways to engage students to understand the “Why” of what we do.

(34:20) Important concepts of building an ensemble sound.

(41:45) Honoring traditions while making modifications for today’s students.

(55:50) Leaders who inspired Len in his personal and professional lives.

(1:01:33) Three words to describe an outstanding leader of a comprehensive music program.

(1:04:15) Advice for music educators.

(1:08:10) Being remembered as a leader for your music program.


North Hills Instrumental Music Website:

Article on North Hills Wind Ensemble playing at 2020 Music For All National Conference:

North Hills Wind Ensemble performing “The Earth” -

2019 North Hills MArching Band performing their halftime show:



Len Lavelle is the high school director of bands and and k-12 music curriculum leader for the  North Hills School District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, the North Hills High School Band an award winning program features four concert bands, two jazz bands, and a 225 member marching band. Being well known for musical excellence, Len has featured his students at several major conferences including the PMEA All state conference and the NAFME all-eastern conference.