When the American School Band Directors Association was founded by Dale C. Harris and the other charter members who attended the organizing convention in November of 1953, the intent was to draw together some of the finest minds and best teachers nationally for the purpose of helping influence the direction and furthering the cause of good music in the nation's public schools. Therefore it was decided that prospective members must have taught at least five years and their work was to be in every way exemplary. Furthermore, a candidate must be endorsed by the state in which he/she resides and in addition receive the overall endorsement of the association itself. In this way, the collective thinking of the organization would have the common denominator of successful achievement. Although the problems faced in the '50s were different in many respects than those facing us today the framework upon which the organization was founded has withstood the rigors of maturation and now stands in a position of mature leadership. Leadership can be of great positive value to a somewhat endangered profession.
ASBDA Stands For:
ASBDA believes that the concert band is the focus of an instrumental music curriculum which teaches MUSIC AS ART through band, and this focus justifies its existence within the limits of those precious instructional minutes allotted to the school day. At the same time, we as an organization recognize the validity of a well-taught program of jazz instruction, as well as a stimulating and well-taught experience in marching band. ASBDA feels strongly, however, that the latter are of secondary importance to the former and should remain that way in the total band curriculum.
ASBDA was meant to be a self-help organization. We believe that there is strength in collective expertise and thus have from our founding undertaken a program of study and group research into aspects of our craft that deserve attention and substantiation. Through our publications, ASBDA will be a source of expert information for both its members and those outside the organization.
ASBDA believes in close communication with administrators and the trends which influence their decisions. We value liaisons with professional organizations of all kinds - those of school principals and administrators as well as our sister professional organizations of music educators and band directors, and we welcome their worth in maintaining the integrity of band programs.
ASBDA believes in the recognition of great achievement in the field of band music, and towards this end, the association has established two prestigious awards. Named after Edwin Franko Goldman and Albert Austin Harding, these awards honor with dignity and distinction great individual achievement in the field of band music. It is significant that this recognition is extended to honorees that are both members and non-members of ASBDA.
ASBDA believes in the intrinsic benefits which come from the gathering of quality minds attracted to solving professional issues of national significance. This last belief may be foremost in importance, for there is no clinic or class as valuable as a spirited discussion with someone in your profession whose ideas you value and respect. Our national conventions and regional conferences serve as platforms for performance and essential dialogue. By means of these conventions, along with ongoing research and study programs, ASBDA can provide essential data of significant value to the development and shaping of our nation’s band programs in the years ahead.