June 7

Ep. 23 – Singapore, Saudi Arabia & Italy: Life as an international school band director


Brian White is the current Director of Bands at the American School of Milan, Italy.

Brian is originally from the USA. After a fortuitous encounter with an international school teaching couple when on holidays in Austria, Brian and his wife knew this was the path for them. 20+ years lates and Brian has completed long stints at international schools in Singapore & the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Having recently moved to Milan, and after eating his own body weight in gelato, pizza and pasta, Brian joins the podcast with some incredible stories to share. 

In this episode we explore:

  • Brian's background as a musician and music educator.
  • What a standard 'American-style' music curriculum might look like, the reasons why this system came to be, and how this might look in the international school context.
  • The way Brian draws on his own experience of music school to create an environment for his students that combines a his drive for musical excellence with an underlying focus on student joy and wellbeing.
  • Brian's evolution as a band director, moving through different contexts and adapting to new school communities and cultural influences on the way.
  • Some ideas around the future of music education in international schools, and Brian's thoughts about what makes a 'good' international school music teacher.

There's so much in this episode! For those of us that are a little less familiar with how an 'American-style' music program works, this one is gold. Brian is a fantastic conversationalist and a reflective and measured professional. Enjoy!

>>> This episode is brought to you by Naxos Musicbox: https://www.naxosmusicbox.com <<<

Naxos Musicbox is a new online learning platform from Naxos, the world’s leading classical music brand. I’ve been playing around with Naxos Musicbox for the last little while and I was impressed by a couple of things 1) the simple, easy-to-navigate interface for students and teachers, and 2) the quality of the content. This is an excellent solution for teaching Western music theory and classical music to students from 4 up to 14 and in some cases, beyond into GCSE level. There is also a super nice section dedicated to culturally diverse music with fantastic listening examples. Naxos Musicbox has student quizzes that integrate with Google Classroom. For the MTIIS community, Naxos Musicbox has an introductory offer where you’ll get 20% off your license. Simply email musicbox@naxos.com and mention MTIIS for your discount.


Get in touch with Brian:
Email: bwhite@asmilan.org

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/band-director-brian/

Links to other content referenced in this episode:

SmartMusic (by MakeMusic): https://www.makemusic.com

Saudi Aramco Expatriate Schools: https://www.aramco.com/en/careers/non-saudi-applicants/expatriate-schools

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