I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Tim Lautzenheiser, teacher, author and motivational speaker for my radio show on the BAM Radio Network. Not only is he the nicest person to talk to, but he is incredibly knowledgeable about the subject of leadership and motivation. We had a great conversation about some of the big take-aways from Tim's new book, Classic Leadership; A Curriculum for the Development of Student Leaders.

First, a little background on Tim Lautzenheiser:


Tim has successfully directed college bands for 10 years at Northern Michigan, University of Missouri, and New Mexico State University. In 1981, he created Attitude Concepts for Today Inc., an organization focusing on the area of positive attitude training and effective leadership training. He is currently Vice President for Conn-Selmer, Inc., and continues to speak on the importance of arts education for every child.

His books, produced by GIA Publications, Inc., continue to be best sellers in the educational world. He is co-author of the popular band method, Essential Elements. Tim is the senior educational consultant for Hal Leonard, Inc., and is the Senior Educational Advisor for Music for All, and NAMM (International Music Products Association).

Classic Leadership; A Curriculum for the Development of Student Leaders

Tim's newest book is a 12 week curriculum, designed to help high school students become more effective leaders. This is the first leadership curriculum intended specifically for high school students. However, many of the concepts in this book can be applied to any person in a leadership position, not just students. There are discussion activities, journaling exercises, activities and engaging homework assignments. There is a companion Teacher's Edition and DVD that shows examples of the games and activities in each of the lessons.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

“Student Leaders Are a Necessity, Not a Luxury”

Time is the element for all of us; there's not enough time, especially for music teachers. A lot of the things that need to be done, can be done by students.  It gives them ownership and a sense of pride and responsibility. This in turn, allows the Ensemble Director to attend to the tasks that only he/she can do, like score study or speaking with parents.

 How Does a Teacher Pick a Good Student Leader?

Take into account the student's behavior and attitude, but also watch your students and see how they behave when they are not in the spotlight. That alone will give you a tremendous amount of information. Trust your instincts when choosing. Look to see which students naturally draw attention in a positive way. Look to see which students figure out solutions instead of contributing to the problem.

Qualities of a Good Leader

“I lead best when I forget about myself as leader and focus on my group.” Some of the best leaders lead by doing, not just delegating. If we're not going to demonstrate what needs to get done, how can we possible expect others to do the same? A real leader knows something; you're always learning! You can learn a lot from your own students.

Pledge to Worthy Goals

Goals need to be easily measurable and pragmatic. Teachers need to be specific in giving the details in terms of what is needed. One example is cleaning the band room: what time will it be cleaned, what constitutes clean, when will the task be completed, etc. If goals are described too vaguely, then any result could be seen as success, which may not be the result needed or wanted.

 “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

 Action Steps:

1.  You can buy the Teacher's Edition of Classic Leadership; A Curriculum for the Development of Student Leaders here.:


2.  You can hear my interview with Tim Lautzenheiser here.

3. For more information about Tim and his organization, Attitude Concepts, click here.

4.  What are some ways you can incorporate student leaders in your program? Let me know in the comments below…